Since I've become a Mom, there's something that I say to my three year old a lot; probably at least once a day. “Please be patient.” And let me tell you. Highly effective. ::Insert eye roll:: Every time, I ask her to wait or to be patient (OK “tell” her to wait... sometimes with great gusto), I know its a fruitless venture. Why? Because toddlers go back and forth between having the world's shortest memory and the world's lowest amount of tolerance for waiting. Not to mention, toddlers need everything on their terms, but simultaneously, they want you to meet their needs with little to no effort on their part. In other words, they're control freaks.
As a parent, my job is to help our gal navigate her control-freak-ness. What if I gave in to her every time she wanted my undivided attention regardless of situation, circumstance or other people involved? What if I was actually able to don that superwoman cape and was equipped to satisfy her every whim as she dashes from ever squirrel and shiny thing that captivates her immediate needs and wants? Total chaos would ensue! We would never get anything done, never eat good food (or eat at all for that matter, until the Hanger took over), and we would definitely never go to bed. My daughter needs things to begin and end. She needs me to say “no” to her, even when she doesn't like it. She needs to learn to wait in line, wait her turn, and wait on her Momma to actually finish the shower she has finally squeezed into the day... week... anyway... (Top knots #ftw).
It is good for her to wait. It is good for her to learn about patience. It is good for her to wrestle with her control-freak-ness.
Do you know who else struggles with that?
I am just as bad in my control-freak-ness as my toddler. Want to know how I know?
Last Thursday, it was supposed to feel like Fall. Why? Because the calendar said “first day of Fall.” However, when I stepped outside onto my porch, it felt nothing like Fall. There was no crisp bite in the air, no warmth in the sun and cool in the shade, no smell of perpetual bonfire smoke in the air. Instead there was oppressive and unwelcome humidity and heat. It was miserably hot and I was mad about it. I was so mad, it put me in a bad mood for most of the day.
“Its TIME.” I kept saying to myself, “Time to move on. This summer has been unrelenting. Its been one of the hottest summers I can remember and that has made life challenging in more ways than one. Things have not worked out when or how I wanted them to, and this whole no end in sight to the heat thing pushed me over the edge. I wanted Fall and I wanted it NOW.
While I was driving along, brooding, I heard a voice that said this: “Wait.”
“NO!” I shouted back, “I don't want to wait! I'm over it and I'm ready for some relief!”
I went back to brooding. Which ultimately, if I'm honest with you, carried over through another couple of days; more unmet expectations, more confusion and frustration, no relief. I was so frustrated at myself too. “You're an adult!” I railed at myself. “Snap out of it!”
Saturday afternoon, I was trying to wrestle through all these things. All the words were swimming around in my head and I couldn't figure out what to do with them. I saw this **image I had printed several weeks ago and had yet to hang up in my office laying on my desk.
And then, the whopper appeared in an unlikely place of opening the Word looking for something else. (Isn't that like the Lord?) It says this:
Prior to this verse is the disciples asked the risen Jesus about when He would come back and essentially conquer Rome. When would He bring them relief? What you just read was His reply. Two sentences later, He ascended into Heaven. The disciples, despite witnessing His ascension and then an assurance from an angel, went away a bit confused and a bit bewildered. (Acts 1:9-14) OK, maybe bewildered is a strong word, but they definitely don't strike me as confident in the “wait.”
What happened next is one of the most incredible things to ever happen to the people of God:
He doesn't ask us to wait to take away what we want, He asks us to be patient for what we need.
Today, I woke up, and the crisp air has come. Its still warm, but its given up its bite. Fall has seemed to finally begin to take its place in our days. And you know what? It was good for me to wait. It was good for me to remember that I need to be patient. It was good for me to wrestle with my control-freak-ness. Because at the end of it all, the Lord used my longing for relief to reveal to me that there was more to the story. He used it to open my eyes about things I had put off, things my family needed, and to create an awareness of what else was happening around me. He reminded me that He is a good Father, tenderly and sometimes not to tenderly, teaching me about how to encounter the world around me and the people in it. He didn't just relieve me, He strengthened me. He didn't give in to my immediate wants, He gave me what I needed.
**The gorgeous artwork was a free download I found weeks ago, but I cannot for the life of me find where I got it from! If it is your work or work you recognize, would you please let me know? I would like to credit them for their beautiful work!