There is this saying in the Christian world about patience, “don’t pray for patience, because then God will give you more situations to practice patience.”
I did not always know this, and as is often the mistake of first time parents reaching the toddler years, I mistakingly uttered this prayer.
And man, my children have helped grow patience.
3 of our children have been diagnosed with having an Autism Spectrum Disorder. All three are on the high functioning end of the spectrum, meaning that they are all verbal and physically able to take care of themselves.
But out of all the parents I’ve encountered in my life, those of children on the less functioning side are the embodiment of patience as a form of love.
Autism is hard. Not just for the parent, but for the child as well. They are working together to get beyond the barriers that the child’s brain presents. I would love, if you would take the time to watch the following video. In it an autistic girl and her mother are working on verbalizing a new sound. The mother has a reward for her daughter when she is able to get past her own bodies mental defenses to take control of her own speech and make the sound go past her lips.
It’s hard. Really hard. And this is just one consonant sound!
Click Here to see the video on YouTube
Now, whether or not you believe in this therapy method, one thing is true; this mom and daughter are swimming in patience.
For the mom, she has to not only watch her precious daughter struggle against her own brain, but also have patience for the behavior her daughters brain presents AND be able to separate her feelings for the behavior from her feelings for her daughter.
For the daughter, she is stuck. Even when she is able to recognize the reward, decide she wants it and even desire to please her mother, her brain fights against her. She is in an extremely frustrating mental loop. As she struggles, you see the desire in her eyes, and the pain and frustration in not being able to control her own body and mouth.
This is love.
Patience is not just putting up with annoying people, although it can mean that. Patience as a form of love it much more.
As a form of love, patience means understanding the other person. Knowing their heart. Knowing their intentions. Knowing when their actions are not their heart. Being by their side through the tough stuff, the hard stuff, the heartbreaking stuff. Not calling it quits, even when they want to, but secretly just need you to be the strong one.
God does this for me. I require a great deal of patience. I get a little, let’s say, ‘dramatic’ when I am upset and in prayer. I cry out to God David style, wondering why He let’s me go through all the crap. My melodrama includes phrases like, “Why am I even alive”? and “I serve no purpose!”.
My God is patient.
He listens as I cry out obscenities and incomprehensible words through my tears.
He remains calm as I sob my eyes dry.
But I know, without fail, that in my sleep God restores my soul. Time and time again He has listened to my midnight cries, only to listen to my morning praises.
You and I may not be autistic, but we are all fighting ourselves on a daily basis. We are all fighting against our flesh which would have us sin in every opportunity presented to it, and others that it would seek out!
To have the kind of patience that forms into love, we have to look to our Heavenly Father.
We can not patiently love our lying or cheating coworkers without His help.
We cannot patiently love the teenagers in our lives, who are in a constant battle for their minds and hearts, without His help.
We cannot patiently love our spouse who seems to intentionally think of you last in every instance, without His help.
We cannot patiently love our parents who undermine our adult status on a regular basis, without His help.
How About You?
In what area are people around you required to be more patient?
Who around you could use more patience from you?
I will be posting another great story of patience as love later this week.
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Love you all!!