Tag Archives: Patience

6 Lessons Parenting Has Taught Me

I’ve reached a milestone in my life.  One decade of parenting.  It would probably take me that long to write all the lessons I have learned over the years.  So instead, I’d like to list a few things parenting has taught me, and more importantly how it has changed me.

Patience.  Here’s a rule of thumb.  When you want your kids to move quickly – cleaning up, rushing to the car in the rain, or walking quickly past the toy aisle…they are in slow motion.  When you have literally an ounce of energy left, they could fill water towers with their energy.  What have I learned through this?  Patience.  (Still learning this by the way).  I have to be patient with their slow pace, learning how to pick up toys, and their misunderstanding of why they can’t do things.  Parenting is a marathon, and if you expect them to be competent, tax-paying, godly, self-sufficient people after they grow out of diapers, buckle up and take a drink from the patient drinking fountain.

Flexibility.  All the kids dressed, fed, teeth brushed, hair done, and looking very well put together.  You are headed out and we grab the baby to put into the car seat.  One problem.  Poop.  Poop.  Is.  Everywhere.  You thought you were going to be early out the door…now your plans aren’t the only things you have to change.  Kids get hurt, sick, tired, soiled…you have to be flexible.  Roll with the punches.  As a very structured, plan ahead, day-timers are fun type of guy.  This has been a challenge, but also a valuable lesson.

Confrontation.  Multiple children are screaming.  Another yells “I’m going to hit you”.  Loud noises, like someone is throwing something, is also occurring.  You just sat down for the first time all day.  You didn’t even have a chance to exhale.  So do you let it play out?  You may not believe in evolution, but you are really tempted to see if this “survival of the fittest” thing has any merit.  Oh, you’re so tempted.  But no, parenting has taught me you have to get up and confront the assailant and the defendant.  Listen to the witnesses, plea bargains, and review the evidence…and then make a verdict.  People rise when judges enter the room, you have to duck from not getting hit with a whiffle bat.  Judges also get to retire to their chambers for decision-making and a quiet moment, you have to wait till midnight for that.  So, what do you do?  You confront, correct, and discipline.  Why, because you love these kids.

Giving.  You’ve read the graphic.  Your kid when they are 18 will have cost you $__________.  It’s like when you buy a house, don’t look at that last page that includes all the interest.  Don’t do it.  And with kids, don’t ever think about how much they are going to cost.  Instead, think about how much love you can give them.  My wife and I have rarely worried about how God would provide for our children over these last 10 years.  He has always been faithful.  Sure, they will get more expensive in the coming years, but you can’t live life seeing children as dollar signs.  Give love to them, be wise with your money, but be willing to give too.  And giving doesn’t stop with your money, your kids need you to give them time, attention, and all the love you can possibly share.

Unselfishness.  Speaking of giving time.  Listen, there will be times when the only “me time” you get is when you go the bathroom (and even then do not expect privacy) or that sliver of time before the last child falls asleep and you pass out.  So if you go into parenting needing a lot of time to yourself, you’re in the wrong business.  Let me tell you, parenting taught me how selfish I was.  I still fight selfishness, but having little ones that need me to play with them, teach them, and show them God-moments each day…I can see the value of being unselfish.  I’m still learning this lesson every day, but my kids have helped me be more selfless.

Perspective.  Ever heard the phrase “don’t cry over spilled milk”.  My mother-in-law helped teach me this principle.  There is a difference between an accident and a deliberate act of treason by your kids.  You get me?  Yesterday one of my kids dropped a big glass bowl, and I grabbed the vacuum, my wife grabbed the broom.  Perspective.  It was an accident.  We cleaned it up, and moved on.  I’ve gone to bed with stickers or little hair rubber band stuck to my feet.  Every day I have to look in my shirt for hair that my little girls have shared with my clothes in our laundry.  I’ve stepped in toothpaste, slobbered on, and had to wipe boogers with my hand.  Hey man, perspective.  One day, I won’t have this.  And I’ll miss it.  I’ll miss the noise, the craziness, the boogers, the spilled drinks, the cheese sticks I find under our couch that have been sitting there for months (they get hard as a rock!).  I’ll miss it.  So it’s taught me perspective (that’s certainly not always perfect), but it is much healthier than it was 10 years ago.

I have a long ways to go.  I’m just in my first decade, and “teenage-dom” is around the corner.  I’m sure I’ll learn a whole new set of lessons then.  But until then, I’m thankful for the lessons God has taught me through parenting.  It is a humbling, joyful, frustrating, tiring, loving, and growing experience all rolled up in one.  And I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.

 

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How Can a Christian Get Huge Muscles?

lee-haneyWhen I was little, after Saturday morning cartoons, my brother and I would watch this TV show with one of the most successful body-builders of all-time Lee Haney.  I always thought it was the coolest thing to have huge muscles.  My wife laughs at how I always like to ask the biggest guy at the gym what he does to get bigger biceps.  Maybe someday…

But in any workout, there usually is some type of weight-lifting…designed to make you stronger.

In Colossians 1:11,  it says in order to walk close to God…we need strength, power, & might.  It’s time for some weight-lifting.  And when you do, you don’t produce huge biceps and superior lats…no, you get something much better – endurance, patience with joy.

Doesn’t that just describe life.  Write that phrase down – “Endurance and patience w/ joy” and repeat it often throughout the week.

  • When new construction delays your way to work – “Endurance and patience w/ joy”
  • When a tree falls into the side of the house – “Endurance and patience w/ joy”
  • When your husband decides to fix an electrical outlet and the entire 1st floor electricity goes out (love you honey) – “Endurance and patience w/ joy”

No matter how hard I try to bench 500 pounds…just not going to happen unless two big guys pulling it off my chest before I die.

can-i-pray-for-you-part-2-2This is life – and it is heavy lifting – sometimes the weight seems too much and we call on God for a spot…when we should be depending on Him for all of the lifting all along.

“Strengthened” – this literally means a regenerating power – not just a one-time power up at salvation hoping to last a lifetime – God will strengthen you till you meet Him in glory.  This strength is a power that comes from God.  Have you felt that power?  I know I have.  In tragedy – God gave me power to get through.  In temptation – God has given me power to fight through.  In trials – God gives me power to suffer through.

You know, there are those that don’t believe in God and his power – ask them this – You prove to yourself there is no God.  Congratulations…now what do you have?

“Endurance” – resisting the urge to fight evil with evil or take revenge.  Fight another way – by persevering to the end and not quitting in the Christian life.  Charles Spurgeon said “By perseverance the snail reached the ark”.  Don’t quit when life gets tough.

  • Tough day at work – don’t yell at your wife
  • Tragedy in your family – be kind to the doctors, nurses, & funeral director
  • Job loss – don’t let your pride make you unbearable.

Don’t try to fight with other means like bitterness, anger, or hate…it will take you down the wrong road.

“Patience” – steadfast, one who will not be deterred from the ultimate goal – even through immense trials and difficulty.  This is not the weight-lifter that sits on the machine “waiting around” – this is like a runner battling through cramps and pain to finally reach the finish line.  Body-builders grinding it out only to see results later down the road – isn’t that what life is like?

“Joy” – is a sign of a strong Christian walk.  Some of you today are lifting some heavy weight right now, some incredible burdens – but it is the inner strength that comes from the Lord – still find joy in these times.  It’s not a passive or emotionless joy.  Even when we know the ending of a movie/documentary, we still may cry tears in the middle…we are in the middle of God’s story, and we know the end…but we still may hurt.  But God gives us the strength to have joy even in the struggles, pain and disappointment – that’s the power of God.

There’s a reason why runners do weight training – so they have endurance and strength to fight to the end.  God can give you that strength to fight to the end.

God can part the sea, make the sun stand still, and create the universe in 6 days…but He can’t make you have patience…what does that tell you?  God will do all He can to put you in a position to endure and have patience with joy.  Will you let Him train you in your patience & joy?

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