ALL STARTED WITH A VERSE
Two weeks ago, it all started.
It started with our family bible verse. Galatians 2:22-23.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."
felt prompted in my heart and mind that I was a relatively impatient person. It of course shows up often in our stalled adoption status, but in general, this was leading to consistent times of frustration in my life. I would get so easily annoyed at my wife or my children. So naturally I thought, "I don't like that about me," "It's not Christ-like to be like that," and I started asking God to take that away from me.
Then I said it, "God, make me a more patient person."
I do not believe as a Christian that my words make anything "happen," but I do believe God hears us through our genuine prayers and he is working to complete what he has started (Phil. 1:6) and make us more into the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18).
So soon after that let me unpack the last three weeks of our family's life.
1. I was bathing both of the kids, sitting on a stool outside the bath tub when the shower curtain fell and hit me on the head (not to mention scared the crap out of me). Mind you, that curtain rod has not fallen prior to that moment or since. Ouch!
2. My External Hard Drive with ALL, let me say that again, ALL, of my music that I've recorded...all the H4S, Family Devo, Beats, Music I'm currently working on with clients...ALL, died and stopped working one day. It won't mount to my computer anymore. Turns out the drive is corrupt. I have since learned to back up my external but the data recovery people quoted me $700 to recover the data!!
3. My wife called me to say the mini-van had trouble starting. So I was being cautious and took it in to the shop to get it looked at. The shop called after running test and said the starter needed replacing and the valve-cover gasket. Over $2,000 in repairs!! I told them "no,” we didn't have it, and I would be by to pick up the van (it was working when we dropped it off). On arrival the shop tells us that through testing the van it now will not start. Unbelievable! After a robust dialogue we rolled the van out into a parking spot until we could figure out what to do with it.
4. The day we dropped off the van at the car shop, turns out I left both of the sets of keys to the storm doors we just put on the house inside the van. That meant we had keys to our vehicles and home but not the storm doors. Ang was taking Nate to the doctor and I was on my way out to Best Buy to trouble shoot this External HD issue (see #2) and I locked the storm doors on the way out of the house! That meant no keys to get in the house. I don't realize this till after the shop was already closed for the night. I had the 1 year old in my car, Angela had Nathan (who was sick) in her moms car and we both couldn't get into our house. Finally, through a Facebook message we got in touch with someone that worked there and they met us up there to let us get our keys.
5. Our cable modem/router/gateway device started going in and out at our house. We would be getting internet for about an hour, then it would go out and then come back on, etc. The cable company says it is our router and we need purchase another $130 modem. Aarrrg!
6. Our son, Nathan, started complaining that his ear was hurting and all parents know what that means, ear infection. Then literally on the last day of the ear infection medicine he spiked a high fever. He wasn't acting himself, so we got him checked out and turns out he was positive for strep throat. DAAAAANGGGG IITTTTTT! (can you tell I'm becoming more patient?)
7. One day we noticed the water in our home wasn't warming up. So we checked the water heater and the light was out. So I tried to restart it using the pilot light...nothing. Called the home warranty people to come fix it on Friday. Through some miscommunication the company that was going to do the repair couldn’t make it out until the following Wednesday! So we spent every evening for four days at my in-laws taking showers.
WHAT'S THE POINT?
So after the laundry list of unexpected and frustrating, events in the life of our family the last few weeks, I've decided that God really is trying to make me into a more patient person.
I don't like it though.
At least in the temporary, inconvenience of it all. I mean to be more patient I have to be presented with opportunities to practice that character quality. Over the last two weeks I don't think I did that very well. I think I just continued to be impatient and frustrated in those moments of testing. But Angela and I have had some very good conversations through it all (after she told me very sternly to never pray for patience again) and I hope that the next inconvenient, frustrating, unexpected thing that comes into my life I can be more patient with it. That will only happen through the Spirit producing that fruit in my life (Gal. 2). Having that "fruit" would help me with the big things in my life, like in the context of our adoption. It would also help me in the very little, minute things in my life.
So whether it's huge or very small, let's resolve to be more like Christ in our waiting. We have to remember both of these things:
A. It's is God's work (the Spirit's work) to produce patience B. It's our work to abide.
I am going to give it some very focused grace-infused effort to abide and trust God's Spirit to do the producing of the fruit. To that end I move forward.
Maybe you can sympathize. What's the latest thing in your life that was unexpected or frustrating and you had to be patient or you struggled to be patient? Leave a comment below and share.