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Got Patience?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22

Patience. As I write this, my two young daughters have been asking for Nutella toast. If you don’t know, Nutella is a hazelnut chocolate spread with a consistency similar to that of peanut butter. It’s one of their favorite treats. And it’s a mess. They see I’m busy, but they want it NOW. I stop what I’m doing. I help them spread the Nutella on their toast and what happens? It immediately gets dropped face down on the kitchen floor. A huge, sticky mess to clean up. Sigh. It’s not even 7:00am. I was supposed to have time alone to write and to be with the Lord. Instead, everyone woke up early and woke up hungry. And me? I’m struggling to have patience already. Truth be told, it happens often these days. Three children under eight. Stuck in the house. Bad news on all devices. Decision making fatigue set in months ago. Yep. These are trying times, to be sure. Maybe you’re a mama with children at home and you can relate. Or maybe you’re not and wish you were. Or maybe you’re in an entirely different set of challenging circumstances. No matter what life circumstances you’re walking through today, I’m guessing your patience has been tested at some point during 2020. For me, patience is the bedrock of the fruits of the Spirit. On a daily basis, I try to survey my life for the fruits of the Spirit. A sort of litmus test to keep myself accountable. Am I walking with the Lord? Is this decision based in faith? How am I doing? I can usually find tiny scraps of love and maybe a few of the others buried deep in my heart. But patience? When I have no patience, my loved ones cannot see much fruit in my life. They cannot see the deep love and joy in my heart. They cannot see the peace of Christ. Kindness and gentleness and self-control? Nowhere to be found. Patience is the boat that carries all the other fruits. So what do I do? If you’re like me, most of the strategies I used for dealing with stress were taken away about Mid-March this year. Run to Target? Go to dinner with a friend? Send the kids to their {fill in the blank} activity and have a coffee and breathe? Nope. Nope. Nope. God has shown me how much I was depending on myself and my own quick fixes before March of this year. I feel him calling me to deeper faith and reliance on Him alone. But honestly, I’m not sure how to get there. I need specific steps. Here is what I have been trying lately. 1. Stop what I’m doing. Breathe for at least 10 seconds. 2. Stop what I’m doing. Get a glass of ice water or a non-caffeinated beverage. 3. Stop what I’m doing. Give a hug. 4. Stop what I’m doing. Pray. 5. Stop what I’m doing. Read the Bible. Notice a theme? When I am at the end of my patience, I need a hard stop and I need God. Nothing else truly gets at the root of the problem. If I can get myself to stop, I usually need a couple of other calm down aids, like breathing or a glass of water, to signal to my brain that its time to rely on God. I’m learning new strategies. I wish I was mature enough to just stop and pray first thing. Some days that does happen. But more often than not, I have to calm down first to remember the steps to get to God- prayer and scripture reading. Can anybody relate? I’m curious. How to you find your way back to God when you’ve come to the end of your patience? What helps you? Would you be willing to share? Saying a prayer this prayer for you today: Dear Lord, Please bless my sister. Grant her patience and all the fruits of the Spirit. Help her stop when she needs to be near you. Help her to feel your presence in her life and to remember the words of Jesus to “Let not her heart be troubled (John 14:1).” Help her to know how deeply she is loved and that she is not alone. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

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