Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Patience of Love

(Photo used with permission, courtesy of Carissa Michelle.)

I love the saying, “Please be patient, God is not finished with me yet!” As a detail oriented person, I tend to notice a lot of things about myself and others that need improvement or change. Perfectionistic and critical are not two traits I admire, so my personal solution is to simply give over the steering wheel to God. Our Father knows what He is doing! I try to remember to pray about the things I see and leave all in His capable hands.

God is so patient with us—He waits till we are ready and willing to receive from Him. He has so much for us, our brains cannot even fathom it. My husband and I have experienced this on a small scale. Cliff and I have eight children and have gone through pregnancy, home birth, and breastfeeding eight times. With eight children, we have a lot to share with young couples expecting a baby, but we can only share as much as these young couples want to hear, or what they are willing to receive. I realized this must be a little bit of what God feels like when He knows all and has all we need, but He patiently waits until we are ready. He stands at the door and knocks and waits for us to open the door for Him.

Patience goes hand in hand with love. A good example of this is the picture of a father teaching his four year old son to ride a bicycle. He shows him and helps him over and over until he gets it. Because of his love, the father doesn’t give up, doesn’t get critical or impatient, he just keeps on with patient endurance until the boy finally takes off pedaling on his own.

When I fell in love with my husband, I heard God say he was the man I was to marry. I didn’t tell anyone, but kept praying and waiting to see what would happen. It took six months for Cliff to realize I was the woman God had for him for a wife. If it wasn’t for the patience of my love for him, I don’t think I would have waited around that long. That is a good example of patience in my life. Of course, after 32 years of marriage there are plenty of times my husband has had opportunity to practice patience with me too! We won’t go into those. Hahaha!

I used to dread quiet, alone time. I didn’t like myself very much and my own thoughts were not very good company. I would be sure to fill those quiet times with reading, watching a movie, or talking on the phone—something to occupy my mind. A big part of that, I think, was my critical attitude about myself, but now I see myself differently. God has changed me a lot and I trust He is at work still. “He who has begun a good work in you, will bring it to completion.”  (See Philippians 1:6.)

The other day I had a couple of hours alone to reflect on my life and it was a pleasant experience. I suddenly had a startling thought—I actually enjoy my own company now! Hahaha! Of course, I still see things that need work, but I can be patient with myself and know God will take care of them. Instead of mentally beating myself up, I am grateful for the good things I see now. I simply like myself and who God has made me to be.
Reading in the Bible I’ve found many verses about how God sees us as already complete and perfected. He delights in us! We still see ourselves as diamonds in the rough, but He sees us as perfect as sparkling diamonds. When the Lord Jesus, our bridegroom, sees us He exclaims, “O My love, You are so beautiful to Me; there is no flaw in you!” Song of Solomon 4:7

1 comment:

Linda Maynard said...

I thank the Lord too for His patience and extravegant Love.
*8 children? I keep forgetting...God bless you two real good