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Patience in Parenting
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I never properly appreciated God’s incredible patience until I joined the ranks of parenthood a few years ago. Now, knee-deep in diapers and the “terrible two’s” (a condition that lingers well past the child’s third birthday—at least at my house), I struggle to remember the calm, collected person I thought I used to be.

Please understand that, for the most part, my children (ages 2 and 4) behave decently; they merely act their age. The little annoyances of these precious preschoolers need not push me to the boiling point. Yet, I frequently feel myself fuming. Why? First of all, I spend ridiculous amounts of time and energy repeating myself. Short attention spans and distractedness apparently shroud my instructions. Then, if the kids actually hear me, obedience often falls into the “optional” category, which brings me to my second parental pet peeve. I disdain disobedience, especially the intentional variety where they do the very thing I told them not to do—and when it happens more than once. Finally, whining. Need I say more? No. If you’re a parent, you know of what I speak.

God's Child

At first, I felt justified in my lapses in patience. I reasoned the things that drove me crazy surely ranked high enough on the annoying scale to excuse an outburst or two once in a while. Then, a new realization dawned on me: I’m not the only parent with exasperating children. My Bible tells me that God claims each and every one of us as children. Second Corinthians 6:18 says, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” With a world population of 6.5 billion, that’s an awful lot of children behaving badly—and I am one of them.

Now when my children try my patience, I strive to remember that I also make many of the same mistakes. Sometimes I fail to listen and respond the first time God tells me something, either through the Holy Spirit or through the Bible. I usually intend to follow God’s commands but typically fall far short of perfect obedience. I often lose focus, and my mind wanders when I talk to God. I must even shamefully admit to a little whining and complaining when my plans differ from God’s. Thank goodness for God’s patience with me!

God provides us the perfect parenting model, disciplining and training when necessary for our growth, but unendingly patient with our daily stumbles.

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By Hannah Henry. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture take from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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