“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis
― C. S. Lewis
I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Today, do I DARE to write a post on patience, love and a personal window of tolerance? Do I?
Yes.... because it is real. :)
Patience is a gift. Not only is it a gift from our Heavenly Father to us, it is a gift from us to our children.
It has been said many times, "Don't pray for patience, because God will give you trials." Or "Don't pray for God's Will because it may not be YOUR will!"
But if I truly WANT HIS WILL to be MY WILL, and I know that HIS WILL is PERFECT, and patience is a GIFT from GOD that He wants me to have, then I PRAY for it ALL! HIS WILL and PATIENCE! :)
I think for a parent, the "Window of Tolerance" is similar to patience. But "tolerance" doesn't sound very friendly. It sounds like we are just "tolerating".... I don't like that. So, I'll just call it "my window"....
Last night I was pondering the idea of my own window. How does it remain wide open, and why does it sometimes slam shut! Why am I sometimes able to bear much and other times feel like a complete failure?
I am not young. I will soon be 54. Pondering my earlier parenting days I remember the worries and cares that I did not give over to the Lord. I hung onto them for all my very own, for a very long time. Things that were out of my control threatened to consume me. And it was there in that very low point where I found perfect peace. I remember being on an airplane with 4 little boys surrounding me... and of all things my sewing machine that I had barely ever used! They each had a sack of belongings and we had each other. That was about it.
I remember the stewardesses did NOT want me to bring a bag for each child on board, but I told them, it was all we had. It was all THEY had. So they relented. The plane was not crowded, and we all sat in the back of the plane. Marcus was the littlest, but when the plane started to take off, I removed him from my lap and seat belted him into Joseph's seat and then held a crying Joseph who was terrified of the jet noise and the movement. (this is the child who HATED any kind of simple ride) :)
After the plane was up and the boys were settled, I raised my hand into the air in a rather symbolic way and told the Lord, "You are my husband now, and you are the children's father. I am trusting that you will take care of us according to Your word. "
When we arrived at the airport, it was blowing snow, and the pilot and stewardesses helped carry the children into the airport terminal. (there was no gate ) And my life started OVER.
It was SCARY and EXCITING too. I was 27 years old, a mother of 4, now single, and unemployed.
I was moving in with my mother in law and my sister in law. And they were the most encouraging, kind, generous and lovely people I had ever met. They were God's provision in my life at that point.
I found a job 2 days later. I walked into a children's clothing store and told the man my story. The Owner wasn't hiring at that point, but he hired me anyway. I worked for him for a couple of years. My sister in law moved and my Mom (Dabba, my mom in law) stayed together working opposite hours to keep the children out of day care.
During that time, Timothy had 2 major surgeries, one requiring a spika body cast and then a series of casts for almost a year.
When Marcus was ready to start Kindergarten, we moved to Texas for my first full time job since being single.
The Lord provided a house to rent, after school care, a school and a job all within 2 miles. It was AMAZING.
My boys were amazing little guys. They had endured so much and things were happy. All the sadness and torment we had endured for so long was gone. I was seeing each of them blossom.
I learned that God takes care of us. He LOVES us and allows us to go through terribly difficult things to prune us, and refine us. He allows hardship and heartache to polish us.
HIS WAYS are different than mine. But as I look back over the years from THIS SIDE of the past, I can see no other way. I can see His wisdom and MERCY in my life.
Yes, I was the prideful girl that said, "I would NEVER divorce!" Hahahaha......
I was the girl who had been "Nancy Nice" on the outside, but my heart was full of judgment and spiritual snobbery.
YES, I belonged to the Lord, and He had to do something with me. :) He had begun a work in my heart and HE is FAITHFUL to complete that work.
When I fast forward to today, with all of the interesting things we go through around here, I can see that God was preparing me for NOW, by having me go through yesterday. I would NEVER have understood the gravity of trauma, had I not been there at the bottom, myself.
Yes, I went SO FAR DOWN, before I got on that plane, I imagined in my mind the awful act of ending my own life. And then it quickly turned to REALITY. We were so poor and destitute that there was not enough gas in our old van to do the dirty deed. I would have just maimed myself for life. LOL I know that sounds a little morbid, but I actually did find humor at the bottom. :)
I am saying all this because NOT ONLY WAS I LIVING IN A DESPERATE SITUATION, I was ALSO a believer and follower of Christ. Christians struggle. And Christians SUFFER, many times in silence because of the fear of judgement. I still fear judgment..... but that kind of fear is not of the Lord.
As time went on and we began to heal from our own experiences, the Lord brought Mike into our lives, and at 31, I remarried.
I did not date Mike. There was no time for that really. We were a package deal, so he courted all of us. :)
23 years later, here I am married to a wonderful man, sitting in a home instead of a hotel room. I'm sitting here surrounded by 4 girls instead of 4 boys even though I'd love to be surrounded by the boys all over again. I have enough gas in my van, but I only want to use it to drive. :)
I have food and clothing. All of our needs have been miraculously taken care of. God restored what the enemy had stolen.
So now, when I deal with the issues of my girls' trauma, or with financial woes, or even my arch nemesis, "paper work"...... and my window begins to close, I remember. I remember that God is with me. HE holds my hand. He comforts my heart. HE is my sustainer, provider, and giver of wonderfully glorious gifts like patience and love. I remember my own struggles and early days of pride and misunderstanding, of who I really was and had potential to be!
When I open my refrigerator or go to the grocery store, I remember the days of no food.
When I close my doors at night I remember the days of no home.
When I sit on my couch I remember the days of no furniture.
When I look at my husband, I remember the days of my youth that were much different.
AND I rejoice, even in the hardships which we endure in the present. We have been given SO MUCH.
KNOWING that all GOOD gifts come from the Lord, I am encouraged each and every time I wake in the morning and hear the voice of my husband and organized chaos of my girls getting up for a new day.
He has chosen me to walk this path and I gladly and joyfully walk it, even if at times I must make sorrow and suffering my dearest of friends, just as "Much Afraid" did in the allegory, "Hind's Feet on High Places".
I am truly and undeservedly blessed.
And this is the window I picture in my mind..... :)