Anyone connected to the world of pregnancy and childrearing knows that unsolicited advice freely flows from well-meaning strangers, friends, and family members alike. Just one look at your baby bump and you’re bound to hear comments about how and when to feed your baby, sleep your baby, clean your baby, dress your baby, and everything in between. Some of it is helpful, but in all honesty most of it is forgotten after the polite smile and nod are given.
However, it was during the end of my pregnancy when I received a piece of advice that I’ve fallen back on time and time again. It survived labor and delivery, and those first few foggy weeks at home. God has also used it to gently rebuke me and teach me more about Him.
The simple piece of advice was to BE PATIENT.
Little did I know how applicable this would be as a mom. If I’m honest with myself, patience is not something that flows naturally out of my being. In fact, I can be quite demanding of myself and especially of other people…including my sweet son. When will he stop needing to nurse every two hours? When will he be able to self-soothe? When will he find his thumb? When will he not need six naps a day? When will he be able to sleep through the night? Those are just some of the many questions I have typed into Google since he has been born. After one long, search engine stint regarding sleep habits of a six-week-old, I was convicted of my selfish desire to fix my son’s “sleep problems” so that I wouldn’t be inconvenienced anymore. Ouch.
The Greek word for patience is makrothymia and literally means long-suffering. It’s the ability to peacefully endure any situation…including dragging yourself out of bed each night or soothing the unsoothable baby. My desire for quick fixes and no pain hinders me from turning to the Lord for help, and it also leads me to wish away the short stages of my son’s life. The reality is that they do go by fast.
Since opportunities to be patient are built into motherhood, I need a Helper if I am ever going to be able to endure trying times and extend patience to my son the way God shows patience to me. Galatians 5:22 reminds me that, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control…” It’s not with a book, internet article, or my own will-power that I will be able to do those things. Instead, it is only through the Holy Spirit working in me.
God is so faithful, isn’t He? Even now, I find myself thinking, “I can’t wait until ___”, a lot less. There is so much to enjoy in each stage of our children’s lives. I’m thankful for the unsolicited advice my friend gave me because it has opened the door for God to teach me so many lessons as a new mom and to enjoy my son more. I hope it does the same for you.
Lord, thank you for being patient with me even when I am not patient with myself or with others. Thank you for opportunities each day to turn to you for help, especially ones where patience is required. Help me to mother my son in a way that brings honor and glory to you. Amen.