The Day I Ran out of Patience (aka - Every Single Day)

It's a weird thing to think about, but sometimes I wonder what might be written on my tombstone, if I were to have one.  I'm not really into pomp and circumstance.  Skipped my own college graduation.  Probably would have done the same in high school if I hadn't had to give a speech.  So, a big headstone is not really high on my list of priorities.  Maybe "understated" or "low-maintenance" would be good adjectives to put on there.  I might be remembered for my laugh.  Likely as a wife and mother.  I do know with absolutely certainty that I will not be remembered for my deep, unfailing well of patience.

I homeschool.  Duh.  I've poured my heart and soul out about that like six hundred times on this blog.  Give or take.  This was a calling for me.  I cannot explain it any other way.  I didn't want to do it.  I tried to pull a total Jonah on it.  But, alas, here I am. 

I'm not a teacher.  I never wanted to be a teacher.  I have no training to teach.  And yet, I spend my days with three school aged children ranging from early reader to advanced tween.  My goal when I started this was to stay one day ahead of each of them.  I would have a plan and be studied up one day in advance.  That's all I'd need, I thought.  Even that, apparently, is too lofty for me. 

I don't know how real teachers do it.

Okay, I guess I am a "real" teacher whether I believe it or not, but you know what I mean.

In a culture that loves to villianize, I would have been fired about ten thousand times by now.  I lose my temper about 450 times daily, over silly things.  I have to apologize about 450 times daily, even when I'm justified in being upset, because nothing warrants an explosion the likes of which I am capable.

On the flip side of "not being a real teacher," I'm a mom.  It's hard to say where one role ends and the other begins, maybe there's no difference, but the stories are the same.   It's not that I never wanted to be a mom.  It's just that it wasn't my goal in life.  I never realized what a blessing it would be to have kids, to rear children, to see the world through their eyes.

Now I have five and I'm pregnant with a sixth.  It's a big task.  Some days it feels like I'm tapped out.  I've given all that I have to give.  I can simply not heed one more request, demand, need.  Some days, that happens by about 10:12am.  My well is empty.  I have nothing left to give.  I can feel myself switching into Mr. Hyde mode and for the well-being of everyone involved, we take a break.  The kids go outside.  The babies get in their bed.  Mom sits in the rocker and stares at birds with a cup of coffee like a 90 year old woman and thinks about nothing at all.

But then, I think about Jesus.  He spent literal years ministering to people who required so much from him, onto whom he poured out unceasing love and healing and teachings, with whom he never unjustly lost his patience.  They literally pressed onto him.  Don't you know he must have been exhausted?

And yet...

He never stopped loving on them.  

I don't ever stop loving my children, but sometimes, I don't love on them.  I try to tell myself it's good that they can see my triumphs as well as my many, many faults.  There's no way I'll ever be their personal Jesus.  I simply cannot live up to that, though every day I'm being sanctified, I know I'll never, ever come close.  Maybe with each passing day, he is teaching me patience.  It's a fruit of the spirit, after all.  Fruit starts out as a seed and has to mature.  I'm certainly not there yet.

I do take solace in knowing that when things got the toughest for him, when he was sorrowful and troubled, he retreated.  He pulled back and cried out to his father.  Jesus taught us how to reset.  Pull back and cry out.

This is my reminder today.  Don't hurt the ones dearest to me when I'm worn out and weary, when my shallow well of patience has run dry.  Just take a walk in the garden and cry out to Him.  

It's so simple.
My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.  Psalm 62:1


Sharon said...

I only had two sons, and I didn't homeschool, but I do remember being utterly worn out and tapped out. These days, though my life is much quieter, I find myself exhausted by the overwhelming task of helping to take care of my widowed mom, and trying to make decisions for her best care. So, I can sympathize with the need for quiet alone time. I also need to sit and *space out* like a 90 year old woman - (BTW, I'm a lot closer to that than you!)

And yes, I often think about Jesus. Dear, sweet Jesus who must have been so weary sometimes under the burden of caring for people - people who He loved, but people who He knew needed a Savior. And, this week, as I think about the cross, I can only imagine (though not fully) how overwhelmed He must have been with the weight of the world on His shoulders.

His gift of salvation is what allows us the *rest* you pointed out in that verse from Psalms. And I am so grateful for that.


(My tombstone? "She Really Tried")

Jennie said...

Oh, sweet Sharon. I should take more time to tell you how wonderful and life-giving your words always are to me! I understand to an extent the burden on you with your mother, as my parents are in the same position with my grandmother. Not a fun part of life, but a part of it nonetheless. It does help knowing that our weariness is temporary. And that nothing we've experienced is foreign to Him. Thank you, always, for your comment. And I pray that you and yours are all well!

Much love to you!!! (And my tombstone might very well say the same thing!)

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