By SARAH REIN
Love is patient and kind.
If I was asked to give an example of a time when patience and kindness are needed, I would imagine myself letting people merge in front of me in the mile-long Chick-fil-A line, or being on hold for 10 minutes with the pharmacy and trusting that the people on the other end of the line really will be back with me as soon as possible.
What I would not immediately think of is my 3-year-old tossing his picture books into my lap and climbing on top of me while I’m trying to check my email, or finding my child’s toothbrush dry even though she told me she brushed her teeth.
Sadly, it’s often easier to exercise patience or kindness toward a stranger than toward the children I see every day.
God, remind me of how long-suffering You are in the face of my sin. Though I may struggle with the same thing for years, You bear with me in kindness. Grow this fruit in me so I can model it for my family in things big and small.
Love does not envy or boast.
I don’t think I struggle with envy until I find myself thinking of how nice my husband’s quiet ride to and from work must be, or how he probably went through his whole day with nobody screaming at him from another room. I don’t picture myself as a braggart until I catch myself reminding my children of everything I’ve done for them when they complain about their chores. In those instances, my heart is saying, “But what about me?”
God, help me be content with the life You have decided is good for me, and help me not to consider the things I’ve done as accomplishments that build me up. Instead, build Your kingdom inside our home.
It does not insist on its own way.
I am painfully aware of my shortcomings here. In parenting, I know that I have God-given authority and I know it is healthy for my children to respect that. But how often do I insist on my way out of selfishness instead of for their good? How often do I dig my heels in with my husband about a parenting decision because I am convinced my way makes the most sense?
God, remind me of the joy in putting my family’s needs (and often their wants) ahead of mine. Motivate me to seek their good and trust You to take care of me.
It is not irritable or resentful.
Moms, is it just me, or could you name five things that drive you crazy at this very second? That same loud tune on the piano all day long; drink spills once you’ve all finally gotten to the table; bickering in the car over whose foot is on whose seat.
Sometimes I act as though I think God wasn’t considering my situation when He gave this directive. Surely He wasn’t picturing me trying to make lunch while answering a question about math (why can’t they teach it the same way I learned it?!) and responding to one of the 20-something texts I keep meaning to get to. Surely love might get irritated then. Is it wrong to be resentful that I’ve been interrupted during the first quiet moment I’ve had all day?
But the hope is that my Savior comes to mind — tired, dirty, hungry, worn out, but still so moved by love that He gets up yet again to heal the sick and feed the crowds.
God, I’ll never get this perfect on earth. Impress on my soul that my irritation and resentment is coming from a dark place in my heart that needs Your light. Produce self-control in me. Bring glory to Your name by my obedience.
It does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
Father, when my husband asks how our day was, let the good come to mind. Let the moments of encouraging words between siblings, or prayers at the lunch table, or hugs before naptime, be the things that linger.
Let me not aggravate my children by nagging but be watchful for ways to plant Your Word in their minds. And show me how to celebrate — truly celebrate — the sanctification I see happening in our lives, even though it so often comes through things like spills and car tantrums.
Sarah Rein and her husband, Trey, are raising their four children in Brandon, where Trey is a school principal and Sarah is home a LOT. Luckily she’s an introvert who enjoys reading and learning about new things and people. The Reins love their church family at Lakeside Presbyterian and coffee