Patience would have to be one of the toughest parts of parenting for me right now. I hate that I snap at my daughter at times. I hate that I can go straight from spending time with God to spitting out words through clenched teeth. I could justify this with sleep deprivation or hormones. That won’t change anything though.
The speed at which I can go from patience to snapping frustration does have a positive side. For one, it makes me more understanding of my daughter. If I can’t keep myself under control, how on earth will a four year old?! That doesn’t mean that I allow her to get away with bad attitudes and behaviour but it does mean that I have to be gracious in how I deal with her and be modelling how I work on calming down and apologising. I sometimes stop and pray out loud for patience. She has started asking me not to pray for patience as I think she realises that it means I am really struggling not to yell.
The other benefit that I have noticed is growing levels of appreciation for God’s patience. His unending grace astounds me frequently. I have to admit that often my attitudes and behaviour may not be any better than a toddler’s. And yet He persists with me. He hasn’t cut me out of His plans or rained punishment down. I often sense His patient, calm demeanour as He gently pulls me up through His Word or others.
I can only continue to seek after God and allow Him to change me. I can make the choice each moment to stop and breathe before opening my mouth. Being a parent is certainly developing my patience muscle in a whole new way!