I’m beyond excited to meet our baby boy this fall. It will be such an adventure, and I so look forward to newborn squishiness and snuggles– and yes, having one small person in the house who can’t go anywhere.
But this toddler phase is so emotionally demanding, and sometimes it brings out the worst in me. I find the more independent Lucy & Catalina get, the more they’re expressing their own feelings and preferences, the more demands on my patience come right and left like smart missiles threatening to make me explode. As soon as I get used to one challenge– the endless bedtime drama, for instance– another pops up.
To complicate things, summer living is easy: park, lunch, nap, pool, dinner, bedtime, repeat. Fall brings the challenge of much more time inside as well. So as I emotionally and spiritually prepare for this baby boy, a discouraging voice keeps whispering: “But how will you ever have enough patience to love well?”
Several truths have stilled that insinuating voice and armed me to face the fight ahead with joy.
Fear of the future is unbelief. This reminder came from, of all places, the lesson I taught my preschool class at church on Sunday. God always provides exactly what we need when we need it, as we look to him for provision. The story was of the Israelites in the desert, one generation losing their entrance into the promised land because of unbelief and another receiving a gift beyond what they could have accomplished alone. And Matthew 6:33-34 reminds me that I don’t need to borrow patience for later:
33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
God provides patience as I need it, from his own perfect store of steadfast love, not my own. And even more reassuring, God will forgive and redeem then just as he does now. I need to dispel the fear that the days I lose patience and really blow it will be a loss without a chance of redemption. God’s mercies are new every morning, but he can redeem a day hour by hour, too. He can also grant me patience not my own, and he often does, quieting my heart in a moment of impatience and helping me to love better.
Patience grows as we gaze on the Supplier of patience, sit under his word, and walk in his Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3 reminds me that we become more like Jesus, in his patience and in every way, as we gaze on him. God’s patience will grow and overflow in me not as I strive in my own strength to cultivate it, but as I see Jesus. As I spend those intentional moments in the Word and in prayer, in meditating on verses, listening to worship music, listening to the voice of the Spirit, patience will be some of the fruit of slowly, painfully, gloriously becoming more like Jesus.
That season, too, will sanctify. As much as I’d love to just get perfect in time for Baby Boy, that’s not happening. Some of the challenges I dread will change me and refine me into a better mother, wife, friend, and most important, a better worshipper of Jesus. So instead of wallowing in mommy guilt or trying to put myself through a nice-mommy boot camp before November, I’m clinging to the words of Paul:
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Parenting is like sanctification boot camp. Instead of dreading it, I want to press on toward Christ, because he has already made me his own and will continue to make me in his image.
All these truths have helped me truly look forward to welcoming Baby Boy and being the best mom I can be right now. I know as time passes, I will grow in patience and grace and joy, but I also know there is so much grace for right now, for every day. It will be a good, joyful, and sanctifying thing to be a mommy of three, with God’s help.