When Patience Runs Thin

“God give me grace and patience. I know there will be a lot of crying today, so help me to remember that she simply doesn’t feel good. Remind me how cranky and pitiful I am when I don’t feel good.”

Monday morning around 4 AM, Kinsley woke up choking on her snot and coughing. After suctioning out her nose --- which can we just take a minute to be thankful that our neighbors can't hear the screams a one year old makes when performing this task. It literally sounds like you're torturing them. Like, hey kid, I'm just trying to help you breathe. As someone who is easily grossed out by snot, this is hands down one of my least favorite things ever about motherhood. I'd take vomit or diarrhea over buckets of snot + mucus. Call me crazy, but whatever. So, many tears and screams later, I sang her back to sleep and just sat there, holding her.

I knew right then it was going to be a long day. Anytime snot is involved in babies + toddlers, the days just get a little bit harder. I'll be honest, more times than not, I go to God in prayer when I'm at my wits end and just feel like I'm about to snap, ready to burst into tears, rather than seeking Him out in the beginning.

But for some reason, I just felt the urgent need to pray right then. So I did. And that short 3 line sentence you read at the beginning of this, that was my prayer. Short and to the point, mainly because I simply didn't have the energy to even say anything more.

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans."

---Romans 8:26

I'm not sure how many times my prayers have been nothing but wordless groans, but let me just say, despite those prayers being wordless groans, God has heard and answered those prayers in the same way He has heard and answered my prayers where I have many words.

The beauty of it is, sometimes words just seem too much, and the Spirit knows that.

As I went throughout my day, I was shocked at how calmly I was able to not just handle Kinsley, but to react to her, as well as still have the capacity to react to the needs of others around me, too. Normally, on these days, I feel like frustration has set in within 20 minutes of being awake with her. All the tears. All the snot. The breakdowns. It just overwhelms me.

And even though in my mind I know she is only a one year old and doesn't feel good, I still find myself snapping at her, because well, I'm human.

So was it a coincidence that I magically seemed to have more patience with her on this day compared to others when the only difference was prayer? No.

I truly believe that by preparing myself for the day by talking to my Father first — rather than when I've already hit my breaking point — allowed me handle her SO much better. Yes, there were still meltdowns out the wazoo over things she normally could care less about. There was so much snot, you could possibly float a boat in it, but instead of feeling extremely overwhelmed and frustrated, I felt empathetic towards her — don’t get me wrong, I love her, but when she gets these colds, I just want to lock myself in a closet.

Though I shouldn’t have been, I was honestly amazed at how different my day was solely because I had prayed.

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us."

---1 John 5:14

The reality is though, God not only tells us, but WANTS us to come to Him and ask for help. He wants to equip us with love and compassion for people, to give us the grace we need to extend to others when they're hard to love. Because let's be honest, if it relies solely on how much grace I have to offer, my grace is going to run out a lot quicker than the amount of grace God can offer. Not to mention, I know how difficult I am to love most days, so the amount of grace I need in return, can only be found through my Father.

So if you're struggling with patience, with having grace for others, whether it be with a coworker or with your child, or even having grace for yourself, know that our Heavenly Father is waiting for you to come to Him.

All you have to do is ask.

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