I pray. Daily. Sometimes I pray for my husband, sometimes I pray for my kids. I’ll pray for my family, friends, and country. I pray for safety, health, and protection for everyone I know and love.
But you know what? I probably pray for myself more than anything. I pray for strength and courage. I pray for contentment and joy. But more often than not, I pray for patience.
Right now, as I reach the end of my last pregnancy, I’m praying for patience on a regular basis. There is nothing more disheartening to hear right now than the welling meaning questions, “You’re still here?”
Yes, yes I am.
Patience is something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. I often find myself with a very “Veruca Salt” mentality: “Don’t care how, I want it NOW!” Not a very mature or loving attitude to have, but one that I think many of us struggle with. We want everything done and perfect within our time table.
I’m especially struggling through the end of this pregnancy. This has been a difficult pregnancy from the beginning. Now, as I draw near then end, I’m having high blood pressure, which adds a certain amount of stress, worry, and anxiety that I wish would be over.
You Get What you Pray For
The problem that often arises is we think we know best. We think our plans and our dreams and our goals are superior to that which the Lord has planned out for us, and we get frustrated or angry when those plans are delayed or sidelined. Sometimes those delays are heartbreaking: struggling with infertility, watching a loved one deteriorate from disease, or battling through a tough season of life.
But you know what? Pray for patience, and the Lord will teach you patience. It just might not look like you thought it would.
Jesus repeatedly promises that he answers prayers. Look through the pages of the gospels and not only does he encourage his believers to pray, but he assures them that their prayers will be answered.
His answer may just not be how you thought it would be.
I had this realization not too long ago. I kept praying for patience, and I expected the Lord to wave a magic wand and change me. Poof! Cate has patience now! She can finally stop praying about it. She’ll never have that struggle again. I expected to wake up one morning and be perfectly patient!
I can almost hear the Lord chuckling at me: “My daughter, you want patience? I am teaching you patience.”
The Lord continually puts me in situations that require patience. Again and again, I find myself pushed to the limit, struggling to wait for the Lord and wait for his timing. He allows these trials in my life to teach me the exact thing I keep praying for: patience. Frustrating times that pull me closer to him. Heartbreaking seasons that force me to turn to the Lord in prayer.
These tough situations are sandpaper that smooth away the Old Adam and our sinful natures, and reveal a new creation. Because every time I’m put in a difficult situation, what happens? I learn a little more, I grow a little more, and I cling to my Lord a little more.
And that’s exactly where he wants us.
It’s trying situation with my children that requires me to take a deep breath and remember how much my Heavenly Father loves me, so I can show that love to my own children.
It’s putting my selfish desires aside to properly take care of the blessings God has given me by practicing good stewardship.
It’s swallowing my pride and putting my husband first.
It’s remembering the incredible, everlasting patience our Father shows with us when we stomp our feet and shout, “I want it NOW!” or when we accuse the Lord of abandoning us because it seems he isn’t answering our prayers.
It’s embracing the season you’re in whether that means growing to fill the job/ calling/ space you’ve been given, or stepping back and practicing humility by giving up things that get in the way of your relationship with your Heavenly Father.
Our Savior hasn’t abandoned us. Rather he’s right beside us, giving us the strength and patience to persevere through the pain.
Christ promises whatever we ask for in his name, our Heavenly Father will give us. As I push through my own struggles, I can remember that the Lord, in his wisdom and love, is giving me exactly what I asked for.