Today we have a guest contributor. Mandy from Deliberate Women is sharing her thoughts on lesson 9 in our book club for The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife: 18 Powerful Lessons for Personal Growth. Today’s chapter is on the virtue of patience. More information on the book club is found underneath the post. (View table of contents here.)
Lesson 9 hits me in a special place. The subject of patience (and more specifically my lack thereof) is a constant prayer topic between God and me. I find myself pleading with God to “just give it to me already!” No, the irony is not lost on me.
You see, I am not the most patient person in the world. Surely, to verify this, you need only ask my husband, my 6 year old just learning to tie her shoes, the person in line in front of me, the guy who cut me off in traffic, the lolly-gagging cashier at the grocery store…
When I picture someone with the virtue of patience, I envision a sweet, little, old lady wearing a knitted shawl, smiling peacefully, but patience is a virtue every wife should have. Patience is not just for the “wise and aged.” On page 65 we see some very poignant questions. Questions that I wanted to skip over. Questions that made me squirm when I read them. She asked:
Are we holding our tempers?
Are we biting our tongues?
Are we looking at life with a glass half-full of grace?
I can answer swiftly and embarrassingly that, no, I am not typically doing any of those things. In fact, I am quite honestly usually handling myself in the exact opposite fashion.
Efforts to change my husband, or for him to change me, are always fruitless. Instead, by focusing on ourselves, God will change our hearts and still achieve the outcome we’d hoped for: living together better and with greater love. Patience, is “holding your temper when you’re angry, and biting your tongue when you’re about to say something you shouldn’t.” (page 66, The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife)
I had to read the above sentence a few times because I was sure she left out the part about “holding your temper and biting your tongue unless what you have to say is valid” and “unless what you have to say is right.”
I cannot tell you – nor would I want to tell you—how many times I fly off the handle and run at the mouth because I know I’m right and my husband is wrong. All he needs are a few gems of my wisdom to set him straight and everything will be fine.
It took me many years and many tear-stained pillows to realize that I am not the one who will change my husband. I am not always the voice of reason he will listen to. I am not always right. That last one pains me to know end. “When we learn to respect, honor, and cherish our spouse the way God wants us to love, marriages are transformed” (pg 67). Amen!
Patience is a virtue that we must build and strengthen if it is ever to become a first reaction. God is not likely to zap us with long-suffering, but He will gladly give it to all who ask Him (James 1:5). He supplies us with ample opportunities to flex our patience muscle and it starts right in our own homes with our husbands.
I am not, by any means, saying this will be easy. For me, sometimes I have to bite so hard that I very nearly bite the thing off! And other times… well, let’s just say that I should use duct tape.
In this chapter, we read about the beautiful Daffodil Garden in Running Springs, California. This charming story is of a lovely couple who planted some daffodil bulbs here and there, and after 40 years, they now have close to a million bulbs! Too often we ache for that in our marriages: the lush garden filled with beauty. The secret is in being meticulous and methodical in creating that beauty. Gene Bauer and her husband toiled on once-rocky hills to create the beauty that is still there today. No doubt it took planning, forethought, time, effort, and—yes– patience.
Sisters, I think I speak for all of us when I say we all want a million-bulb daffodil garden for our marriages. We crave the lush landscape of beauty. The good news is that we don’t have to pine away for it. But we do have to work for it. “One prayer at a time, one day at a time, one understanding and patient moment at a time… precious blooms in the garden of marriage.”
How do we get there? This chapter closes with 5 ways to develop patience:
Ride the burn: Wait out those moments that send you reeling and make you want to throw something or say things you’ll never be able to take back.
Pray without ceasing: God is able to “not only change a situation, but to create an outcome that’s beyond anything you could imagine for yourself.”
Grab a pen and paper: Look up scriptures about “patience.” Also start journaling to see what God is teaching you.
Remind yourself that you’re developing character: Remain steadfast and focused on Jesus. Realize that our progress is not determined by or measured by anyone else.
Ask yourself how you can glorify God: Sometimes this happens in the heat of the moment, making it difficult to process, but the more often we do this, the more natural it will become.
Some scriptures to get you started:
“Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle word can break a bone.” Proverbs 25:15
“We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.” Hebrews 3:14
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:36
It will take time to improve on these things. And the most important component to any marriage is making sure Christ is at the center of it. Do not be afraid to fall to your knees and beg God to let you see your husband through His eyes. Cry out to Him for patience. Your marriage will be better for it.
Mandy is a work-from-home wife and mom of 6 children ages 2-8 yrs. She and her husband Joe live in the Pittsburgh, PA area where they homeschool their 3 oldest. In addition, she acts as the coordinator for her local MOPS chapter and teaches preschoolers in Sunday School at her church. Mandy has felt a calling to the ministry of women– and moms in particular– since she started blogging in 2009 at www.SuburbanStereotype.com and later in 2012, with four other women, as the founder of www.DeliberateWomen.org. The sense of community she discovered when joining the “mommy blogging” world was amazing and she envisions creating that same sense of community and acceptance in her writing and during speaking opportunities. Mandy feels that now is the time to step forward boldly in faith and demonstrate a life of love and purpose– and how that looks in everyday life as a wife and mom. It is her goal to be real and transparent–and break the cycle of Christians hiding their struggles so that they will look the part of ‘good Christians’– and allow others to see her imperfect life so that they will gain encouragement and acceptance for their own.
Let’s discuss chapter 10 on Friday!
What are some of the thoughts that you have on chapter nine? What are your thoughts on patience? Please leave a comment below! (subscribers click through to the blog)
Find out more about the book here. And yes–feel free to jump in to the book club with us at anytime–you can catch up on the chapters you missed anytime. We have 18 lessons in total!
Journal some of these Bible verses on patience and meditate on them throughout the week.