Just How Patient is Our Love?

Many of us are familiar with the popular verses written about love in 1 Corinthians 13. We read that,

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…

These verses are loaded with meaning, so much so that  I’m stuck on the first three words, “Love is patient.” In the past, I thought about being patient for a period of time – a day, a week, or maybe a month? But the Lord showed me something last winter that I have been thinking about ever since.

I was worried about one of my children and how a decision might affect this child’s life. My mind was running to the future – months and years stretching out before us. I envisioned all of the painful possibilities and in my fear, I wanted to grab some false sense of control, and change this child right here and now.

Then I was struck by something. When God says, “Love is patient,” He is not talking about a short period of time, He may be speaking about years of patience. We tend to lock people in to the way we see them here and now, but God does not see them that way at all; He sees their entire life story stretching from beginning to end. He is writing our children’s stories with His mighty and gentle hand – they are not locked in to the present, but are always moving along the path of their lives.

What does this mean to me as a mother? Each of my children is on a journey. I need to be patient and lovingly allow the Lord to lead them, even when it is painfully slow or uncomfortable. While I must speak truth to them, after all, “love rejoices in the truth,” it is vital that I sit with them in their mess, right where they are, and let their story unfold.

We are mothers and fathers who know that, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

We must always trust that God loves our children far more than we do and while we would like to control their life stories, making them neat and tidy, we can’t deprive them of their own journey with God.

I am quite sure that when I was a teen, my parents feared I had ruined my life – and they were not alone. Looking back, we can now see that the trials in that season were part of my journey to becoming the woman and mother I am now.

Love is patient – may we be patient with our children, and the people we love, trusting that God is the Great Author. We can’t expect the beautiful ending when we’re still in the early chapters of the book – pray, wait, then pray some more.

Lisa

 

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

0 Comments

  1. Beth Templeton
    May 20, 2013

    Yes! The story is not over yet, and oh how we need to enjoy this fruit of patience! Wonderful post Lisa. A good word for us mamas!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 20, 2013

      The fruit of the spirit – I need to think more about that. Thanks for the reminder, Beth.

      Reply
  2. Doris Mae
    May 20, 2013

    Amen!

    Reply
  3. Tara Bradford
    May 20, 2013

    Thanks for this reminder Lisa. One that I was thirsty for. Hope you are doing well.

    Reply
  4. Amy Leong
    May 20, 2013

    Great reminder both for my kids and myself.

    Reply
  5. Karen
    May 20, 2013

    Thank you for the reminder. I will remember this the next time I think, "We are home three years; why is this stuff still happening?" And also, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” I may print these out and post them all over the house.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 20, 2013

      Three years feels like a long time when we're in the thick of it, but in light of a lifetime, it is very short. It is so hard to keep that perspective! Thanks, Karen.

      Reply
  6. Lori Schneider
    May 20, 2013

    Ouch. Hit me right between the eyes. I have been praying about patience – knowing how much I lack it in our present situation. Thank you for the encouragement!

    Reply
  7. Lori Schneider
    May 20, 2013

    I have read those verses in 1 Corinthians many times, but when you read them with a particular person and particular situation in mind they take on more weight. I’m with you – I can’t get past “love is patient”.

    Reply
  8. Kayla
    May 20, 2013

    Wonderful post!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 20, 2013

      Thank you, Kayla. I'm glad it speaks to you.

      Reply
  9. blesseday
    May 20, 2013

    Lisa, one thing that struck me a few years back was reading that the most faithful English rendering of the word "patient" in that verse is actually "long-suffering." That has created such a powerful mental image for me, helping me be ok with feeling like I am suffering for love sometimes.

    I don't have hard relationships with my kids (other than what is normal for pre-teens) but I have been in a relationship with my mother-in-law that can only be described with "long-suffering." (18 years of marriage this fall.)

    I tried to comment here in full, but WordPress did not like it, so I just put it on my own blog. If anyone has a spare moment this week and would like to come visit and share your wisdom about long-suffering in relationship with attachment-challenged, "stuck" adults, I would be thankful. : )
    http://oblesseday.blogspot.com/2013/05/contemplat

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 20, 2013

      Your post is beautiful and a perfect example of how true this is in all of our relationships. Thank you so much.

      Reply
  10. Carmen
    May 20, 2013

    So so good! Thank you for sharing this!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 20, 2013

      You are very welcome, Carmen.

      Reply
  11. linedancergal
    May 20, 2013

    Wow I love it when God does that. I so needed to read that verse. A completely different situation and yet in some ways exactly the same, just not with a child.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 20, 2013

      I think this is common to all people – we grow, we change, and God brings us into great maturity. My kids should be super thankful that I'm not the person I was when I started on this mothering adventure!

      Reply
  12. Jennifer P
    May 20, 2013

    How timely. We sent our son of to Marine bootcamp in SC this morning. One last hug and I was left with nothing but patient love, learning to pray like never before. We patiently (okay not so much) had to love him through the process of finding some-thing to do, some way to start the next phase of his life. In the end, we have to trust God to protect and lead. We have to trust!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 20, 2013

      Jennifer, your son is on quite a maturing journey – and I imagine it will mature all of you in your faith. Trust, love, pray – that's what it comes down to so often with our young adult children.

      Reply
  13. crazycatruns
    May 20, 2013

    Wow. I can't even explain how in needed to read this today. Like being slammed upside the head with a 2×4… Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 20, 2013

      You are so welcome, Cat. I think I owe you an email….

      Reply
  14. Margaret
    May 20, 2013

    You are so right…I find it is much easier for me to be patient…and hopeful…about other people's children, my students. I have seen so many grow through difficult teenage years to become strong, kind people. But with my own children I am so fearful that things I may do or not do for them now will somehow interfere with that…my fear often prevents me from being as good a parent as I would like…I have been trying to focus on more walking with my children than directing them this week…thank you for this insight, I needed it.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 21, 2013

      That is so interesting, Margaret. It is fear that so often hinders me as a mother too, and unfortunately, when I get fearful, I come across as angry – which is not my intention at all! Parenting is a refining process.

      Reply
  15. nancileamarie
    May 20, 2013

    Amen! I needed this today, too. Not for my children, but for others I love.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 21, 2013

      I'm so glad it is helpful to you.

      Reply
  16. christy
    May 21, 2013

    What a beautiful post. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 22, 2013

      You're welcome, Christy. Thank you for commenting.

      Reply

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