Thursday, April 23, 2009

Peace and Patience

Currently, I am doing a study called Living Beyond Yourself with Beth Moore. Recently, we covered Peace & Patience as one of the fruits of the spirit. Patience is something I've been dealing with since I gave birth to my son almost 10 months ago. I first began the quest for "patience" by asking God for just that. However, I quickly changed my request from "Lord, please give me patience" to "Lord, please give me peace" after reading "A Beautiful Offering" by Angela Thomas. In this book, she goes through the beatitudes..."blessed are the peacemakers...". Thomas writes in her book (prepare yourself, this is lengthy)...

"Maybe the woman who has become a peacemaker would look something like this: She has surrendered her life to God and she's not mad about it. She is learning to trust Him with the outcome, and, even beyond trust, she anticipates that His plan will be more exciting and better than she could have imagined. She tends the hearts of those she loves. Petty details decline in value. Love matters more. She is beginning to see what counts for eternity and gives her attention accordingly. She is interruptible. She looks into the eyes of neighbors and strangers and the goofy friends of her kids and sees the person who wants to be loved and valued and applauded. She understands that life doesn't always turn out right and people don't turn out right and just about everything needs to be covered with forgiveness. She is slow to mumble stupid words of discouragement. She considers when it is appropriate to become angry. She is way past appearances and pretense. She surrounds herself with passionate contentment."

It was then that I realized that it wasn't patience I needed, it was peace. Without peace, I couldn't get through the frustrating feedings, the senseless screaming, etc. Patience to me was what I needed to endure those days, but peace! Peace is what I needed to endure and still enjoy those days...not ending up totally frustrated and worn out! I immediately changed my prayer and boy did God answer. Of course, I still loose my peace at times but we'll always be a work in progress, right? 

Now for patience, and Beth Moore's study....Day 4 of patience talked about forgiveness. I was recently very hurt by someone and needed to forgive them. I have said the words to the person needing the forgiveness. However, I can't shake the fact that I was hurt by the situation and that maybe I just let the person off the hook for what they did. This fact made me wonder if, in fact, I did forgive this person. I was consoled by Beth Moore's encouragement that forgiving someone quickly does NOT mean that we are "letting them off the hook" and that hurt still may be present. I can now truly believe that I did forgive the person. I thank God that I have that ability to forgive such a deep hurt with sincerity and move on with my life. I know that time will heal the hurt but it feels good to know that I do not have a body chained around my neck due to my lack of forgiveness. 

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