I Don’t Need This

The following article was written for our monthly PSP newsletter. With permission from our principal, we are sharing this with you; praying you are blessed by the heart of his message. Enjoy!

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School Logo“I Don’t Need This!” How many times have I uttered those words? Probably more than I can count, certainly more often than I recall. The chapter of the old year has closed, and a new chapter in our lives is just beginning. Many of us tend to look back at the past year, either rejoicing, or thanking God it is over. I am no exception. As I look back at the year, I too am glad, in a sense, that it is done. In truth, some chapters are darker, scarier, or less cheerful than others, to say the least. In my own case, the second half of the year was definitely in the trials category.

James tell us to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

To be honest, I struggle with verses like these at times, particularly those hard times. But in light of God’s Word, I have to conclude that my opening question does indeed have an answer. That answer is, “Apparently, I do.” If I truly believe that my Father is in control, is sovereign, and has a perfect plan for my life; and if I trust that, like Job, nothing can come my way that hasn’t been okayed by Him first, then I must conclude that my trials, however unpleasant, weighty, or dark they may seem, have been allowed by Him for some reason, likely more than one. I can only conclude one thing from this: God uses trials to work on me.

God has a LOT of work to do in me, so maybe that is why I seem to have so many trials? Back to James. It says to “count it all joy… knowing that the testing produces patience…” My first inclination, whenever things get difficult, is to immediately cry out for relief, strength, and praise to God for His wonderful sustaining grace… NOT!! Sadly, my first inclination is to complain, bemoan my circumstances, and wonder, “When will this end?”

I am not, by nature, a very patient man, just ask my wife and kids. My Father, however, is working on that. His ultimate goal is not my creature comforts, but that I may, personally, be complete, lacking nothing. In order for that to happen, I need to learn patience, because, at least according to James, patience has a work to accomplish. That work cannot be accomplished quickly, easily, or without trial, because patience is only needed when one has to wait. If all of my trials ended in a split second, when would patience be built up?

According to Paul, I am supposed to rejoice in the Lord always. (Php. 4:4) James said to count it all joy. This does not mean that I am supposed to enjoy the trials, there is nothing pleasant about what we are enduring, but I am supposed to rejoice in Him during it. The fact that He is working on me is a joy, because He is working toward a perfect end, and the fact that He is working on me at all proves that I am His.

Not only am I impatient, but my natural tendency is also to wander, roam, and get distracted. I am like the little boy whose father is constantly saying, “Come here, stay close to me.” Every time a trial comes along, I run back to my Father because, like that little boy, I am afraid, overwhelmed, intimidated, or perhaps simply had some sense knocked into me. This being the case, I can also conclude that God uses these trials to keep me close to Him, which is where I need to be.

In the words of a contemporary Christian artist: “Now, I don’t want to sound like some hero, ’cause it’s God alone that my hope is in, but I’m not gonna run from the very things that would drive me closer to Him; so bring it on.” (Steven Curtis Chapman, “Bring It On”)

As I put this all together, I am coming to understand a key fact: It is one thing to praise God during a trial… it’s not always easy, in fact, it rarely is… but it’s another thing entirely to praise Him for the trial, which is where I need to go if I am to count it a joy when I fall into one. May the blessing of the Lord abound in this new (learning) year as you stay close to Him.

Your Turn!: During your summer break, in what ways are you being purposeful in drawing closer to the Lord so that you might be refreshed for the coming adventures in learning?

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Have Patience

“Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting. ”
~ Joyce Meyer

Have_PatienceI have often noticed that when my internal thermostat is not where it is supposed to be, the reason usually lies with impatience. The job wasn’t done fast enough, activities weren’t completed correctly, or someone didn’t listen the first time. While it would be easy to blame my circumstances for my impatience and not take responsibility, the fact is I am to blame. I am the one who has allowed myself to get to this point and I need to have patience.

It would probably be best if I learned to recognize what is affecting me and then take action. Generally, my impatience falls into four categories:

I am running out of time: It often happens that when I cut myself short on time, I start to panic and become impatient. Where did the time go? Why didn’t we get out of here faster?
I have learned over the years to plan well, making sure to give myself extra time just in case there are unforeseen circumstances.

Something didn’t get done correctly: I wish I could say that whenever my kids make a mistake, I gently correct them and show them the proper way to do things. However, that would not be true. I find I get impatient when I have to show them, time and time and time again, how something needs to be done.
The Lord is continually working in this area. How often has He had to show me something, over and over and over again? I am getting better, but at times impatience still creeps in.

Someone isn’t listening to instructions: This one is the hardest for me. I dislike having my children disregard me or not follow through with something given to them. If I ask them to do something, I like it done right away. If I tell them something needs to get done, I don’t want to be given an argument.
I have come to realize when my kids aren’t listening, the fault is mine! I need to be better training them to listen and obey. I also need to make sure they hear my instructions clearly and understand my intentions. With work and time, it will get better.

My pride has been hurt: I think pride is the root of the problem! My pride is a sensitive thing and when my pride is pricked, I get impatient. How dare they not listen to me? How dare they drag their feet or not do it right the first time? After all, didn’t I show them the right way to do it? Why can’t they just do what I want?
I need to learn to take a step back and think things through. Very often, my kids aren’t trying to be disobedient, I have just set my expectations too high. It isn’t their fault when I haven’t planned out our day well or there are unexpected delays. I also need to remember they are young and still learning. In time, they will do things correctly the first time and not need as much instruction. They will come to listen and obey, when they are trained to do so.

I remember hearing once, that if you ask the Lord to give you patience, He will often bring you trials by which to learn it. Why am I then so often surprised when He gives me daily opportunities to grow? I pray as I get older and mature in the Lord, I will better develop patience. That as I learn, I will be teaching my children by example.

Whether it is chores, homeschooling, relationships, or work, patience is a virtue we cannot do without. Knowing my own limits and working through them, will help me to better get a handle on my patience.

“Love is patient and kind;…”
~ I Corinthians 13:4

📢 Chime In!: Do you struggle with impatience? What lights your fuse?

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Patience, Young Paduan

"T" and II have often noticed that when my internal thermostat is not where it is supposed to be, the reason usually lies with impatience. Something didn’t get done fast enough, something didn’t get done correctly, someone didn’t listen the first time, and things of that nature.

While it would be easy to blame my circumstances for my impatience and not take responsibility, the fact is I am to blame. I am the one who has allowed myself to get to this point and I need to learn better.

It would probably be best if I learned to recognize what “sets me off” and then I can take action. Thinking back, it really all boils down to about four things:

I am running out of time: It often happens that when I cut myself short on time, I start to panic and become impatient. Where did the time go? Why didn’t we get out of here faster?

I have learned over the years to plan well, making sure to give myself extra time just in case there are unforeseen circumstances.

Something didn’t get done correctly: (Sigh) I wish I could say that whenever my kids make a mistake, I gently correct them and show them the proper way to do things. However, that would not be true. I find that I get impatient when I have to show them, time and time and time again, how something needs to be done.

The Lord has gotten my heart over this one though; how often has He had to show me something, over and over and over again? I am getting better, but at times impatience still creeps in.

Someone isn’t listening to instructions: This one is the hardest for me. I dislike having them disregard me or not follow through with something given to them. If I ask them to do something, I like it done right away. If I tell them something needs to get done, I don’t want to be given an argument.

I have come to realize that when my kids aren’t listening, the fault is mine! I need to be better training them to listen and obey. I also need to make sure that they hear my instructions clearly and understand my intentions. With work and time, it will get better.

My pride has been hurt: I think pride is the root of the problem! My pride is a sensitive thing and when my pride is pricked, I get impatient. How dare they not listen to me? How dare they drag their feet or not do it right the first time; after all, didn’t I show them the right way to do it? Why can’t they just do what I want?

I need to learn to take a step back and think things through. Very often, my kids aren’t trying to be disobedient, I have just set my expectations too high. It isn’t their fault when I haven’t planned out our day well or there are unexpected delays. I also need to remember that they are young and still learning. In time, they will do things correctly the first time and not need as much instruction. They will come to listen and obey, when they are trained to do so.

Whether it is chores, homeschooling, relationships, or work; patience is a virtue that we cannot do without. Knowing my own limits and working through them, will help me to better get a handle on my patience.

I remember hearing once, that if you ask the Lord to give you patience, He will often bring you trials by which to learn it. I pray that as I get older and mature in the Lord, I will better develop patience. That as I learn, I will be teaching my children by example.

Do you struggle with impatience, too? What usually “sets you off”?

Dog Days and Sweet Tweets

When I was a very little girl of three, I had a puppy for the brief span of two weeks. It seemed the puppy liked me a little too much; it was constantly nipping and scratching, so out the poor little fellow went.

Jump twenty some odd years into the future… I had four kids of my own and still no pup. That was all about to change though! Our youngest daughter fell in love with the sweetest little thing at a family function. Lo-and-behold, the little one had a brother that needed a home too!

After much debate (me convincing my husband), we finally agreed. Two years ago, we brought home our puppy and our home hasn’t been the same since!

Everyone told me that we would regret it. They told me the kids wouldn’t be attached after the first three months and I would be doing all the work. Well, we are a couple of years into this and my baby girl is still going strong. 

Bringing a puppy into the house certainly has been an education though. Our kids have learned quite a bit from having Dutch and so have we. The first year we learned the hard way, then we decided to get smart and read a book. Along the way we learned some great lessons:

  • Patience– Training a dog takes a lot of patience. They won’t understand why you get angry or frustrated, impatience serves no purpose.
  • Persistence– We had to learn not to give up, even when the dog just didn’t seem to be getting it.
  • Consistency- It never pays to be lazy in training (which we learned the hard way).
  • Gentleness– Yelling at the dog isn’t going to aid in training. You need to speak with a gentle, yet firm, voice.
  • Work Ethic- Laziness and pets do not mix. Grooming, feeding, and exercise are all essential to good animal care.

Dutch is not fully trained yet (due to our late start on the right path) but he is making excellent progress. It has been great to watch the kids learn these valuable lessons.

To add to the fun, about six months ago we decided to allow our youngest daughter to get birds! We bought her two little budgies (parakeets). Like with Dutch, the same lessons needed to be learned and there were areas for her to grow.

Having pets has been a fun adventure that (so far) I do not regret. We have learned a lot and are having so much fun with them. It was the right decision for our family.

Who knows what might be coming up next? Angelina has her eye on kittens… Hmmm… Nope; I don’t think my guy is going to budge on that one!

Do you have pets? What valuable lessons have you and your children learned?