Patience: the capacity

For what seems like the millionth time, I wipe up a trail of pee.  My little son sits proudly on his potty seat sweetly asking, “Treat?”  Eyes wide with anticipation, lips parted in glee, chubby hands on knees.

My son is not the only one in training.

While he learns to use the toilet I am learning to use my patience. And my recognition that this is the essence of motherhood is dawning, beautifully.

Patience: “the capacity to accept or tollerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset”…

This word has been a reoccurring theme this past week.  When I am still and quiet and let go of the long list of things needing to get done, I can think about the word, patience. I looked it up in the dictionary, and the first word to describe patience is capacity. 

“Can I have a snack?” one child asks again.  “Can I help you cook in the kitchen?” another child repeats. “Potty! Potty!” the third yells, and indeed, once again I watch it dribble down his leg as he runs for the bathroom.  “Mom, can I use my Easy Bake Oven?”  “Mom, do you know where my wheel to this car went?”  “Mom, when is dinner going to be ready?” “Treat?”

the maximum amount that something can contain
fully occupying the available area or space
the amount that something can produce
the ability or power to do, experience, or understand something
a specified role or position
that can contain or take hold

I bend down, towel and spray bottle in hand, baby on the toilet all grins, so eager to please. Other voices swirl around above me, still asking me questions that I don’t register clearly enough to answer yet.  I am at the maximum amount of noise and questions I can contain and this life is still pushing in, insistant on occupying all available space in my thoughts and in my feelings, in my ears.  Pushing my edges, my limits, until I feel myself steam…

I spray and I wipe.  I sigh and press on.  These three human beings blink at me, smile at me, talk at me, having no concept of what my limitations mean, that I can only produce so much effort. In their eyes it is my role, my specific position, to meet their needs.  They have no awareness of what I can contain, or how I will take hold of it all; to them this is simply who I am.  The Mom.

When I think about these things, when I am at my fullest capacity that floats just above impending explosion with toxic vapors escaping, I remember sweet, wonderful words…

And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you.” ~ 2 Corinthians 9:14

“… because of the overflowing grace God has given you…”

And I wonder: Is part of the capacity of being patient meant to be the overflowing of God’s grace?  Not only that which we can contain, but also that which we can hold while it flows over onto the ones with whom we are practicing patience?

These thoughts tumble around in my head as I find dry underpants, and a smile.  They sink into the back of my mind, pushing in for deeper penetration, while I find my child’s car wheel, grab a “treat” for the one on the toilet and offer a plastic tub of apple sauce for snack.

Patience: the capacity to overflow with the grace God has given me.

Patience: the specific roll of spilling God’s grace into each moment.

Patience: being occupied fully by His grace, overflowing it into all available space.

Patience: the ability and power to experience… to understand this gift of grace.

Patience: to contain and take hold of the grace God has given.

Patience reflects the amount of grace we have received through the amount of grace we are able to produce…  The cup that overflows runs deep with abundance.

“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:7


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