Small Steps Together: Patience

Small step buttonD1

It's been ages since I did a Small Steps Together post. I beg your pardon! I decided this morning to begin with today's devotion and just roll with it a bit. I don't have a copy of the book--I've long sold all of mine--so I'm pulling the quote from the manuscript. It very well may be that this quote was edited into another day. If so, I'm going to just assume that God wanted me to think about this one today and go about my merry way.


Think: "And when night comes, and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has been, and how much you planned that has gone undone, and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed: just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God’s hands and leave it with Him." -- Edith Stein


Pray: Jesus, You fell three times while carrying the cross. Help me see my weaknesses as a call to lean on Your strength and grow ever closer toward You. 

Act: Before you go to bed tonight, write down all of the things you did wrong or failed to accomplish in your day. Pray over your list, asking God to complete you where you fall short. Then crumple up the paper, throw it away, and get a good night's sleep before tackling a new day.

Whew. I've had a lot of nights like this one lately, a lot of fragmentary, embarrassed, and ashamed nights, many, many worried nights, a lot of dreams where all the bumps of the day crowd out peaceful sleep and I awake feeling defeated before I've begun. When I reflect on the plan as it was written in the last few days of August and compare it to where we are today, I am astonished. So much of the landscape has changed in such unexpected, sometimes painful ways! 
I wonder, is this the particular cross of meticulous planners? Do we get nailed more often than those easygoing folks who haven't much of a plan from the beginning? Or, is it a big family thing? In a big family, as children get older, there are so many outside influences on a mother's life. While I can merrily plan away for my own largish brood, I can't really begin to predict how the friends and teachers and coaches and employers in their lives are going to act. Throw in unexpected medical issues. Multiply it out by the number of children in a large household. And there you have it: guaranteed nights of reflection upon fragmentary days. 


But what about the embarrassed and ashamed part? Those are the pieces torn away from the one piece life. If all of life is either sacred or profane, the embarrassed and ashamed parts are where we have greeted the interruptions, the unexpected, the uninvited in a manner that is not sacred. They are the places where we've stumbled under the weight of the cross and instead of accepting the grace of the Savior, we've either tried to throw the cross from our shoulders or we've tried to carry it under our own strength. 


My life is not a seamless garment. I've lived long enough to see that now. I cannot cut from the fabric of my life the patches that are rougher than the others, the colors that are just a little off. No matter how embarrased or ashamed of them I might be, they cannot be ripped from the fabric. But they can be stitched into His masterpiece. I can give them to Him and trust that over time, He will piece together a garment that takes those dark pieces and frames them just so, rendering the finished product beautiful beyond anything I could have imagined.


God intends it to be holy. All of it. What He wants at the end of a fragmented day is for me to see--clearly see--the many fragments and how they are of my own making. And then, He wants me to ask. He wants me to know that He can take the fragments, even the seeming dissonance and He can make a one piece life of my many scraps. It can all be for His good and to His glory. If only I hand Him the pieces.

But what does all this have to do with patience? Everything. At then end of a day that was all ragged fragments, a day where truly the beauty in the design is utterly incomprehensible, I am called to hand the pieces to him and just wait. Trust. And wait. He's got a plan.





How is He teaching you patience this month? Small Steps focuses on patience this month. Would you share your thoughts with us, let us find you and walk with you? I'd be so grateful and so honored to have you as a companion, to pray with you for patience. Please leave a comment or link to your blog post below and then send your readers back here to see what others have said.You're welcome to post the Small Steps Together banner button also.