Today's post was written by Nicole Varden. Nicole is married to Cory, who currently serves as Elder at TCABH. She is a stay-at-home mom of 2 girls, Mackenzie (3) and Chandler who will be 1 in November.

Have you ever heard the old adage, “Never pray for patience because God will give you the circumstances to develop it?" Growing up, my mother use to jokingly tell me that, but I’ve found that statement to hold some truth as I’ve gotten older. It’s been evident many times in my life as I seek to grow more like Christ that I really don’t desire the discipline it takes to get there. Developing patience is certainly one of those areas.

The clearest place the Lord has been and is constantly teaching me about patience is in the process of raising my children. I am a stay-at-home mom, so I’m with my children pretty much all day, which means that there are plenty of opportunities for me to develop this trait! I came to the understanding rather quickly that there is nothing quite as sanctifying as raising children (except maybe being married!). I am reminded every single day of our depravity as human beings and the fact that this sinfulness clearly starts from birth. You want to see a picture of human depravity? Have a child! You want to see an example of sinfulness in your own heart? Have one of your children pitch a fit in front of a crowd of people after being told that they couldn’t have something they wanted. That certainly brings my sinful nature to the surface! My pride and anger are evident in that moment, and being patient with my children is the last thing on my mind—I just want justice to be served right then!

And while I certainly think that swift discipline is important, the Lord has been graciously teaching me that showing patience in how I discipline is an important way I can live out the gospel in front of my children. Just think about how God is described in Exodus 34:6-7-as a merciful, gracious, and patient Father (not to mention just). How patient has God been with us, His children, as we repeatedly disobey and turn away from Him in our rebellion? How gracious is He to forgive in spite of our constant failures? I have found that this is such an important thing to show my children in the way I discipline them. By disciplining with patience and showing them grace moment by moment, I am showing an example of the love the Father has for us.

A great resource I have found is the book Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp. Tripp explains the importance of being patient in discipline and getting to the heart of the issue—sinful nature-rather than just focusing on the behavior that is purely a symptom of a deeper issue. I am prayerfully seeking to live this out in front of my children every day. I pray that by seeking to discipline with patience and extending grace, I will point them to our Savior who shows us the ultimate form of patience and gives perfect grace.

As my children grow and, Lord willing, as we have more children one day, I’m certain that patience is a virtue that will continuously be refined in me. I’m not going to be afraid to pray for patience, even if I have to pray for it out loud in front of my children some days!