How to Become a Tolerant Mom

We all like peace and order, don’t we?

We like to know our favorite scissors will always be just where we put them last, or we can talk on the phone without competing with screaming in the background, or we can open the bathroom door without fear and trepidation…

Children change all that. I know this because having 15 children has seriously hampered my orderly life.

Take this morning, for instance. The bathroom sink wouldn’t drain so I opened it and found all sorts of foreign objects had fallen in–most of which were not identifiable (better than the time I found the stinking carcasses of a dozen or so moths). Meanwhile, I put out an all-points bulletin for a hairbrush, or comb, (or even the vacuum brush) so that I could take care of the little girls’ hair (we own six brushes, but not one of them showed up).

Next, a set of blinds broke so I needed to find the width of the window (note to self: take measurements and write in planner). Problem: I could not find any of our carpenter’s tape measures (pretty sure someone played with them and left them to rust outside).

I am hoping you can relate. I am hoping you are not rolling on the floor and laughing at me right now!

Of course, I have not mentioned the noise this morning, mostly because I myself never notice it until someone comes to visit.

When the children were young it was all about crying and sometimes random yelling and screaming (one child asked me why she had a headache after she stood in the yard and screamed continually for five or ten minutes straight). As they have grown the normal noises of childhood are augmented with the playing of at least three different devices at a time; surround sound, iThings, etc. Walking through our house is like surfing through the AM stations at midnight–lots of scattered noise but nothing clear enough to understand.

I am supposed to be crazy, or bitter, or constantly angry by now.

But I’m not.

I am blessed and filled with joy most of the day.

When I cleaned the drain, I wasn’t frustrated, I was thankful (albeit a little grossed-out).

When I couldn’t find a brush, I was stroking the baby faces and looking into the gorgeous eyes of people I love.

When I couldn’t find the measuring tape I was thinking of how creative children are, and remembering being fascinated with those amazing contraptions when I was little, too.

You see, God did not place me in a perfectly predictable life so that I would never realize my need for Him. No, He blessed me with the care of 15 perfectly imperfect people so that I would have no choice but come face-to-face with what I really looked like from the inside-out.

Then He helped me to realize that, since He sent His son, I am no longer a slave to the old, frustrated, angry person, but He has made me new:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

Being moms of many does this for us; it gets us to the bottom of who we are and makes us realize that, if God doesn’t become our Source, we’re doomed.

So, we cry out to Him, and as always, He hears and answers, bless His name!

 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

Isaiah 65:24

He doesn’t necessarily change the circumstances, but He adds grace upon grace so that they don’t touch us. He gives us the power to overcome.

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

1 John 5:4

Of course, I have had to cooperate by renewing my mind (Romans 12).

One way I do this is to remember Philippians 4:8:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Another way is to meditate every morning on scriptures like these:

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Colossians 3:12-13

This means that I am not marinating in the negative. I don’t allow my mind to think of how my children are interrupting my life. Instead, I concentrate on the tremendous blessings they are, how they are charming and marvelous and eternally loved by God.

I live among them with understanding, remembering back to when I was a child and loving them as I would have been loved at their different ages.

This helps me to be more than tolerant, it fills me up and overwhelms me with joy.

I almost wish you could have known me before I became a mom, before I became a wife, before I became a Christian. I was almost unrecognizable. I didn’t know how to be tolerant, or patient, or kind. But God didn’t leave me there. His power has allowed me to grow beyond my culture, my upbringing, and my personality. This can only be because:

Jesus makes all the difference.

Feel free to share a testimony of how Jesus has made the difference in your life, too!

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18 thoughts on “How to Become a Tolerant Mom

  1. DEAR MOM: LEO TU COMENTASRIO Y ME RIO TAMBIEN PORQUE POR AQUI PASAN LAS MISMAS COSAS, MUCHAS VECES NO SE DONDE ESTAN MIS TIJERAS, MIS AHUJAS DE TEJER CROCHET, CONSERVO UNA QUE ERA DE MI ABUELA, CREO QUE TIENE UNOS 40 AÑOS, TODAVIA LA USO, TIENE UN VALOR MUY GRANDE PARA MI, LAS HERRAMIENTAS DE MI ESPOSO QUE ARREGLA AUTOS, TAMBIEN CADA TANTO DESAPARECEN ¿ALGUIEN LAS VIO? JAJAJAJA ¿QUE PODEMOS HACER? SEÑOR DANOS FUERZA Y SABIDURIA PARA ESTOS MOMENTOS, PARA NO PERDER LA CALMA. YO HE TENIDO 9 HIJOS JUNTO A MI AMADO ESPOSO Y ADOPTAMOS 3 NIÑOS CON NECESIDADES ESPECIALES Y TENEMOS MUCHO TRABAJO, AUNQUE 6 SE HAN CASADO, TENGO 6 HIJOS EN CASA Y A VECES HACEN MUCHO LIO, QUE VAMOS A HACER, SON LOS HERMOSOS HIJOS QUE DIOS NOS ENVIO, ALABADO SEA SU SANTO NOMBRE. TRATAMOS DE NO PERDER LA CABEZA A VECES, PERO A MEDIDA QUE PASAN LOS AÑOS, ESTAMOS MAS CALMADOS, MAS TRANQUILOS Y TOMAMOS LAS COSAS DE OTRA MANERA, LE DAMOS OTRO SENTIDO, TENGO 57 AÑOS Y YA NO SOY LA MISMA MAMA DE CUANDO TENIA 30 0 40 AÑOS, DIOS NOS DA SABIDURIA Y NOS ENSEÑA LA MEJOR MANERA DE EDUCAR Y DISCIPLINAR A NUESTRAS BENDICIONES. SGOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY, FROM BUENOS AIRES.

    • Querida Ana, ¡esto es tan cierto! No somos los mismos padres que hace 30 años. Dios ha usado a los niños para enseñarnos más de sus caminos. Él nos ha calmado y nos ha mejorado en nuestro trabajo. Sí, toda la alabanza es para Él

  2. I think is the meaning of “women will be saved through child bearing”. This is my witness too, though I’m further behind you in my journey. But God is good and he gives the growth while we fight the good fight. I say all the time I thought I was a pretty nice person before I had children, lol.

  3. I needed to read this today (and every day). Thank you! He is changing me every day. I, too, am unrecognizable from my pre-motherhood self, and I know He is not finished with me yet (praise!).

  4. Oh, boy – this is an area of struggle for me, for sure! Thank you for this article – I am printing it off to re-read often!!

    Have a wonderful weekend!
    Diana

  5. Loved this post with the exception of the ‘tolerant’ heading. To me, tolerance implies you do not need to like, love or respect the other person, you are merely ‘putting up’ with them for the sake of peace. I do not tolerate my children; I try my darndest, every day, to love them unconditionally as Christ loves me. I know this is the heart behind this post, I just feel this whole tolerance movement really needs to be kicked to the curb.

    • That’s a good, good point and I totally agree. I definitely don’t want to be tolerant the way the world’s system is tolerant. However, if someone stumbled on my post by accident because of the title, it may help them to see things from a different perspective.

  6. Sherry, I just found your blog today through Pinterest and enjoyed reading many of your posts this afternoon. What a gift you’ve shared with us! I’m a 36-year-old mom of four, and I find your words about motherhood, faith, homeschooling, and large families to be incredibly life-giving. Truly nothing has showed me my need for Jesus and sanctified me the way motherhood has, particularly in my family’s journey of adopting two toddler boys at once. I too am truly a different person today. And I have so far to go to become like Jesus!

    I love your emphasis on BOTH working hard and enjoying the journey. I think my generation of moms does well with “transparency and brokenness” but can become paralyzed by negativity and fatalism as a result, rather than seeking to change and have victory over our besetting sins. Thank you for having the courage to speak truth that is very counter-cultural. I bookmarked your blog and will enjoy following it.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Julie. I write about victory because it is a testimony of what Jesus has done in my life.

  7. Thank you. You have challenged and encouraged me. The scenarios you described are so familiar I had to laugh and share it with my husband. But…the peaceful, loving mother you described left me feeling ashamed.
    I recently found your blog and I am so glad. I don’t have any mentors in my situation, and I am so grateful to you for taking the time and energy to help mothers like me.
    I am 34 and have six children (so far). We homeschool, and I was so pleased to see that we agree completely in our methods. I immediately bought four of your lesson books, downloaded Gentle Grammar, and have been enjoying the peace of mind they have brought.
    Thank you again. I have been reading everything on your blog. Sorry this is long, I just feel so glad to find someone who understands my life. THANK YOU!!!

    • That’s so wonderful, Sarah, you have made my day! Now that my children are older I have a bit more time to share these resources in a way that makes the lives of other moms easier–praise His name. It really helps when we receive feedback from ladies like you 🙂

  8. Hola Sherry! Hablas español? Mi inglés está bien oxidado… yo quiero compartir que me gusta mucho que des varias citas de La Palabra de Dios, hoy voy a meditarlas. Yo no sabía que existe el homeschool, sino que buscando escuela para mi hijo mayor, estaba platicando con Dios y me mostró la palabra en mi mente. Al investigar supe que era mi llamado y me encantó. El problema es que he tenido un matrimonio tan difícil que he sido vencida por mi pecado y dejé de orar y pensé en escolarizar de nuevo a mi hijo porque ahora soy la peor versión de mi misma. Sin embargo cuando puedo tener internet y te leo, me llega otra vez la esperanza y la claridad de la voz de Dios. Gracias por que gracias a tus vivencias y tus palabras, por cierto me gusta mucho tu estilo de redacción, me da risas y alegría; no me siento sola y veo en ti una verdadera guía y testigo de la presencia de Jesús hoy con Tigo y con migo. Dios te de mas aún. Bendiciones!

    • Querida Dafne,

      ¡Me da mucha alegría leer comentarios como los tuyos! Es un testimonio del poder y la bendición del Espíritu Santo que Dios pudo poner esa palabra en su mente. Una cosa que me gustaría decirle es que nunca mire su propio pecado o sus defectos, siempre mire a Jesús. Es Su justicia, Su habilidad lo que nos hará pasar y nos dará la capacidad de hacer Su voluntad.

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