These are my two least favorite words to hear after I tell my two-year-old daughter that she needs to wait.
It’s 5:45am. She woke up an hour early.
“Mama, I want breakfast.”
“Honey, it’s too early. We’ll eat breakfast at 7:00 like always.”
We’re headed home and she wants to go to the park.
“Rooney, we can go in a few hours.”
We’ve read eleven books before bedtime. She hands me number 12.
“Hey, we’ll read this one tomorrow.”
“No, Mama, now.”
She doesn’t have a lot of patience. She’s two. She doesn’t have it because it’s not a natural human behavior: it’s a skill that needs practice and repetition. As a teacher, I get that. As an author, I get it. As a mama, I struggle with it. When her “No, now” turns into a face scowl or an angry grunt or a full blown tantrum, I’ll admit that it’s easy for me to lose the very thing I’m trying to teach her.
But patience is so much more than a virtue or a crucial competency. It is a supernatural power, a gift from God that will equip her mind and heart for the trials she’ll face. It will strengthen her for the discomfort that comes when happiness is delayed or, worse, nowhere in sight. Patience is a God-given superpower, and it’s my job to show her how to use it.
God gave us a beautiful example in His Word of what this power looks like when it’s lived out: Esther. When faced with a dangerous choice for how she could save her people, Esther paused. She did not rush. She waited and considered what to do. She sought wise counsel. She took time to pray and fast about how best to approach the situation. She prepared and discerned the right time to act. She understood that patience wasn’t about anyone else. It was about how she spent her time preparing to step into the role God had for her. And that is powerful.
This is why we chose Esther as part of our first Bible Belles series. She is The Belle of Patience, the hero my little girl and I can look to when we need inspiration, hope, and a gentle reminder to approach life’s situations by preparing our own hearts and listening for God’s direction.
Hannah: The Belle of Prayer
Esther: The Belle of Patience
Abigail: The Belle of Bravery
Ruth: The Belle of Loyalty
Deborah: The Belle of Leadership
I get it. She’s learning about the world around her: what’s safe and what’s not. It’s my job to teach her. I get that, too. A lot of the time though, those why nots are not about her safety. They’re about her wanting something now; they’re about her not wanting to wait.
This is new territory for me. I’m used to being in a classroom where kids do what I tell them to do. My daughter used to look at me when I told her something, say, “Okay, Mama,” and then do exactly that thing I said to do.
Now, I get that question. In my opinion, it’s a question that deserves so much more than the old go-to “because I said so.” I’ve used that before, and when I do it always feels uncomfortable because there’s a lot missing from that statement. Because I said so is not why she needs to wait and it’s not going to help her understand why waiting is necessary.
She needs to wait because readiness walks hand in hand with results. Patience is so much more than a virtue: it’s a requirement for life, it’s a skill that will prepare her mind and heart for the trials she’ll face, and she needs to hone that skill so she can venture out into the world, prepared to step into the role God created for her.
About the author:
Erin is an enthusiastic and goofy mom to two children, one of them with paws. She is a wife, author, teacher, former college athlete and a five-time cancer survivor. Her heart is in Seville, Spain, though she calls Encinitas, CA home. In her spare time she enjoys going to the beach with her husband and daughter, coaching softball, and pretending she can bake. She loves eating, laughing, and volunteering at Sunday school. Alongside her husband, she is the co-founder of Bible Belles, an organization committed to teaching girls about the female heroes of the Bible