Posts Tagged ‘patience’

The Toad

July 8, 2013

It’s late at night.
I’m walking to the car to go to work for an overnight shift and I spy him: A big, fat,  hoppy, brown toad trying to “run”  from me as fast as a toad can. He hid under our reel mower, thinking I couldn’t see him. I just laughed and continued on my way.

The next morning I came home from work and my older (young adult) son tells me “I have a new pet!” I knew he meant the toad because when I returned the reel mower had been moved several inches. “Where is it?” I asked. “Don’t worry mom, he’s still outside”. I didn’t give it another thought as I went to bed — because working all through the night is exhausting.

After I woke up and gathered my thoughts I decided to go see how my garden is doing (my daily ritual). Out the door I went and over the patio towards the back yard. On my traipse through the patio an active bit of motion caught me from the corner of my eye: Upon investigation I discovered a fat, hoppy, brown toad trying to free his way out of the shallow pool of water at the bottom of the short blue bin on the patio. The bin walls were just a little too tall for him.

Oh dear, that’s MY toad!

I gently caught the little guy, holding him around his “waist”, upright, and away from my body (because I learned a long time ago that these critters will “pee” on you if you don’t!).

My mission was to put him in my garden where he had shelter. And shade. And a nearby water source. And protective places to hide.

In other words, the garden had everything a toad needed to be happy.

I truly didn’t expect that he’d stay there for the remainder of the season, but I still knew it was a much better place for him than that little blue bin. If he chose to leave the garden, that was beyond my control.

In spite of my good intentions he was having none of that human-hand-holding thing as I carried him the fifty-or-so feet it took to get to the garden.
He vigorously wiggled and squirmed;I gripped  him tighter (though gently).
He croaked at me, and I tried to speak to him gently.

He simply didn’t understand that I was taking him from a futile, and possibly dangerous situation, and putting him in a safer, more comfortable, and better place.

I put him under the shelter of the large, shady, zucchini plants and went about tending to my garden. I kept my distance from him, though I also kept my eye on him. He continually turned to watch me in between the times that he wasn’t distracted with the yummy bugs that kept coming in his reach. He was happy, sheltered, and being fed. After I was finished with the garden, I simply left and let him do as he wished.

The next day, as I expected, he was gone. Out of curiosity I did a thorough search for the toad; he was really really gone. Although I knew that would happen, I was a bit disappointed: I put him in a toad’s paradise! Plenty of shelter, shade, food, water, and dirt! WHY didn’t he stay?…..

And that’s when God brought it home to me:
“People are very much the same. I see them in a terrible situation, and I bring them out of it. They vigorously fight me, and I try to speak to them to calm them, but they’re so caught up in their immediate fear and discomfort that they don’t understand me or realize when I’ve placed them in a better situation. And once they get there, many times, instead of seeing what they have, they focus on where they could be, forgetting about where they were and how much improvement I gave them”.

And I said:
“But how can that toad not realize the difference between the bin and the garden? The bin was obviously futile, and he would have eventually drowned! Why, after all that hardship, did he leave the garden??!!”

And it came to me; was it from God, or did He let me figure it out myself? I don’t know, but here it is:
The Toad was in the garden, and he was doing  better there than when he was in that horrible bin. BUT…. after he was in the garden, and after he got used to it,  he saw more:

The outside of the garden.

In his limited mind, he thought that surely the outside of the garden has more bugs, more shelter, more water, and more comfort.

He was focused on what more he could have to enjoy, he didn’t think about the serious dangers that were out there: The neighborhood cats that prowl the night, the coyotes that live in the area, the slithering grass snakes stalking at all hours. He simply couldn’t see those things from his vantage point even though I knew all about those dangers. And I couldn’t protect him from those things because he didn’t see what I saw.

He didn’t understand all the vast things that I understand.
He didn’t understand that I knew dangers that he didn’t.
He only saw what he wanted, and what he thought was better.
And because of that, he left the “safety zone” and ventured out into dangerous territory

And I did not have the authority to control his free will, and so I lost him.


Are human relationships with God so much different than that?


Ripened Fruit

April 13, 2012

Yesterday my eldest son attempted to make a fruit smoothie in the blender. He added his frozen strawberries, the yogurt, and some orange juice. He wanted to add some mango as well, even though the mango wasn’t quite ripe yet. I informed him that it wasn’t ready yet, and that he should save it for a few more days. But he wanted the mango for this smoothie, not for one a few days later. I decide it was best not to argue, for he would see for himself: It was a little difficult to peel, and the flesh was still a greenish white, almost the colour of cucumber flesh, instead of the usual orangey-yellow that a ripe mango should be. He decided to take a taste first, just in case.

It didn’t go into the smoothie.

You see, the mango had to ripen in its own time, the way God intended it to. My son couldn’t speed the process up; he couldn’t force it to work on his own timetable. Because of his impatience he ruined what would have been an otherwise perfectly good fruit. God wasn’t about to re-order time and space just so my son could have a ripened mango in his smoothie that day.

And we should all take a lesson from this:

Sometimes, the thing  we want most, and is good for us, just isn’t quite ready to be enjoyed yet. For example, perhaps you want to lost 50 pounds of weight off your body. Yes, being at a healthy weight is good for you, but rushing the process by near-starvation does more harm than good for your body. You need patience, shedding only a couple of pounds per week, in order to maintain your health as you slim down.

Or perhaps you are seeking a marriage mate. Generally speaking, marriage is good for a person and is a God-ordained way of living. However, you shouldn’t rush the process by marrying the first man or woman who is willing. You need to take the time to get to know the person, ensuring the person has the actual qualities you are seeking in a mate.

Or maybe it’s a career choice. Perhaps you are tired of your same old job every day and are looking for a change. It isn’t wise to just quit your current employment; you must first take the time to know what it is you are looking for, and then find that new job while you are still working your old job.

Yes, God wants us to be healthy in our bodies, happy in our marriages, and content in our employment. And if you pray for His guidance in these (and other) life matters, He will be happy to help you find what is best for YOU. The catch is, you need to let the situation “ripen”, you can’t rush it or else you will absolutely ruin it. It is very possible that God wants to teach you a few things before putting you into your new situation. Or perhaps someone else related to the matter needs to “ripen” before you would be a good fit for the situation. He knows exactly what He’s doing, and He does not owe us any explanations in the meantime. It is not our job to know what He’s planning, but it is our job to trust Him, and to patiently await His next move that we’ve asked for.

Don’t rush the “mangoes”. They will be ready when it’s time to be ready.

God’s Perfect Timing

June 23, 2011

Recently I’ve gone through an epiphany of how God’s perfect timing works, regardless of my human ignorance.

The Backstory:
Several years ago I worked a job I loved in a hospital, with good benefits, decent wages, and good co-workers. About two years into the job I was hit with three major life crises all at once:

1. My husband was suffering from the aftermath of a severe concussion

2. My teenaged son was getting into serious legal trouble with people he wasn’t supposed to be associating with, and

3. I found myself being “burned at the stake” because I actually began to lose faith in the “Christian” sect I was born and raised in. My family had turned their back on me because I decided to leave their sect, and most of my friends did the same (to this day they continue to treat me as spiritual poison; I am dead to them).

Without having a support system these crises began affecting my attitude, my patience, and my judgment in very negative ways. My work life was also becoming seriously affected, as was the relationship between me and my co-workers. I knew I was heading down a slippery slope , and I knew that if I didn’t handle things right I’d mess up my job, my marriage, and my children. I began to cling to God like green on grass. He was the only support I had… and thankfully, He was the best.

In all His mercy God provide me an opportunity to leave my job without serious financial repercussions. I reluctantly took the opportunity; I really didn’t want to leave my job but I also knew that if I didn’t  I would probably end up getting fired anyway with the way things were going. So I put in a month’s notice and quit.

Thank you God, as I needed the time to focus on resolving those issues that were crushing me.

About a year later, when things started coming back together I tried to re-apply for my old job. Unfortunately, my manager must have put something disparaging in my employee record because the recruiter I spoke to was acting very elusive about hiring me even though I knew for a fact the job was open. By this time I had already been working another  job, so I was able to “suck it up” and waited another year to try to apply to the old job again; this second attempt had the same basic result. Apparently, I had burned my bridges without realizing it. Eeesh.

I faced reality and accepted the situation for what it was and continued with the job I was already working, even though I wasn’t all that fond of it.

A couple of years later a friend of mine was hired at that hospital I used to work at, though on a different floor. After she had worked there a while she started asking me why I didn’t re-apply there again. I gave her a brief rundown of how things went and explained that I ruined any chance of ever getting rehired.  I wasn’t going to fool myself on this.

She didn’t mention it anymore until one day, last year, when I lost my job. The short version: I took a moral stand at work (in advocating for a patient’s safety), which made the wrong person look bad, and suddenly I wasn’t needed at my job anymore. It happened so fast it made my head spin — and yet somehow I inherently knew that, even though God didn’t ordain this to happen, He still allowed this to happen, though I didn’t know why at the time. So I had to get another job ASAP, and ended up working part time, minimum wage as a bottle clerk in a grocery store;I figured it was better having a low paycheck rather than no paycheck. I decided to work the job for at least six months in order to get a good reference and to have time to decide what to do next.  I was mulling over whether I wanted to continue working in health care or maybe try doing something else. I prayed to God for guidance: Should I remain a Certified Nursing Assistant (“CNA“) or should I pursue a different career path? I prayed constantly, and patiently waited for God’s answer (after all, I had at least six months before I needed to make a real decision anyway).

During this time my friend kept bugging me to re-apply at the hospital. I kept trying to make her understand how futile it was, but finally, after eight months at the grocery store, I applied for the job just to shut her up. I still wasn’t so sure I wanted to get back into CNA work (even though I had done it for the past ten years), and I was still waiting for God to direct me on what to do with my life. I submitted the application, knowing it was a complete waste of time, and never thought about it again.

Several weeks later THEY CALLED ME BACK FOR AN INTERVIEW!  In a whirlwind I was interviewed, hired, and oriented to the old floor I used to work on — I recognized God’s fingerprints all over this one! Not only did He restore the “bridges” I burned, but He also gave me the answer to my career question: I am absolutely supposed to continue as a CNA.

My first few days back on the job I was still trying to digest the fact that I was back working at the job I screwed up so many years before ! And God did me even better: This time around I was working “per diem”, which meant a higher wage, the ability to set my own schedule, and my choice of shift to work. Praise God!

Once the initial shock of being whirl-winded back into my old job wore off I realized how much it all made sense: It was a job I loved, and God knew that. But I had to leave it in order to get my family life back in order, and God knew THAT. And…even though I thought I was ready to go back to it years earlier, apparently God knew better than I did (no surprise!) and held me off from the job for seven years before giving it back to me. During that seven year period He guided me through the major issues: He taught me how to help my husband through his health issues (hubby has been successfully employed for some time now), He taught me how to use “tough love” to restore my son (who is now a responsible working married father), and, unbeknownst to me, God worked on the situation at my old job so that I wouldn’t have friction with my old co-workers.

And, once He decided that everything was the way it needed to be He restored me to that old job that I never wanted to leave in the first place!

Yes, even though my plan and my timing was seriously defective, God had His own plan that I simply did not see at the time.

Thank you God for pulling me through even when I didn’t know that You were doing it! Thank you for making me wait, even though I didn’t know what I was waiting for all that time. Thank you for not letting my impatience and reluctance stymie your perfect plan.

Lesson learned: God’s plan is always better than my plan….even when I don’t understand it at the time.


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