Forbearance in Abundance – CMN Women

tim-foster-1187997-unsplash.jpg

Forbearance in Abundance

by Priscilla Perumalla
 

I was looking at the definition for the word “forbear,” and I came across this explanation:

“Someone who is forbearing behaves in a calm and sensible way at a time when they would have a right to be very upset or angry. Another definition is to be patient or self-controlled when subject to annoyance or provocation.”

If you knew the story of my childhood, you would think this season of my life should be a piece of cake. It’s as if “forbear” should be my middle name! I survived a tumultuous home, unstable and full of minefields to navigate. Not only I have I survived, but relationships have remained intact. God has redeemed and healed. People have always asked and wondered why I was not more angry.

Then comes motherhood. I have these beautiful gifts from God that depend on me and trust me wholeheartedly. Yet, an unwanted shriek or an uncleaned room can obliterate my patience and sensibility. My ability to forgive and not look back with adults seems to be inapplicable at times to my own children, who have yet to learn the self-control of an adult. As I think on these things, I am left with one question: Why?

I think in this season of church planting, a season where we give so much yet so much is beyond our control, it’s easy to fill that desire for control in other areas. Unfortunately, that usually means trying to control those closest to us - our children.

I can’t control the amount of people that walk through those doors on Sunday morning – even though I witness to and invite to church anyone that simply gives me eye contact! I can’t control whether or not our volunteers show up. I can’t control much of anything except the effort that I put in and the faith that I have in Jesus that he will take care of the rest. But, for some reason, I have developed this illusion that I can control my kids.

Proverbs 22:6 says:

“Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Controlling does not yield the same results as training and teaching does. It might look like it at the surface, but brewing deep in the heart is anger and resentment. I spend a good amount of time training and teaching the Word to those that have been entrusted to us as pastors, however I sometimes forget that my kids need and crave that same teaching and training.

My patience seems spent working and waiting for church growth. So much so, that it seems like it runs short for my kiddos and their abundance of questions. I have discovered that loving my children well requires a daily surrender of my lack, my insecurities, my fears, and my exhaustion to our loving Father. It's so easy to forget that surrender is healing, and that it eases my emotions and steadies my soul.

Matthew 11:28-30 says:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

We need what Jesus said he would give us. Our kids and our family need us to have what Jesus said he would give us. Our kids get a front row seat to God’s great love moving through us to reach His people. Protecting their perspective of that experience is imperative. So, my goal for myself this year, and my prayer for you, is that we would have forbearance in abundance for those closest to us. That it wouldn’t be spent completely on ministry, but instead we would allow ourselves to rest in Jesus, so that we can still give our best to those that need us most.


Priscilla Perumalla and her husband, Stephen, live in New York City, where they planted The Grace Place Church in 2016. They reside in West Harlem with their two children, Boston and Aviah.