Inviting Laughter and God to Dinner

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

Patience. It can be one of the hardest virtues to act out in one’s life, especially when it comes to children. I used to believe I was not one who possessed much in the way of this patience mess, and there are many days I am still quick to get angry, and not so quick to check my frazzled mommy emotions at the door.

Then, God sent Hunter. My true test of patience. A test I often fail, but a trial I have learned I can endure with His strength.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:13

Even enjoy a disastrous family dinner out! I am sure most families with children have experienced an awful dinner experience once in a while. Dinner time is to be a cherished time, one with meaningful conversation, a time to connect with your children and spouse. Dinner out with a sensory overloaded child is no exception. It is another test of already frazzled parents’ patience, and another hurdle for an overly sensitive child.

Inviting God to dinner begins with the van on the way, because “It’s taking too long,” or “It’s too far away,” or because he of course is hungry NOW. God, please give me patience to handle my child’s impatience…so begins the call to be faithful in prayer.

Inviting God to dinner starts before the meal arrives, before we even enter the restaurant, as Hunter’s new obsession with opening and closing doors can consume a good 5-10 minutes of precious time. God, please give me patience to deal with this new phase in his life… faithful in prayer.

When every demand from this tiny child’s mouth is 20 times more dramatic and loud than it should be….

When the hunger that must be satisfied NOW leads to kicking feet and scooting chairs…

When he starts running around tables declaring he’s a rock star and other non-coherant chatter…

When it feels like your child will not learn to ever display an ounce of social grace and you want the floor to open up and swallow you…

….be patient in affliction.

Or when trying to convince him that the ice cream in the store is just like the kind he eats at grandma’s house, even if it isn’t in the same package….

or when for the 15th time that afternoon, he is hungry again…NOW, because when we get home just won’t do…

be patient in affliction.

I will show you and teach you in the way you should go. I will tell you what to do with My eye upon you. Psalm 32:8

In those moments when my patience has worn thin, I remember God’s call to be joyful in hope. Sometimes that joy means diverting a child’s attention, ignoring the stares from the people around you, and the need to criticize yourself as a parent, and choosing joy.

Joy in a game of parking lot Simon Says all to divert my child’s attention from his over-sensitive belly growling, or enjoying a child’s ability to laugh at himself in his less than glorious moments. And, if anyone has been so blessed to hear this child’s laugh, well, it is quite contagious. Certainly, if we invite God to dinner, we allow him to let laughter and joy help us overcome our dinner time afflictions, and teach us a little more about this patience mess.

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