The Practice of Grateful Patience

Micah Pederson by Micah Pederson Additional Needs

Micah Pederson

Micah Pederson

I am a mom to two children biologically and many children through foster care. My husband and I have been married three years. Our foster home is a...

I’ve never been very good at patience. I hate to wait and when I am forced to wait for something, my mind tends to be consumed in the process by excitement, what-ifs, anxiety or any number of other thoughts and feelings.

I’ve spent the last four years being a mom full-time to a houseful of children with disabilities and I can—without a doubt--say that additional-need parenting is chalk-full of opportunities to practice my patience. It seems as if my family is always waiting for something. Some of those things are positive--things we anticipate making the lives our children more fun, more accessible, or more comfortable.

It is hard to wait for things like new wheelchairs, new adaptive toys, new equipment, or new therapies. We usually have quite a process to go through for both little and big things. We often have to document and collect data about our children’s needs, petition and maybe appeal the insurance process, collect notes from doctors/therapists and then await appointments for fitting, matching, etc. before we ever get to the part where we are simply waiting for whatever it is to arrive. These times of waiting are paved with excitement and visions of fun and accessibility for the future, causing me to wish the wait time would end.

But then there is a different kind of wait…the waits that make my heart pound and my stomach churn.

Sometimes, it seems we have run out of options to manage pain or better the prognosis  for our children and so we wait for yet another referral to a specialist who may do nothing more than pass us on to the next phase of waiting to see yet another specialist who may or may not be able to assist. These waits between appointments and new referrals can last for agonizing weeks or even months. But then again, even the shorter waits can seem like a lifetime.

Recently we received a phone call: “The results of the tests are in. The doctor wants to see you in person to deliver the results though. Can you come in at the end of the week?” The wait was a measly five days and yet it felt like eternity. If I let my guard down, questions whirled and what ifs stormed my brain, threatening the stability of my foundation of faith and hope. After results are received, we wait for a plan. We wait for another referral, another treatment, another option. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

In one way or another, the waiting within this beautifully mess life of mine will never end.

Quite simply, it comes with the territory. While I would never choose to have my patience tested in the way it is daily, I have an incredible opportunity to make the waiting worthwhile.  I want to be an example to my children of all the life and love that takes place in every moment of every day. Over time, I realized that I don’t want the anxiety, anticipation, or even the excitement of what is to come to rob me and my family of the here and now.

Therefore, I have committed to make the most of these waiting times by lassoing in my thoughts and emotions and fixing them on the precious things that are right in front of me. I am learning to be thankful for the lessons I learn about trusting God, advocating, fighting the good fight, and delayed gratification. There are so, so many lessons and opportunities I would miss out if we never had to wait. The waiting isn’t easy but, in one way or another, it is always worth it and always brimming with opportunity to learn and grow in patience—patience that is certainly worth being grateful for.

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