(Written by Kimberly Allen)
A few weeks ago I was 9+ months pregnant and felt like I had a bowling ball between my legs.
Been there? 😉
My progress in this pregnancy made me think that I was about to have a baby “any minute” for weeks. Weeks, people.
Expectations can really make life a drag when set high. My expectations led me to some serious impatience.
Every morning those last couple of weeks, I woke up in bed – still pregnant – and nearly burst into tears. It’s uncomfortable, exhausting, and my 2 year old was becoming more difficult what seemed like every second. One day, I was so over it I barely spoke to anyone all day because, in my mind, I should have already had this baby in my arms.
Yet there she was, under my skin, kicking my ribs and she was never coming out!
Eventually, I realized I better change my attitude or I was setting myself up for even more difficult days ahead, because all of us mommas know giving birth ain’t the hard part. When that precious bundle arrives the first thing they do is scream at the top of their lungs and keep you up all night long because they need you (and you alone) for like….months. (Years. Decades. Forever….)
So, I decided that each morning I woke up still pregnant, I would be thankful to God for another night of sleep. (See how wise and spiritual I am?? *wink*) And each day, I would do something special for or with my toddler to soak in those last few moments with my singleton.
And guess what? It really helped.
It’s the age old process of learning patience. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit, which means that if we live in the Spirit of Christ He will grow this into our character.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23.
But why do I keep having to learn it?!?
The nurse in me begs the question: Can’t you just take a course and get a certificate that says God already taught you patience and you can conjure it up when needed??
Like all things of God, we must choose every day whom we will serve. Ourselves or God?
Luke 9:23 says “Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.’”
We have to choose patience daily and the only way to do that is to be in step with the Spirit. Because practice makes perfect, right?
In some Bible translations the word patience is changed to endurance or long-suffering. Here is one definition of endurance:
the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions; stamina.
I find this very interesting because it implies patience requires inner strength, durability, and seeing the big picture in the midst of a current adversity. This is a major mindset change from seeing patience as simply “waiting” or even “waiting without complaining.”
You see, I can pretend not to be frustrated during difficult times, stifling my anger and plastering a smile on my face and calling it patience. But it’s not the same.
Patience isn’t just a quality of my grandma or mild-mannered types. It represents an inner strength during stressful times, knowing that God alone is in control of our circumstances. Allowing God to erase my expectations and timetables and literally changing my heart to endure through a hard time is empowering and fulfilling!
I want THAT kind of patience. Forget simply waiting, I want to seek joy in the difficulties so that my soul cultivates patience for whatever life brings my way.
My baby girl has (finally!) arrived and I feel so relieved that the uncomfortableness of pregnancy is over and I get to see her sweet face. Now, new and different difficulties test my patience. Like juggling a crying newborn, a busy toddler and a crazy dog with only a couple hours of sleep.
But I know I can do it well, with patience, if I give my will and my plan over to the Lord each morning and receive his strength and grace to endure.
*Photos by Southern Style Photography