One of the Mary challenges last week involved thinking about a time when God refined my character through trials. I could probably think of a lot of instances, but the most recent helpful one I have is my pregnancy.
I didn't have a super-hard or super-easy pregnancy. I know plenty of women who have a more difficult time than I did, especially in the first trimester. I constantly felt sick, but it was not as debilitating as it certainly could have been -- and I was blessed to be able to work part-time and/or from home during that time of morning sickness. It was the third trimester that was the most difficult (and longest) for me. I had constant, painful heartburn, and after about 34 weeks, I experienced relentless hip and leg pain due to the weight and position of the baby. When I got up in the night, I could barely hobble. Husband was gone on business anywhere from 2-5 days each week, but on nights that he was home, he spent a lot of time helping me with massage and relaxation techniques.
Although I was getting miserable, I was in no hurry to have my baby. I had gone through Bradley classes and was prepared to wait for my baby to trigger labor -- there was no way I was going to induce unless I had to. And HOW I got asked about that! I had never told anyone my actual "due date," but people everywhere knew approximately (early/mid-December) when I expected to have my baby in my arms, and many of them expected that I would be taking matters into my own hands. But Husband and I just continued to pray for Eric's health and healthy delivery, and we waited.
At one point, my mother made the comment that I was the most patient pregnant woman she'd ever known, and I was taken aback. I'm not patient by nature. And I didn't think of my pregnancy that way. I was just trying to do what was best for my baby, and I was trying hard not to complain about my discomfort because 1) it didn't do any good and 2) I was practicing the methods taught in my Bradley classes to relax and manage pain.
I was almost 43 weeks pregnant when Husband and I made the decision, based on several baby health/safety factors presented to us by our midwife, to be induced.
And so, after 29 years, I finally developed the Fruit of the Spirit that largely eluded me most of my life. I'm not always patient; there are still plenty of times when I am in a hurry or loathe the necessity of waiting. But when it counts, I find the stores hidden in my heart, planted there when I was waiting so long for my beautiful baby boy.