When it comes to the virtue of patience, I am pathetically deficient. No time is this ugly flaw more apparent than where I am now, in the last couple of weeks of pregnancy. As far as waiting goes, I don’t even have it as hard as most women. I’ve had to have C-sections with all of my babies, which is a pain in a lot of ways, but there is a redeeming quality in that I do know when the baby will be born. Still, I find myself wishing away these last couple weeks. I can only imagine how whiny I would be if I had to go over my due date!
I should sit back and enjoy these last few weeks of (relative) normalcy and (relative) full nights of sleep, right? Easier said than done. What’s worse is that I know in a few weeks I’ll be right back in the same boat, wishing away those first couple of months of sleepless nights and chaos so we can get back into a family routine.
We’ve all been through seasons of waiting, whether for love, a child, a career change, or any other answered prayer. The season of Lent is in essence a waiting period. We wait for the joy of Easter, and we imitate Jesus fasting and praying in the dessert while He waited to fulfill his mission.
So, I decided I should buckle down and use this season to work on strengthening my patience. Here are a few ideas I came up with for how to get through a waiting season:
1. Use the time for preparation
Jesus’s forty-day fast prepared him for his mission. Likewise, when we find ourselves in seasons of waiting, we should try to use the time to prepare ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. Since the nesting instinct hasn’t kicked in yet, there are plenty of tasks I still need to check off my to-do list before this baby comes. Time to kick my butt in gear!
Regardless of whether you’re waiting for a tangible event like a baby’s arrival or a more abstract answered prayer, you can use the meantime to prepare yourself for the coming changes.
2. Find the balance of discipline and self-indulgence
I must admit, left to my own devices I’d gladly wallow in my impatience. I’d love to curl up on my couch, queue up a Netflix binge, and eat a box of Girl Scout cookies. Fortunately a job and kids keep me from that luxury, because I know I would be left feeling like a spoiled, yucky-tummy zombie.
We certainly should give ourselves a little grace in these times, but to avoid turning into a spineless heap of mush, I’ve found it best to dole out the treats sparingly. Eating my fruits and veggies, focusing at work, and staying consistent in parenting all seem to help keep me in a better state of mind.
3. Pray to the Holy Spirit
Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, after all. “Ask and it shall be given unto you.” Pray for the Holy Spirit to strengthen your patience and avail yourself of the sacraments.
4. Count your blessings
Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude. It’s the cornerstone of positive psychology. In an instant, we can reframe our day and adjust our attitude just by calling to mind a few of our blessings. Rather than griping about my late pregnancy aches and pains, I should be thankful that I’m able to conceive and carry a baby to full-term. I should relish the moments to focus on my older children. Louisa, my oldest, nearly broke my heart the other day when she told three-year-old Victor, “You should sit on Mommy’s lap now, because she won’t be able to hold you when the new baby comes.” What a great reminder to pay attention to my present blessings!
5. Pray for others
In a time when I’m hyper focused on my own body—Was that a contraction? Is the baby moving enough?—it helps to shift my perspective outward. I pray and offer up my suffering for those with fertility concerns, crisis pregnancies, pregnancy complications, or ill children.
I’m hoping that by reminding myself of these tips, I can get through the next couple of weeks (and the chaotic months after that) with peace and grace.
What ways have you been able to cultivate patience?
Copyright 2018 Kayla Knaack