Without going into detail, The Lord has increasingly tested my patience through various life circumstances that have been increasing in trial. I think He purposely does this because each challenge seemed too big at the time, but each one helped prepare me for the next. If some of the challenges we've had to face as a couple/family had been told to me years before, I never would have believed we could make it, but through the gradual testing/reshaping of His infinite wisdom, I have learned to look at each new situation and say, "Ok, I don't know how this is going to work out--just that it will. I'm going to try to pay attention, learn, and respond the best I can until we get through this."
I do not mean to imply I am in any way 'spiritually mature' or somehow immune to worry. I was one of the world's biggest worriers as a teenager. I remember worrying about things that hadn't happened--or even had indications that they would happen! Maybe that's why God has chosen to give me the trials He has. To teach me not to worry about the next day. It certainly is a big difference between the girl who used to worry about things that, if they even happened, wouldn't happen for many years into the future and the woman (it feels really strange to call myself a 'woman' even though I suppose I must be one by now) who has felt little worry about our future even though I just resigned from my job to stay home with my children, effectively cutting our income in half. Don't get me wrong, there is a small amount of anxiousness nagging at the back of my mind, but I have the very 'blessed assurance' that God will take care of it, especially considering that this is something we prayed long and hard about and felt He was leading us to do. That being said, we have followed him wholeheartedly into life adventures before and come away from the situation completely opposite of what we thought would happen and wondering what happened (but still believing that He had a plan in all of it and that it was for our good).
Back to the patience, though. I have struggled with being 'too patient.' Can you really be too patient? I don't know if I believe you really can. I think the reason people have told me I was being too patient is that I tend to not speak up when others would. I am very non-confrontational. This made it hard for me in the classroom environment at times when I would deal with student discipline. Although it is easier to be authoritative with children than adults for me, it was still a struggle at times. Especially when your thoughts are, Ok, I can address this behavior in a head-on, authoritative way and get another all-out tantrum from this kid and end up with them being dragged to the office (again) and disrupt my entire day with the rest of the class (again) OR I can ignore it/try to address it in a smaller way and pray it stops soon enough to avoid further distraction.
I also know some people probably wouldn't stay silent with their husbands during arguments/discussions, especially when they say things that are completely irrational, etc. Luckily for me, God has taught me that my husband, loving as he may be, will say totally dumb things when he is angry. Things that don't even make sense when he says them. (I think we all have the tendency to do this when we are angry, but since I am so non-confrontational, I don't do it as much. It's not because I am super spiritual--I just keep my thoughts inside. And trust me, I have plenty of thoughts, ha!) I have learned that instead of pointing this out, if I remain quiet and listen patiently while he vents, he will eventually realize the error of what he said on his own and 99% of the time he comes back to me when he is calmer to apologize and have a more relevant discussion.
Now, my husband is by no means a hot-head, argumentative person. We have a great, loving relationship and get along great almost all the time. I have just learned from others' reactions that they would have said something to certain things, but like I said, we always come to better terms once we are both calm. :) I have also learned not to discuss our arguments (something that I figured out pretty early in marriage through some trial and error). It's hard when you are newly married not to get caught in the 'venting parties' that can sometimes happen between women when one of them mentions something their husband did--next thing you know, you're all comparing stories of how your husbands have disappointed or offended you. While this seems okay at first and you are wanting to share some of your frustrations too, I have learned that this only made me mad all over again or more irritated! I still struggle with keeping my mouth shut when someone tells a funny story of something 'dumb' their husband did, because I know that my 'funny' story can very easily turn into 'bashing' and I wouldn't want him talking about me in that way, now would I? (Not that us wives ever make mistakes, though... ;) )
Anyway--the reason I'm thinking of patience today is this: Eliana was 'due' Monday. I use the term 'due' loosely, since a due date can technically go 2 weeks either way. When I was waiting to see when Ezra would be born, I tried not to think of his due date as the day he was coming so that I wouldn't be disappointed if he came past it. It was still hard when he did, especially since people had continually told me there was 'no way' I would carry him past Halloween (he was due November 1 and came the 10th). Just because I look like I'm going to 'pop' at any moment doesn't mean I am, apparently. ;)
We went to see our midwife, Tuesday. I wanted to know what the 'game plan' was if Ellie continues to hang out in my belly quarters. If I haven't given birth by next Tuesday, we will try stripping my membranes (this is what we did with Ezra and he was born less than 24 hours later, so I have a lot of hope in this method if we need it). If she doesn't come soon after that we will, in the words of the midwife, "get mean." In other words, try some natural induction methods that aren't quite as 'nice' as power walking, stripping membranes, or taking herbs. As for herbs, she gave me several to try to get my body into birth mode. Evening primrose oil--2 by mouth, 1 by--well you figure it out, and some black and blue cohosh tablets that I can take every 15 minutes if I want to. I guess I was in the mindset of "induction=pain," but that was thinking of artificial/chemical/hospital induction. Anyway, I said something along the lines of, "Well, I don't want to make her come earlier than she needs to." Our midwife and Josh both looked at me like I was crazy and the midwife said, "You are aware she was due yesterday, right?" Oh yeah. I forgot for a second--oops! Her apprentice said, "I think she's the only woman I've ever heard not want the baby out when they're overdue!" I said something like, "Well, I'm just now getting to finish up preparing and stuff!"
Here's the thing. When I was pregnant with Ezra, I wasn't working full time and chasing a toddler afterwards. This time around, I haven't felt like I could just take time to focus on and enjoy my pregnancy. It didn't help that I was much sicker during the first trimester, either. Add in an enormous amount of stress at work and home (God started telling me He wanted me to stay home a few months into this pregnancy and it seemed like an insurmountable thing at first), and I just haven't had much time left to revel in my pregnant estate--and I am typically a very happy pregnant person! I've felt like this time around, I never had the time or energy to exercise and I was never getting enough done at work or home.(Hello--I ended up overdoing things at work and went into false labor--remember?)
Since staying home on the last day of school (something I'm still struggling not to feel guilty about), I've been slowly regaining my health and sanity. Walking in the mornings, exercising additionally if I get a chance (prenatal yoga or Wii Fit), eating better and snacking when I need to, keeping caught up on laundry and dishes--I cannot possibly express my joy at seeing an empty hamper and sink for once, and spending some much needed time with my little man before baby girl comes. I've also been able to put some finishing touches on El's room and get some major blogging done--3 posts in 2 days is pretty impressive for me, even if I've had one of them typed up for a while and was just waiting for pictures to be added.
All in all, I feel like this is the best time I've had all pregnancy. Plus, I know how out of shape I've gotten and want to be as fit as possible when it's time to get this baby here! Labor is so called for a definite reason, and if you want to go natural, you need to be as prepared as possible, which I know full well!
For now, I'm going to keep taking the herbs (no noticeable changes yet, although I may have felt some contractions since taking the cohosh), sitting on my yoga ball (prepping that pelvis, ha), doing 200 pelvic rocks per day (both the ball and the rocks are supposed to help Eliana get into a good birthing position), power walking in the mornings and afternoons, and praying for continued patience. I have to admit, waking up each morning to see a birth tub set up next to your bed can start to get to you a bit when you are eager to hold this snuggly little blessing as soon as you can! I'm enjoying the contentment of knowing Eliana will come on her birthday--which she and God already know--and soaking in these last moments of Ezra's life as an only child (prayers are so very appreciated for him as we make the upcoming transition).
Well, I'm off to take some herbs and motivate Ezra to eat the last of his cereal so we can go outside. I power walk in the end of our cul-de-sac while he rides his four wheeler or bike, draws with chalk on the driveway, or plays in his cardboard box 'house' (there really is no better toy than a cardboard box, I promise you).
Patiently, not perfectly, waiting,