Pregnancy lasts about nine months. For some women, the time flies. Before they know it, the baby arrives and life moves on. That was my friend Susan. For others, every day is a 24 hour marathon to get through until the next day arrives. Gestation seems like an endurance test of endless waiting. Nine months? An eternity. That would be me. I remember thinking forward to the moment of meeting this little person, with "I wonder if," or "Maybe they'll be like this..." or "Is it a boy or girl?" (Medical professionals wouldn't reveal a baby's gender 20-30 years ago in Canada. They feared abortions by ethnic groups who valued one gender over the other.)
You'd think patience could be learned. If it could be forced upon us, I might have become the most patient person in the world after four successful births. Yet even now, waiting for a chore to be finished (especially if it's someone else's chore) can be difficult. Arranging an outing at a certain time with a friend, ringing the bell to find she's just starting to put on her makeup, gets my toes tapping. Not being able to move forward because there's a procrastinator holding up a process produces inner sighs and groans.
I've learned to tolerate some delays by diverting my attention to things unrelated to the goal. Often it's most valuable to remind myself that God is never late in answering prayers or directing our paths. Externally, I even look patient sometimes.
Today, our small group of women discussed what we'd like to achieve in the next year of life and ministry. One of the ladies prayed, "God, help me to live each moment with you, fully present, neither yearning for the past nor the future."
My heart agreed. Ah, now that would be abundant living. One week, one day, even one moment, at a time.
*Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits--who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. Psalm 103:1-5 NIV
*The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. Jeremiah 31:3-4 NIV
*Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:6-11 NIV