“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
We’re on the cusp of Advent. One of my favorite times of year to reflect on the gifts that pregnancy has brought into my life.
Now that I have been pregnant for three of the past five Decembers (!), Advent has become a sacred season for me to remember the days we found out. Advent also reminds me how my understanding of Mary has changed through the experience of expecting a baby.
But this year, the beginning of Advent offers a perfect pause to share these last two prayers for pregnancy and mediate on the place of gentleness and self-control in the life of faith. Not only when we await the birth of a child, but when we are trying to care for ourselves in the midst of all that life demands of us.
We don’t often hear a good word preached about gentleness or self-control. But Paul reminds us that they are fruits of the Spirit and proof of the presence of the Holy One.
I feel tugged towards both of these gifts this year, when the wider world feels harsh and violent, and my own world feels wildly unbalanced with all that I am juggling.
As we pass from a week of gratitude and thanksgiving into the snowy slide towards Christmas, I find myself leaning into Advent’s invitation more than ever. To set aside anxieties of “how will we get it all done?” and to pick up the peace that what can be done, will be done.
God will take care of the rest.
I pray for you this week, too. That the Spirit’s calm may quiet your heart as we take the first steps towards Advent’s gentle work of preparation.
. . .
Month 8: A Prayer for Gentleness
God of gentleness,
Help me to be gentle with myself
As I carry this child.
Let me tread lightly on my emotions,
My worries and fears
About birth and motherhood,
Knowing that you prepare me
To do this work.
When the days grow long
And the nights grow restless,
Remind me to care for myself
As I will care for my child:
With gentleness, love,
As my body begins to practice
To birth my baby,
Guide me through each contraction
With the peace of your presence,
Softly opening my heart and mind.
In gentleness I pray,
Month 9: A Prayer for Self-control
God of self-control,
The final weeks
Of this long journey
Have finally arrived.
Soon the day will dawn
When I will meet my child
And a new world will begin
For both of us.
Help me to prepare myself,
Mind, body, and soul,
For the work of labor
And the wonder of birth.
Teach me to channel and control
The strength of my own self
To offer myself in sacrifice
For the child of my heart.
Let me gather my courage around me –
The power in my bones
And the peace in my heart –
To do the work of love
That a mother is called to do,
The work that you created me to do.
In self-control I pray,
© 2014 Laura Kelly Fanucci
Prayers for all 9 months of pregnancy can be found here at the end of this series.
Please consider passing them along to an expectant mother who could use them!