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Law of Gestation

Gestation refers to the development of something over time.  The most common usage of the word refers to a baby being carried in the womb between conception and birth.  But unborn babies are not the only things that develop over time.

Have you ever made a loaf of bread? When baking your own bread, how long does it take to go from having the idea to having warm, homemade goodness filling your mouth?  For me, it's a lot longer than just running to the store, but the results are so much better!  But before I can enjoy a warm slice of bread, there is a process that has to be completed.  First, I must gather the ingredients.  There is measuring, mixing, kneading, rising, shaping of loaves, and more rising before the bread can be baked, and then there is the time spent baking.  With each step, there is time involved, and each step furthers the development of my idea, helping it to become a fully-formed reality.

My kids also enjoy a yummy home-baked treat, but they don't always understand the process involved.  They just want to know why it isn't ready for them to eat yet.  (In all fairness, if they saw me in the process of making the bread, they would be able to be more patient.  But my process usually has to start by cleaning the kitchen so there is enough space begin baking in the first place. The need to start with a clean-ish kitchen is the part they don't understand yet! Still, it's all a part of gestation.)

The Law of Gestation states that for every idea, there is a specific and finite period of time required for the idea to become a fully-formed reality.  This is most easily understood in terms of the development of a baby, as mentioned before.  We know that it takes nine months for a human baby to fully form in it's mother's womb.  I've given birth to five babies, and I know from experience that it can be difficult to wait for nine full months, especially towards the swollen, uncomfortable end.  But the longer a baby can develop in it's mother's womb, up to the 40 necessary weeks for complete gestation, the better.  It is, under normal circumstances, the best way for baby to begin life.

Similarly, eating the developing bread before the process is complete is unsatisfying at best.  A raw piece of bread dough does not taste the same as a freshly baked slice of bread.  Neither does a fully baked loaf that was not given the appropriate rising time.  In order for the desired result, all of the stages of development have to take place, at the right time and in the right order, and for the proper duration.

Sometimes we, the goal-setters, are in charge of the development of an idea.  Someone who decides to run a marathon, for instance, must train to be able to successfully complete the race.  Neglecting that aspect of gestation will make running such a race miserable, if not downright dangerous. Other times, however, there are things we can do, and other things that we just have to trust will happen on their own, in the right time, as we keep our thoughts focused on our goal.  Whether in or out of our control, the gestation process must be allowed to run it's full course. 

Scripture Story:
Mosiah chapters 7-22

Zeniff was a man who was anxious to return to the land that his ancestors first occupied when they arrived from across the ocean.  They had been forced to flee due to enemy harassment by the Lamanites. Zeniff took a group with him, left his land of Zarahemla, and made an agreement with the Lamanites that he and his people could peacefully dwell within their ancestral land.

Everything went well for a while.  But before long there was conflict between the two groups.  At Zeniff's death, his son, Noah, became king.  Zeniff had been a good king, encouraging righteousness among his people.  Noah, not so much.  Things got even worse as the people stopped living correct principles, following the example of their king. The conflict with the Lamanites escalated, culminating with the Lamanites coming against Noah's people to battle.  Noah and his priests ran, abandoning their people.  Those who remained managed to persuade the Lamanites not to kill them. Instead, they were put in bondage.  Half of everything they owned they had to pay in tribute to the Lamanites.

That trial was a big one.  It was so unbearable that they went to battle against the Lamanites.  Three times.  Each time, they were badly beaten.  They no longer had the physical strength or man-power to try and fight their way out.  It was at this point that they turned back to the righteous principles they had abandoned, and called upon God for help.
And they did humble themselves even to the dust, subjecting themselves to the yoke of bondage, submitting themselves to be smitten, and to be driven to and fro, and burdened, according to the desires of their enemies.
And they did humble themselves even in the depths of humility; and they did cry mightily to God; yea, even all the day long did they cry unto their God that he would deliver them out of their afflictions.
And now the Lord was slow to hear their cry because of their iniquities; nevertheless the Lord did hear their cries, and began to soften the hearts of the Lamanites that they began to ease their burden; yet the Lord did not see fit to deliver them out of bondage. (Mosiah 21:13-15)
After a while, the new king, Limhi (Noah's son), was outside the walls of the city when he came upon a group of men, led by a man named Ammon.  Limhi had them bound and taken in for questioning. Come to find out that these men had been sent from Zarahemla to find Limhi and his people. Limhi realized that this was an answer to his people's prayers.  With Ammon's help, they were able to come up with a plan and escape back to Zarahemla and out of bondage.

It's not often that we get a scriptural story from two perspectives, but this one we do.  While Limhi and his people were suffering in bondage, the people of Zarahemla started pestering their king, Mosiah. They wanted to know what had happened to Zeniff's people.  Why had they never heard from them again? Mosiah sent Ammon out with a group of strong men to try and find Zeniff/Noah/Limhi's people.  It took them a while, but find them they did, and brought the whole group back to Zarahemla.

The record states that the Lord was slow to hear the cries of the people of Limhi.  I don't dispute the record.  But is it possible that the Lord answered the prayer right away, in the form of inspiring the people of Zarahemla to ask their king about these long-lost travelers?  There is not a precise timeline given for these experiences, but perhaps the answer that Limhi's people so desperately prayed for did start in process right away.  It just had to go through specific stages of development before Limhi's people could experience their desired reality: freedom from bondage. In the mean time, while the people waited for deliverance, the Lord eased their burdens.  He knew it would take time for their dream to be realized.  He knew that they would not be able to see what was already in process to help them become free.  He also knew they needed help right away.  So he provided a softening of the Lamanites' hearts, resulting in an easier burden to bear.

The Law of Gestation is the principle of patience.  It is the principle of enduring to the end, the end being the realization of a particular goal.  The runner who begins a race knows that the finish line is drawing closer with every step, even if it is not yet in sight.  Sometimes, for unforeseen reasons, the race takes a lot longer than was anticipated.  That doesn't mean that the finish line has moved or that the race is longer.  The key in such a situation is to focus on the desired end, and to just keep going. The runner who endures to the end is the one who keeps putting one foot in front of the other.

For Kids:

Activity #1
Bake bread together.  Pay special attention to the parts of the process that take inactive time--proofing the yeast, allowing the bread to rise, and baking.  Watch for the changes that take place during those inactive prep periods.  If you need a bread recipe, try this one:
My Favorite White Bread Recipe by the Brown Eyed Baker

Activity #2
Plant some seeds and watch them germinate.  If you choose to plant in a garden, radishes and lettuce are both fast-sprouting and quick from seed to harvest.  Talk about what is happening underground--the stuff that is happening to the seed when it looks (from above ground) like nothing is going on.

As an alternative, you can sprout wheat seeds.  This will show kids what is happening to seeds that are planted, before their sprouts are visible above the ground.

Soak some wheat berries in water overnight.  In the morning, drain and rinse them a couple of times. Rinse every 8 to 12 hours for 1-2 days.  You will begin to see the seeds swell, then sprout little tails.
These sprouted wheat seeds can be eaten, or you can spread them onto a baking sheet covered with dampened paper towels.  Keep the seeds dampened by spraying them with a spray bottle of water. (Alternatively, you can plant them in a shallow dish of soil.)  It only takes a few days for the wheatgrass to grow.  Wheatgrass can be juiced for consumption, or it can be used as a fun springtime decoration.  (I have sometimes grown Easter grass in my kids' Easter baskets a couple of weeks before the holiday).  Check out these tutorials to help.




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