God has slowly increased Ricky's load of responsibility over the years instead of just throwing him into the deep end and shouting swim! And this patient way of dealing with Ricky really works for him. Ricky has transformed from the boy I married into a much more responsible, diligent, and mature man (while keeping all of his other good traits) ;)
Here's an overview, without the details, of what I'm talking about --
Married, lived with in-laws: learned to take care of wife in wheelchair, and to cook. 10 months later got a job: add on learning to work full-time. 13 months later, got pregnant and started schooling at night: learned court reporting (this was when I learned how to stay home and take care of myself). 9 months later: yep, learned to take care of baby. 14 months later, moved out of in-laws home into own condo: learned to take care of home (but nearby family if need help). 5 months later, moved to another city: learned how to be, well, on our own (which, for us, means relying on our Christian brethren; but, we think that interdependence on the Church Body is good and how it ought to be.) 4 months later, baby #2: learned to be stretched thin!A little bit more... a little more... more... voila!
Of course this is not what God always does for everyone! He does what He knows is best for each person. I have had several cold turkey experiences that were just what I needed.
Now, let me take this one more step but a different direction.
I've also noticed over the years how God will slowly bring out different struggles of mine a little at a time. So, I don't get too overwhelmed all at once but can work out that struggle with God's help, His Spirit. And then, another one will be brought to light. The funny thing is that they are often problems I didn't even know I had! It really is like layers of an onion. God is dealing with one at a time and then peels it away to reveal the next one (that I didn't know about until the revealing). God's tenderness with me has really exemplified his loving-kindness towards me. Soft and sweet.