Thursday, July 28, 2011

God Can Use Anyone

So needless to say, if you've been following the last few posts on this blog you know we've been experiencing a high-maintenance parenting season.  A lot of uncertainty, a lot of prayer, a lot of frustration and spinning of wheels.  I feel the whole two steps forward, one step back thing is reversed in this situation - it seems we back peddle more than we move ahead.

But as God most usually does, right when you think you are doing everything wrong and only clouds are overhead, He reaches down and lifts you up in an unexpected way.

Isaiah has been a challenge:  he's getting a kind of pre-pubescent, eye-rolling attitude toward everything I say as well as all the other uncharted waters already mentioned, and all of that combined makes me seriously feel like I am sinking.  Nothing I say seems to sink in; nothing I do seems to help the situation.  I'm at a loss... to a degree.  But through this (as through most any trial) I crave my time in the Word and I cry out for help, a lot.  But recently, I've felt more uncertain than confident.

Then there came Huston.  Huston is a sweet and simple kind of guy.  He is seven and often a follower of whatever the friend or brother wants to do.  He's a laid back bundle of cuddly sweetness and wants to please those he's around (which can be good and bad, but that's another story).  Anyway, he doesn't usually draw.  He will sometimes create a picture when Avery decides to do so, but today he started drawing all his own.  And he very proudly showed up at the chair in which I was working, and presented me with a picture that he thought to make for me... and here is what he drew...

It may be kinda hard to see, but it's multiple pictures of me.  I'm laying down in bed, standing up, sitting at the dinner table and walking on the street (top part)... and in each picture, I have a thought bubble of a cross.  I asked him what this was and he told me that he made this picture because "no matter what you do, you think about God."  Now, not only was that totally sweet of him to say, but his picture blew my mind and I immediately had to read to him Deuteronomy 6:4-7:

"Hear, O Israel:  The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  Love the LORD you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them upon your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

When I read those word to Huston and pointed to each picture he drew as I read that last verse, his eyes became like saucers.  Yep, He ended up blessing both of us this morning through the simple drawing of a cute little seven year old. 

So yeah, I feel like everything is going to be ok - maybe not easy, maybe not simple - but I feel like God took a moment to tell me that I'm on the right track.  And boy did I need that!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When Life Gives Ya Lemons...

What are you supposed to do with them again?  I've seemed to have lost my lemonade recipe, I guess.

Isaiah seems to be getting better at times.  But just today he was invited to a friend's house, a very good friend that he has visited many times before in the "I can't get away from mom fast enough" fashion and he is currently a puddle of anxious tears in his room because he "just can't do it."

Seriously?  You can't go 3 miles away to your good friends house (who loves you and encourages you) and eat ice cream and have a water/nerf gun fight for a few hours and then return home?  This is just wrong.  And today I'm having very little patience in dealing with it.  I'm pretty much at the "just shake the boy by the shoulders and make him snap out of it" stage.

And this event came after a full morning of just trying to get him to see how negative and defeatist he is with every attitude toward work and attempting new things.  Hearing "I can't, I need help, I give up and you won't help me" come from his pouty mouth is all wearing very, very thin.  I totally spent over two hours in what feels like hand to hand combat, finally getting him to see a glimpse of the proper perspective and then the friend's invite becomes known and he quickly melts into a puddle of tears again.  And all I want to do is scream.

How do you make lemonade out of this mess?  I'm trying and I have rather good and well-tested strategies, but I am still failing for now.  And yes, I realize that I'm probably growing within him fruit that will produce later... but I'm just tired of lemons.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Goodbye to GG

but just for awhile.

GG went home on Monday morning.  And when I say home, I mean the true eternal home prepared by Christ himself.  She left us peacefully and she will not be suffering anymore - that darn ol' temporal body just wasn't very nice to her in the end.

We now must go about trying to figure out life without her, and our hope is knowing that there will be one day when that won't be an issue any longer.

But until then we'll be muddling our way through.  Today was the funeral; we laid her to rest, and now I hope to help my oldest boy lay his worries to rest as well.  It will be a process and prayers would be appreciated.  It's a process for all of us.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Need Some Encouragement

Yeah I know.  I promised you another installment of my baseball summer.  But things took a little turn and baseball once again doesn't seem as important anymore.

Lots of personal uncharted parenting waters have been occurring around these parts.  And the title of this blog post could either be read as a question or a statement.  Do you need encouragement?  And yes, as a matter of fact I do.

On the way into work today I listened to two preaching radio shows talking about sitting and listening.  I often ask my kids to sit down and listen, but how often do I do that?  Usually that requires quiet and it feels like I just don't have the luxury of quiet anymore.  Parenthood will do that to ya.  But the overall theme of the messages were to stop talking, sit down before the Lord and just listen.  I needed to hear that.

You see, here is a small part of what has been happening lately. (and I say "small" as in, one of many parts, not as in scale)  My grandmother is dying.  This is GG (her self-chosen moniker - short for Great-Grandma)... she's the only grandmother I've really known and the one that has lived here in town with us for almost 8 years - and the past 5-6 of those 8 years she's lived with my parents.  She's watched my kids, taught them to play cards (Skip-Bo people, not Poker :) and all-in-all just has been a consistent part of my kids' lives.  That's such a blessing.  But watching her slip away from us has really taken a toll and I've never had to manage my own grief while also helping my youngins manage theirs.  One of those hard parenting roads you don't think about when you sign up for the job.  She has lots of complicated health issues that is weakening her 82 year old body - but the lung cancer that she's chosen not to treat will take her from us soon.  Hard stuff.

And Isaiah is showing the most wear through all of this.  He's having anxiety attacks.  About pretty much everything.  Sunday school, going to friends houses, church camp, birthday parties.  The stuff he used to look forward to - get excited about - now ties him up in knots and troubles his mind.  A friend of mine said today, "His body just can't stop hurting."  And that pretty much sums it up.  He knows what he's feeling is irrational, but he just can't tell that body of his to knock it off.  He hovers around me, constantly asks for reassurance through tears and apologizes for something he can't seem to control.  And all I can think is, "my poor baby."

Now I labeled this post with the word encouragement.  I should at least offer some, right?  Well, I did get encouraged today by a couple of friends at lunch.  Sometimes encouragement comes from rather surprising sources.  And even after admitting that my parenting attempts at getting my family through this are feeble at best, and that I have no clue what I'm doing, and that I have no straight-forward answers - to hear a couple of folks that I know won't lie to me, a couple of folks that aren't ones to give hollow praise - to have them sit beside me and tell me that I'm doing a good job... well, that meant a lot.

And tonight when Isaiah once again came to me in tears, worrying about something some unidentifiable thing that he knew not what.  We sat down and prayed together and read Scriptures about what the Bible says about anxiety and I told him of our new commitment to pray and read these Scriptures out loud together every night until he knows them and recites them and lives them and breathes them.  To see his countenance change just a little bit and hear him take a deep sigh of relief like he could feel that there will be a time that this won't rule over him any longer... well that was just plain encouraging to both of us.

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  If you do this you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.  His peace will guard your heart and mind as you live in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)