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)