I wrote this in my journal today:
That is my prayer.
A few weeks ago I asked my little cluster of girlfriends to pray for me regarding my son, and my sometimes-difficult relationship with him. Just two weeks later I was in tears with them over challenges with my daughter. After I'd shared a bit, they so sweetly asked for a follow up on my son, "How is he doing? How are things going with him?" to which I sort of blankly looked at them and then answered, "Fine. My daughter has moved so far up in the ranks that he seemed positively dreamy this week." I really don't know if I would have even noticed any negative or challenging behavior from him because my other child was SO OVERWHELMING it would have eclipsed it.
Isn't that how it works? If it's not one child that is bringing me to tears, it's another. Always. God is particularly faithful about using mothering to refine me. And when we're all here, around one another every day, all up in each others' business and all of us sinful, ESPECIALLY ME?!? Sheesh. It can get ugly. I can get ugly.
Lately I've recognized (thank you, Holy Spirit) that so often my first response to the Particularly Challenging Child of the Week is one of put-outness. (I know that's not technically a word but you get it, right?)
This week it's my seven-year old. I adore that girl, but she is exhausting in her constancy. It is: "Mommy, mommy, mommeeeee!..." all.day.long. Just one "Mommy" is enough, really.
I have learned not to tell her if we have something going on that day
until RIGHT BEFORE it happens. Otherwise she will ask about it every three minutes. (You think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not.)
When she wants something and I say no, she just tackles it from a different angle. And she is relentless in her desire to create action and drama-- thus trouble-- with whoever she happens to be around.
She has no boundaries, really- for what comes out of her mouth. Which is really very humbling for me-who-tries-to-be-sensitive-to-everyone's-feelings-and-comfort-level. Example: recently we had a couple from Mark's work over for dinner who were living together (not married). She knew this, all the kids did. But of course she's the one who loudly asks, as we're filling our plates with food, "So are they MARRIED?" I shook my head, and gave her The Look, trying to communicate with my eyes and body language that No, we are not talking about this right now, and tried to move past the moment. After all, the couple had already gotten their food and were now in the living room. Perhaps they hadn't heard, or weren't paying attention? And just when I think we've passed the awkward moment, she's at it again, same question, only louder this time, same question. She knew not to ask, but I think she was probably bored and wanted to create some excitement.
Anyway, all that to just describe to you that she's a bit much for me sometimes.
[On a side note, I can't wait to see what God has in store for this girl. He has great things ahead for her big personality, and I will love seeing how He shapes her and uses her. And I will love it when He answers my prayers for patience and wisdom as He does so! ;)]
Anyway, so this week has been rough. And I was saying that my first response to really every interaction with her of late has been purely one of exasperation. I begin with impatience and irritability and the Lord reminded me last night and again this morning that I should begin with LOVE. So my prayer is that He would help me to start there; that love would
be my first response. And grace. And delight. And kindness. That He
would lead me and counsel me in every interaction with her; that He
would fill me with HIS love for her.
May He do the same for you and your Particularly Challenging Children. ;)
Love to you and yours,