Wednesday, March 24, 2010
In the trenches of parenting
A friend of mine posted this on her facebook and I had to laugh and repost it. I hope none of my friends are offended by it, I don't put my nose up when you do give parenting advice, usually I'm asking for it ;-) But there is some truth to be said that unless you have a child on the Autistic Spectrum Disorder it can be hard to know what to say.
For me the hard part really is my own struggle with feeling like I'm not doing a good enough job. I've always been very successful in anything I put my mind to, but in parenting it's a daily struggle and learning experience, not to mention a test on my patience. Of course the rewards are amazing, but today has just been one of those days I feel like I can't do anything right and I'm just too tired. Not to mention the fact that with each passing day I notice more and more symptoms of Aspergers in our 3rd child which is overwhelming. Just this morning we tried on every single long sleeve shirt he had but every single one had something that bothered his skin. Needless to say I ended up putting pajama top on him that was tag less and soft. Then most of the day has been spent listening to him tell everyone "don't look at me" (a common occurrence in Asperger children-including Dallas) So now mealtime problems are multiplied with two children yelling "don't look at me!" Of course then the baby starts crying. You can see my crazy cycle.
The struggle for me, and I would imagine many parents with children with special needs, or maybe any mom, would be that I just don't do a good enough job. Did I handle the situation correctly? Is this an Asperger's moment or is he just not obeying me? Am I asking too much of him? And then of course now I have four children and each going through their own stage in growing up and trying to parent through all of them. Yesterday I found myself praying, "Lord I know you are giving me more than I can handle so that I need to put my faith in you. You've got it Lord, now send me down an instruction manual or some HELP!"
Then there's the mommy guilt. Did I read enough today? Was I patient enough? Was I stern enough? Am I not consistent enough? Or these: Did I do Dallas' 30 minutes of Physical Therapy exercises and is his toe walking not any better because I don't give it enough focus? I haven't made the charts his OT suggested that would help. Am I feeding them enough nutritious food? Have we dont any brain integration therapy this week? Are they getting the right vitamin and mineral supplements? Should we try Gluten Free/Casein Free diet? And the list goes on and on. I found myself pleading to God the other night to make all the noise in my head stop so I can finally fall asleep.
Are all these thoughts from God? NO Who then? The devil.
Has he penetrated my armour in my weakest hour? Yes.
My final thought is to just delete this ranting post, but I then decided I ought to post it because there might be some mom out in cyber space going through exactly the same thing as me and she can then be encouraged by the same verse that I am today. And remember, the Lord will never give you more than you can handle.
Would you rather live a life of ease and comfort and remain immature in Christ, or am I willing to be seasoned with suffering if by doing so I am conformed to the image of Christ? --Gary Thomas from the book Sacred Marriage
A 5th century writer, John Climacus, said "I would not consider any spirituality worthwhile that wants to walk in sweetness and ease and run from the imitation of Christ."
And I'll end with this scripture that's encouraging during the difficult moments in parenting:
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does." James 1:2-8
So I'll try and smile during the difficult days when I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. And daily, or hourly ask for God's wisdom to know what to do and have faith the HE will give it. Nothing is too big for God! And I'll think on all the great things my kids do and focus on the positive moments. I'm ever so blessed by my four beautiful, loving children who help me grow each and every day. And I know in 10 years I'll look back at these days as the best, forgetting about being in the trenches, but remembering the beautiful days full of little children laughter and joy and thank God that he thought so highly of me to bless me with these four children.