Life Lessons.

I really wish I could be writing this to exclaim about how wonderful things are today around here. Instead, I spent the afternoon mostly crying and attempting a trip to the park because the boys were dying to, and hiding behind my biggest sunglasses and pretending I was afraid that Midge wasn’t safe on the play equipment so I had to follow her around instead of talking to the other women at the park.

Bad court day.

Four more months…a gift to Midge’s parents from a judge whom the social worker calls “loopy.” Because after all that has not been accomplished or attempted over the past fourteen months, another four is an appropriate response. When the other option was to begin putting Midge’s best interests above the parents’ best interests…which seemed like a no brainer. When we were hoping for two visits a month, and instead are saddled with another four months of four visits a week.

Which makes you wonder about prayer. A month ago, I knew that it was prayer that moved the court in the direction I was hoping for. So where does that leave us today? When just as much prayer results in the worst possible outcome from today’s trial? Did the prayer stop working? Or is there something I’m not seeing?

Jake, who is almost eight, throws tantrums when I have to cut his nails. I must be missing something in the parenting department to have a tantruming eight year old, whose nails I still cut with infant nail scissors. It is as if I am sticking pins underneath his fingernails rather than cutting dirty millimeters off. He thinks he is dying.

But he is not. In fact, the nail cutting is for his own good. To keep him from looking like the kid whose mom never gives him a bath. Okay, so maybe it’s for my own good. But that is beside the point.

The nail cutting lasts only a minute. We timed it today. There is a bigger picture that parents see, while children only see torture.

I was barely able to talk to the girl this afternoon. At twenty months, she recognized that I was upset and kept coming over with a little upset cry and asking me if I was “kay?” No, I was not. But life keeps coming and I keep changing diapers and singing bedtime songs while we rock.

God is so good. God is so good. God is so good, He’s so good to me.  (even when I’m throwing a tantrum as my nails are being cut, God? And what do I need short nails for anyway…I like them the way they are!)

He answers prayer. He answers prayer. He answers prayer, He’s so good to me. (even when I’m pretty mad about everyone praying and the answer being a pretty stupid one, if I do say so myself?)

I love Him so. I love Him so. I love Him so, He’s so good to me. (even if I just feel defeated, let down, tired, and I can’t see much past today?)

So how do you go about living through things that stink? I’m reading a book that says it’s eucharisteo…giving thanks precedes the miracle. And the miracle is finding joy in whatever life God keeps giving you.

Funny thing is, I’ve been trying it for three days, this choosing thankfulness instead of anger, frustration, annoyance. And as I told the boys when I tucked them in to bed last night, I’ve failed completely. I find that when I’m feeling mad, I actually don’t want to feel thankful. I actually want to feel mad. And when I’m annoyed…well, you get the idea. I told them that you have to start somewhere, even if somewhere is three straight days of failure.

Make that four, since today’s pretty much over.

Another day I’ll tell you about the book, One Thousand Gifts, that’s shaping this new goal of choosing thankfulness over anger. Today, I’m pretty angry. What can I say, I’m new at this. Although I’m a four day failure, I keep on, because of this:

“Do I really smother my own joy because I believe that anger achieves more than love? That Satan’s way is more powerful, more practical, more fulfilling in my daily life than Jesus’ way? Why else get angry? Isn’t it because I think complaining, exasperation, resentment will pound me up into the full life I really want? When I choose – and it is a choice – to crush joy with bitterness, am I not purposefully choosing to take the way of the Prince of Darkness? Choosing the angry way of Lucifer because I think it is more effective – more expedient – than giving thanks?”

And when you put it that way, Ms. Voskamp, I say “Go Jesus! Boo Satan!” or something like that, and then I keep on trudging, mad, but trying not to be.

And the babysitter/daughter comes over and plays Monopoly with Greg and the boys while I slump at the computer. And I find a new blog that makes me laugh out loud and forget about loopy judges and kids who don’t really know who their parents are. For a moment I forget. Then I start to count the blessings.

  1. that my mommy was the first to call after it happened, and she didn’t care if I cried.
  2. that Jake is old enough to begin to show compassion.
  3. that dinner was already made and in the oven.
  4. that I have a baby to cuddle tonight.
  5. that Monopoly makes my family so happy.
  6. that I found a blog that made me laugh out loud.
  7. that I have two good carpool buddies who are flexible (in scheduling, not in body. well, maybe, I don’t actually know.)
  8. that speaking of flexible, my babysitter/daughter wants to take yoga with me.
  9. that I found this blog post which hooked me on that new blog
  10. that I’ve been singing the same two songs to Midge for months, and they speak to me.
I think I’m actually not doing this right, as everyone else’s lists read like poetry. But there it is…me, in all of my mess.
And I will try to believe the verse that I posted on facebook this morning, from my morning bible reading time:
This I declare about the LORD; He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him. Psalm 91:2
I thought we’d had plenty of shaping around here recently, but I guess God sees some more edges that need filing in this certain, painful way.
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