Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Refiner's Fire

I've felt compelled to write for a while, but have been unsure what to say.

On the one hand, Diabetes is getting easier to manage. Sophia's blood-sugars have been in a decent range. She's occasionally low, and very rarely over 200. That's the really good news, and answered prayers that her body is responding as it should.

Going places, like her Wednesday co-op school has gotten less stressful. I feel OK about her missing the classroom snack, or giving her a shot to eat it. The first day back, I choked back tears, because I felt it just wasn't fair. But, she likes the attention the shot gives her, and so it's worth it to get one for a snack, it seems. Plus, who wants 12 goldfish crackers, when you could have a blueberry muffin like everyone else? She's getting some affirmation from the parents and peers there too, so that helps.

On the flip side, her behavior has been off-the-charts bad. I won't go into details, because I don't want to embarrass her or uncover her (not that she's reading this, but in principle). She's still an amazing soul, but I feel she's in the anger stage of grief, and is a bit stuck. It's been a little depressing, thus the writer's block. It's something I thought was just blood-sugar related (and it can be at times), but it's also just sheer anger, and her need to control. I don't even want to write about this, because I earnestly desire to be back to happy days, and funny stories.

It makes me realize how judgmental I was. Here I am, a trained counselor, and yet somehow, I held on to this belief that the kids who acted naughty were not given enough direction, love, discipline, etc. at home. I also believed that I would have kids, and I would love them, and guide them, and they would act REALLY good all of the time (or at least always in public, and usually at home). A visiting pastor recently said , "It's amazing how you can have zero kids and 5 theories on how to raise them right, and then you have 5 kids and you have zero theories!" I laughed. Yep! That's me! What's worse, is you can be a supposed counselor and think you have a lot of tricks in the bag......sigh. I also, thankfully, have this sweet friend who had two very well-behaved kiddos, and said she used to think "Look what I've done. I've made them this way." (totally paraphrasing), and then she had her third, who is very strong-willed and realized, "Oh! They just come out this way."

We can only beat ourselves up so much, bottom line. We pray. And then we pray some more. Then, when we are totally worn out and confused, we, well, we pray some more. And that's not to sound religious at all, we just truly can't lean on our own understanding. We cannot figure this stuff out alone. We're learning some ways to get better at communicating with our kids. We're learning things that seem so basic, like, we should be more affectionate (Joe and I) in front of the kids. That may seem silly or like a No-Duh!, but we honestly were every evening in this rut of just surviving until their bedtime, and then we can have quality time and relax. But, we were reminded by a friend married for over 50 years, that our children's security and understanding of healthy marriage is by what they're observing now.

We're trying to teach Sophie how to pray too. She's starting to understand that Jesus can help her. She's not alone in conquering these angry feelings. I never thought I'd be teaching my 5 year-old about how she chooses her thoughts, behaviors, consequences. But, also, how much I'd be teaching her about the spiritual side, like how to take control with the Lord's help. We're not alone in these battles, and the sooner she recognizes that, the better. Phew! It's a lot to swallow though!!

And don't let me fool you into thinking we haven't made some poor choices, or downright embarrassed ourselves at times...we have. Joe and I too, have our temper tantrums and look ridiculous in public at times. Humility....we're getting some. And we've been able to model to our kids how to own-up and accept responsibility for our choices. Good times!

Refiner's Fire! We're in it! Thank God we're considered worthy of refining. So much to learn still, but hoping to come out looking like gold, or at least a nice shiny penny!


Christy said...

I know there will be a day when you both look back and say it was worth it. But, believe me, I know what it's like to be that humbled parent and I'm sure you would do anything to just fast forward. You will all be fine because you are both amazing people who desperately want God to move in a real way. So... HE WILL. I love you and we can't WAIT to see you all tonight!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I second that Anj. I think about all of the things I used to say before I had kids and I cringe :) Live and learn right? I'm so thankful that
God is gracious with me :) Love you friend and thanks for sharing so beautifully!