Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Everyday Kind of Saving

One of the kids - Emily Rose most likely - has removed and misplaced "My Utmost For His Highest" (a devotional) from the end table. I need it badly right now. The July 4th entry is about fretting. During my pregnancy it dawned on me that I was fretting less and less; it occurred to me that maybe victory had come.

Mr. Chambers describes fretting as a sin - a sign that we are stubbornly clinging to our own way. Since Anna's arrival, I am fretting much about being able to meet each child's spiritual, emotional and intellectual needs. I obsess about the children developing "issues" stemming from their upbringing, because of some shortcoming I have, or that we have.

My major challenge as a mother is first and foremost Daniel's ADHD, followed by the lack of down time, or of emotional rest, probably enjoyed by moms who have a mother or sister nearby. I don't get out enough on my own, and rarely ever get out with Don. What's worse is that as a couple, we rarely have a moment to pause - to hold hands or hug. The consequence? We aren't fresh or relaxed; the kids are likely to remember their childhoods as being ruled by parental impatience. My dad is a godsend at times, but he is seventy years old and lacks the discipline skills necessary to babysit four children - especially given that one has ADHD, one is in the terribly active twos, and another cries frequently.

I know that in adulthood, when their own kids reach the ages of five or six, my children will be able to extend grace to Don and me. By that time, they will comprehend the complexities of parenting. They will know that imperfect parents in an imperfect world make for imperfect kids. They will be able to love us anyway and resent us no more.

To get through today, I steal time on this blog, to help me sort through these hard things. I wish I didn't need this time. I should be on the floor instead, playing with the kids in my spare minutes. Writing freshens me some, but it's not the same as getting away. You've had that feeling of getting away for a few hours, then coming home to your precious children, who seem so much more precious then before you left? I need that right now. Really badly.

In the meantime, I need books like the Bible, and the Oswald Chambers devotional, to pull me out of my self-involvedness. When the baby won't stop crying long enough to allow me a shower, I finally take the shower anyway and let her cry, even though she is young for that and unable to understand why no one is responding. Yet it feels as though I can't live without my shower. I know it's best to wait until Don is home and available to hold her. When I feel like I'm going to blow my top, I come in here to blog, hoping that no one gets injured while I spill out my heart, in spare minutes here and there. God will hopefully cover over these self-involved sins, and show me the path to greater self denial.

I should be able to be sacrificial, especially at my age. Good parenting is in large part about learning to deny oneself, for the sake of another. But I'm not there yet. I can do it sometimes, but not enough. Until my ability to deny myself matures, I rest in the fact that my Savior is indeed that - a Savior. He can be counted on for the eternal-life kind of saving, and the everyday kind of saving. I'm not saying that I have license to be a lazy or selfish parent, or that the consequences of these sins will be completely erased. It just means that I am forgiven, picked up, and covered in grace.

I'm reminded powerfully now that I must be thankful for that grace, and extend it to my husband and children, just as God has extended it to me. We don't achieve perfection here on earth, no matter how lofty our ideals. But grace, extended to others, is within our power. If we learn nothing else, we must learn that.

Praise to you, Lord! Thank you!

P.S. Can you tell I've been parenting solo for 25 straight hours now? How much it changes your perspective, and makes you appreciate the burdens of single mothers and fathers!

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