Friday, June 29, 2012

Fibular Hemimelia: parenting, parenting, parenting

Picture a van. Luggage carrier on top. One driver Dad, one passenger Mom, two teenage boys, one pre-K girl, one upcoming second grade boy, and one most welcome Granny. Picture disgruntled teenage boy one reluctantly handing over his IPOD to screaming pre-K girl while upcoming second grade boy cries that it's no wonder he can't sleep and driver Dad glares angrily from the rear view mirror while passenger Mom just doesn't understand why we can't drive ONE mile without someone crying. Picture most welcome Granny pacifying crying upcoming second grade boy and calming screaming pre-K girl as teenage boy one covers his face with a pillow and teenage boy two (nephew) bluntly exclaims to passenger Mom: "You're the reason I'll never have kids."

Ahh, family vacation. The time to relax.

Luckily for me, God had laid in on my heart, and mom had it on her Kindle, for me to reread One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskcamp. Just as IPODS were flying and children were crying, I came upon a passage that at least gave me hope amid my feelings of frustration and failure. Now some moms can just get in among all those screaming kids and swat some behinds and make some "your daddy will pull this car over" (can you image the chaos on major highways if all the dads did just that?) warnings and go back to their book satisfied that all is well in the world of parenting.

I, however, am not that kinda mom.

Instead I cry (who would notice amid the three thousandth watching of Judy Moody and eating of gummy bears and slurping of bug juices), feeling that my lecturing, my praying, my tirelessly teaching has gone to naught. Has passed right over their heads like the Skittles flying between the rows.

satan. He knows my weaknesses. He knows my desire for perfection --in all things --even eleven hour, seven passenger, car rides. (Just check out the perfectly poised, white attired beach picture and you'll get a glimpse of my imperfections -and not my sun burned, slightly swollen nose either!) He knows that it hurts, all jokes aside, tears at my core, to see my children fighting, to hear myself yelling, to see my mom (most welcome Granny) look at me with that "bless your heart you have your hands full" look.

Failure leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It ushers in fear --what if they never truly listen to the lecturing, heed the Holy Spirit's conviction, yearn for tireless teachings? What if they don't invite each other to backyard cookouts and Christmas dinner? What if I'm never most welcome Granny in the back seat pacifying grandbaby one and consoling grandbaby two?

Oh, he's good. He knows my heart.

But he doesn't CONTROL it.

If you listen, if you truly want to hear, God can be heard over the noise of the DVD player, the disgruntled murmurings of teenage boys, and even your own angry, barking response. He reminds us in Psalm 46:10 that we have to be still (quiet) to hear Him and to remember Who He IS. Crying silently in the backseat, He saw me. He heard my cry. He knew that I needed refreshed. Didn't Hagar, alone in the desert, overwhelmed by her circumstances, call His name El Roi -the God who sees me. Wasn't she camped by a well, yet didn't see it?

I needed some reminding -of what I wasn't seeing that was right next to me.

At all times His words bring truth, perspective. That day, He whispered, "Did I fail you? Is that why you don't listen to my Word, yield to my spirit, desire my teaching? Is that why you cry to get your way? Is that why my gifts never seem enough to satisfy? Is that why you cannot travel ONE mile without forgetting my provision for every mile that you have traveled? Or is it your own flesh that rebels against goodness and fights my spirit for control? If I give you grace each day, mercies anew each morning, do you not suppose that driver Dad, two teenage boys, upcoming second grade boy, pre-K girl, and most welcome Granny deserve new mercies too? Have you forgotten to give thanks for a van full of blessings? A van full of love and possibilities?"

Ann Voskamp writes: "Thanking God for ALL -prepares the way for God to show us His fullest salvation from bitter, angry, resentful lives --and all sin that estranges us from Him. ... Take everything given, fall at His feet, and thank Him."

May my life song ever be one that never fails to see Him and to give thanks. To seek Him amid the noise. To be a giver of grace.

(Driver Dad and Passenger Mom)

(Most welcome Granny)

(Teenager 2 (nephew))

(Teenager 1)

(Upcoming second grader)

(Who could yell at this pre-K bright pink Barbie lipsticked mouth and sweet on backwards mismatched --I picked out my clothes all by myself -- girl?)