Matthew has played a central role in a few of my most recent posts and several of you have commented that he sounds like a sweet little guy.
Believe me - he is!
Matthew has a precious heart, and I truly believe God hugs me, kisses me, and tells me He loves me through the arms and mouth of that little boy. And in moments like this one - when the house is empty and quiet (except for the squeaking of the rats' wheel - note to self: oil that wheel!) and I have just enjoyed our morning pilgrimage - it is easy for me to love Matthew. I am peaceful, rested and filled with good feelings for him, and loving Matthew makes perfect sense to me.
Ahhh - this is good!
The problem, I have determined, is I still love Matthew when my surroundings are chaotic (often because of his behavior...), when my nerves are shot and I am weary (often as a result of his behavior...), and when my feelings about him are far from "good" (again, his behavior...).
At times like this, if I didn't love Matthew it would be OK with me to yell back at him. I wouldn't mind that we aren't dealing peacefully with each other. It wouldn't matter to me whether or not he learns how to respect authority and develop self-control. If I didn't love Matthew, I wouldn't be concerned about his feelings or the person he is growing up to be and this whole mothering thing would be a lot easier.
But I do love him, and I am concerned.
There are those who would suggest I "choose my battles" and avoid those situations which provoke the undesirable behaviors. Good advice, when it's possible to follow. Unfortunately, homework, showers, and waking in the morning to get ready for school are unavoidable events and I refuse to let him pass on chores. Since those are the events which typically bring on Matthew's undesirable behavior, I see no way to get around it.
I am suddenly thinking of the chant we used to do as kids...Goin' on a bear hunt, comin' to a field. Can't go under it. Can't jump over it. Can't get around it. Gotta go through it. Swish, swish, swish...Did you sit around campfires reciting this "song," too?
OK, back to 2008!
I see no way to get around Matthew's fits, so I guess I gotta go through it. And since I do love him and I am concerned about my son and who he is becoming, I am willing to walk this road - even though it won't be easy.
This morning I sat at the table eating my cereal while Matthew stormed to his room to get dressed, and I prayed. I asked God to calm my heart and Matthew's. I asked Him to show me how to deal peacefully with Matthew, and I asked Him to help me see the reason for his outbursts. If there is something I can do to help this child develop self-control I want to do it, and I need God to lead me.
My need for God is the major thing I have realized in mothering. On my own I will fail, and all the money in the world won't pay for the therapy my kids will need to "get fixed." But I know God is with me every moment of every day - as He is with you! He is loving me, shaping me, teaching and guiding me. He will give me the grace I need to make it through. God is the one Who has placed this love for my children in me, and I know He won't leave me alone to navigate through this life alone.
So, friend, how does this post intersect with your life today? Is there a particular situation or relationship which came to your mind when I started talking about can't get around it, gotta go through it? Is there something about which you could say, It would be easier if...?
My prayer today is you will be convinced God loves you and He knows what He is doing. I believe He will use your hard times to refine you and make you beautiful. May you find HOPE in this reality.
I pray you will also recognize His presence with you today. I am asking God to reaveal Himself to you - that you may know He is with you in every moment, loving and caring for you perfectly. And in this Truth, I pray you may experience JOY.
Call on Him, friend. He is faithful!