Tuesday, January 14, 2014

In the storm...

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining
This song has been around for quite a few years now, but the lyrics popped into my head yesterday morning, because this is how I've been feeling lately.  We've been through so much in the past six months or so, and despite raised hopes a few times, nothing has worked and we're still in the midst of this major challenge.  I feel like over the years when I've been faced with daunting situations, there's always been something--a well-timed "coincidence", just enough good news to keep me going, a song I needed to hear, a perfect rainbow or glorious sunset--that reminds me that God is there and I'm not going through something alone.  While there have been a couple songs and maybe one sunset, this time around the problem is so big that it's drowning out those small reminders that God is right there through all of it.  I feel like He's been shockingly quiet considering the gravity of our situation.

I suppose it hasn't helped that I probably haven't been listening as well as I should be.  I'm tired.  Very tired.  I can barely get through the first few items in my bedtime prayers before I am out cold.  I can barely get through the things I need to do in any given day, let alone having time to focus on reading the Bible regularly.  Even if I tried in-depth prayer prior to bedtime, I'd bet good money I'd fall asleep then, too.  I often had that problem in college, and I can only imagine it would be worse now.  I chalk it up to God allowing me to relax and granting me the rest I need, but it doesn't really help the prayer life much, huh?

I do believe that God knows our needs without us saying a word, and when I'm shedding tears over the most recent parent fail episode with Jacob, I do more or less picture myself as throwing myself at God's feet in a complete state of defeat.  Still, I'm sure a little more conscious, fervent prayer wouldn't hurt.  I really need to work on that.

Ever since these issues started, I've been praying for God to heal Jacob.  Even if he's never a "normal" kid, I do want him to be able to grow up and be a functional adult.  The Celiac disease isn't going anywhere, unfortunately, but I am praying for technological advances that would render it harmless!  As for myself, I've prayed for patience, for sure, but I decided that I need to be praying for healing of myself, too.  All of this has weighed heavily, and while I do need every drop of that patience, I also need to be healed of the anger that Jacob's behavior provokes.  The constant talking back, potty talk, name-calling, physical responses....all of it brings out so much anger in me.  Yelling just makes him angrier and spankings only make him hit more, but there have been times where I just don't know what else to do...so an instinctual reaction comes out.  A couple times I've surprised myself with the force with which it did, and I hate that feeling.  If I were watching myself from outside my body, I'm sure I'd be appalled.  None of it may do long-term physical damage, but I'm sure there are emotional scars there.  In fact, I know there are, and I'm just not sure how to fix that.  It's frustrating, though, because Jacob refuses to believe that he "starts" anything.  He could just come up and smack us out of the blue, and if we were to smack him back, he would say that we're the "bad" ones for hitting him, even if it was clearly retaliatory.  Hence why dealing with him can be incredibly frustrating and nonsensical much of the time.  It's like he simply doesn't believe that anything he does is in any way annoying or hurtful...so on top of the behavior itself, there is absolutely zero remorse or effort to control it.  And that may be what makes it harder than anything else to deal with.

Regardless, we are the adults and we're supposed to be the ones with restraint.  Still, we're human, so it's no wonder we lose it after a constant string of trying behaviors wear us down.  I'm pretty sure that if Jacob was unlucky enough to get some other parents out there, he'd be in a far worse situation.  For all our faults, we've done our best to remain patient.  Some parents out there probably wouldn't be so understanding and he'd probably have ended up in the hospital or worse.  Still, I feel like a failure of a parent most of the time, for many reasons.  I wonder if I did something while I was pregnant or nursing that impacted him...or if one of the many medications he's been on over the years could have caused this...or if I reprimanded him too much when he was younger so my scolding stopped having an impact...or if something else I did just made him disengage.  I'm not sure how I would have handled Carter's arrival differently or what else I could have done, but in a situation like this you constantly question yourself.  And with another kid, you wonder what you should do differently, or if any of it will make a difference.  I worry about what Carter is taking away from all the yelling in our house, or all that he sees Jacob do to us.  It scares me that it will become too normal for him.  As I watch him smile at Jacob as Jacob screams angrily in his face, I wonder if he will have trouble with social cues like Jacob sometimes does.  Going through all of this makes you second guess everything, and it's easy to feel completely lost.

I often wonder why we need to go through this.  I can't imagine what purpose God could have in bringing all of these challenges into our lives.  We only have one life to live, and if it's full of food intolerances and behavioral specialists, that's not really how I dreamed my life would be.  All I can figure at this point is that I left no choice but for God to allow some adversity because it might be the only way to get me back on track.  I'm sure there's more to it than that, but for now, that's the closest thing I have to making any sense of this. 

I do wish God would just swoop down and fix our problems, but I know there's a method to the madness so we just need to hang in there and appreciate the process.  It's not easy, it's not fun, it's not how I want my life to be, but it is what it is right now and we just need to pray for strength to get through.  I know I need to fall back on my faith and find ways to strengthen it.  I may not know how to do that right now, but like the rest of this situation, we simply need to find a way.

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