November Gratefulness-- My Children.

My children are not who I expect/ed them to be. They challenge every aspect of what I am, and what I believe some days. They make me question, search for answers, force me to fight my own demons and insecurities,  and to speak when I'd otherwise keep quiet. They make me uncomfortable. It's ok, though. It's actually a wonderful thing. I am grateful. Without them I would otherwise perhaps not be becoming who I am meant to be.
I go to Scripture often for help when I don't have answers, when I need clarity, and when I need some guidance.  That is often.
"As a mother comforts a child, so I will comfort you", from Isaiah. It makes me think twice about how I am towards and about my kids.
When I am tired...wouldn't I love for a tender heart and soft words...

When they test my patience, wouldn't I want the patience of my Father in Heaven rather than a quick temper and short words.....

When I need a listening ear and understanding, wouldn't it be beautiful to have a kind heart and open ear...Likewise that encourages their trust in me.

Those things aren't always easy. I don't always do a super job, and often times I just fail all together. But I see how much my actions and words influence them, and so I keep trying. I think the efforts we make count for something. Am I going to mess up? Yes. The trick is that I'm not going to live in a vacuum, but I'm going to continue to go outside myself to better myself and hopefully do better for them.

Just yesterday I met with my son's occupational therapist and we were discussing some parenting methods and behavioral modifications that perhaps I could incorporate to help things go smoother and get some difficult behaviors under control. She apologetically told me that she didn't want to offend me or say that my parenting style was wrong or bad, but that something different might help. I took no offense at all. I realize I don't know it all, and that I need help. No child is the same, no family is the same, no parent is the same, no situation is the same. An outside view is sometimes necessary, especially when you are right in the midst of the dirty, messy, midst of things. It makes it hard to see clearly when you are tired, or worn down, or physically exhausted. And so I gratefully accepted her advice as something that perhaps I could try rather than be offended by. Why would I be offended by a suggestion to do better unless I assumed I "know it all"? I know I don't.

One aspect of parenthood that I so embrace is the difficulties and challenges. You think I'm nuts, I know you do. The reason I say that, however, is because through all these things that I'm experiencing now I am coming to know myself better and I'm healing some of my own childhood wounds. So often we say that we're going to do things differently than the way our parents did with us. It's easy to say that when you are childless. When your own children arrive it's a different story. How are you actively going to pursue being different if you don't know any different, and if you fail to be open to a different way of life out of pride? Children require us to be selfless. That means educating ourselves, putting aside split-second-gut-reactions, and listening with our hearts and our heads.

It's ok for me to say, "I don't know, lets find out together" and to take the time to do it!
When we know better, we do better.

I couldn't be more grateful for my children and the things I'm learning from them.


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