Friday, December 3, 2010

That which does not kill you...

As I'm starting to writing this, I'm waiting for my daughter who is in her bedroom trying to adjust her attitude.  "Trying."  That's been a good description of her behavior lately.  Please note, I did say her behavior was trying and not her.  I should at least get some brownie points for making that distinction.

This was one of the biggest challenges I faced in going from a classroom teacher to a home school educator.  When your class is only one student, everything comes to a halt when that one student needs discipline or is just having a bad day.  If your student is laying in the floor kicking and screaming for example, there is no one there to finish the spelling test, so school life is on hold.

I've been praying a lot about this major behavior issue going on.  I thought I was doing a good job praying for her.  That God would work in her personally.  That I might gain understanding in how to deal with her and this behavior.  That I might not send this child "to kingdom come" wherever that is. 

I have been very disheartened as it seems like I have received no answers, no clues, no that-a-girls, not even a condemnation about my poor mothering skills.  It's been a big trial lately.

Then one evening last week, my husband was praying.  That's not unusual.  What's unusal is something he said.  It went something like this, "We thank You, God, for our trials because You've told us to thank You, and You use them to mature us."

Of course, it was around Thanksgiving, so verses like "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (I Thes. 5:18) were abundant.  However, it was the Spirit not the season which reminded me this applied to me and my daughter's behavior issue as well.

Not only was I supposed to give thanks in this parenting challenge, but I was also praying incompletely.  Yes, I was praying that God would help me help her.  In fact, it kind of sounded noble to only be praying about how God wants to work through you to benefit another.  It never occured to me that He was not just wanted to work through me but IN me.

It's a common joke in Christian circles not to pray for patience or the Lord will send you trials to teach it to you.  But I'm here to tell you, if God allows you to be a parent, you don't even have to pray to receive the trials that bring patience!  He starts the whole process automatically!

That prayer made me remember, "...that the testing of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing" (James 1:3-4).  How small I counted my God to think that He could only work on my daughter and not on both of us through all this.

I'd love to say that I learned my lesson and "bada bing bada boom" everything was perfect.  My lovely daughter had matured beyond her bad behavior, and I was honoring God in my attitude and actions.  BUT, I can't.  We are both still works in progress. 

So, this writing is one more attempt to retain and apply what God is teaching me. 

That which does not kill you...might make you want to cuss, but more importantly makes you "perfect and entire, wanting nothing."  Especially if you skip the cussing part.  (Sorry, just keeping it real.)

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