Monday, December 15, 2008

One of Those Days...

I have to admit, I'm pretty down today. These are the days I don't like to blog about. I resist it as much as possible because I don't want to be all negative. And much of the time, blogging is a tool I use to intentionally turn my focus to the positive. But that's not where I am today. And I know realness is good. So....this afternoon, my son had one of his loss-of-self-control episodes that may have been the worst one yet. His main character issue has to do with anger and losing control. He has an extremely strong will. I think most people don't believe that because the truth is that he doesn't exert it most of the time. But when he does choose to let it out, it's horrendous. Tantrum isn't the right word. It's way too soft. I can't explain to you the intensity of his screaming fits. This one today has made my head pound. It's rare for me to get a headache, but I have a bad one right now. Parker had just awoken at my mom's house and we had to leave right then to pick her up, so when this episode of Jonah's began, there was no way around having to leave the house. But in order to get him calm enough to get in the car to leave, I had to physically restrain him. And it was difficult. When he loses control, it's amazing how strong he can get. He's calm now and he's spending a considerable amount of time alone in his room this afternoon, but not a sign yet of real repentance. Not the teeniest bit of even regret.

And here's the deal: I know parenting is a process. I realize that with some children, seeing prayers answered will take longer than others and actually getting to repentance can take time. I get that my identity isn't found in whether we see evidences of our prayers and discipline sooner or later. I understand that he's three and I can't expect him to be a spiritual giant. I realize I'm not a failure as a mommy because we've been dealing with this for a long time now and haven't really seen improvement. (We definitely go through a few months at a time when it just doesn't happen as often, but then we seem to cycle back through it, and the episodes are just as bad.) I don't feel that life is all messed up now that we are back in a season of this again. And I don't plan on changing my tactics, which happen to be: staying consistent and staying on my knees. I know this is all part of it. This is my job. It's a full-time one. This is what God created me to do right now. And I am so grateful that shepherding this little boy's heart - even though it is an angry one today - is how I get to spend my days. I really am.

But am I discouraged too sometimes? Yes. Do I struggle with comparing myself to others whose children don't appear to have this struggle and am I then tempted to harbor thoughts about my identity that are not based in truth? Yes. Am I tired of doing the same things over and over in trying to reach my child's heart, thinking they are right, but then not seeing any results in his behavior? Yes. Tired would be a good word for it. Parenting can just be burdensome sometimes. And I'm feeling burdened by it right now. It's making me sad today. But it's also stripping me of pride and self-reliance and throwing me right into the position of brokenness, realizing again my need for the Lord's help every second. One thing I know at this point in my walk is to welcome that brokenness. And I do. I'm praying my heart out for this little boy and how we are to lead him. And his sister. Yeah, I'm really scared of what she'll bring into the mix one day. =)

I'm still clinging to this beautiful piece of truth that God so encouraged me with during the time I was pregnant with Jonah:

Isaiah 40:11 -
"He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young."


Courtney said...

so sorry for the hard day(s). I know all too well that they are not fun and so stressful and frustrating. It seems like maybe it is this time of year and also when they can't get outside and run off their extra energy. Hang in there you are doing it all right by being on your knees and being consistent.

Jackson and Jonah are much alike in their pride, strong wills, and anger issues...I know, however, that I struggle in these areas, and so I feel as if I taught him VERY well how to handle it--in the wrong ways---already. It's awful. But we are both learning (and now Creighton too). Oh, it doesn't get easier that is for sure!

Marci said...

I can remember these days with Kayla. Most do not believe me when I tell them how HORRIBLE Kayla could be when she went into one of her rages- - but I have it on video for proof. It was really scary for me. Self control is her biggest problem and when she would lose it- - it truly frightened me!

I can remember feeling like NOTHING I did worked and I felt like I had tried EVERYTHING imaginable.

Now that we have made it past that stage, the only advice I can give is to just keep pressing on and stay consistent. You may feel like you are beating your head against the wall, but your training is getting through, even when he doesn't act like it just yet.

Kayla has now blossomed into an amazing leader and is such a blessing to me and to others because of her strong willed, leading personality. I am sure you will watch the same things happen with Jonah.

It is A LOT of hard work. Try not to be too hard on yourself. I remember crying and blaming myself all the time for her behavior. I thought there had to be something I was doing wrong for her to be so bad. I thought I should be able to change her.

You are a wonderful mommy! God has blessed you with an amazing strong willed boy who will be able to STAND FIRM in his faith someday. I am so confident that all these strong willed children are going to grow up to be strong willed leaders for Christ! Hallelujah! We have that hope only because of Christ!

Keep praying for him and leading him and he will be fine! These days of tantrums will become a faint memory over the next few years.
(Hopefully it doesn't take as long for Jonah as it did for Kayla- -I was still struggling with Kayla pretty badly up until she was about 9 years old)

Christa said...

I am sorry you are having a bad day, but man can I relate. We are in the trenches again, but this time I have both Rebecca and Andrew to work with.
I feel like the verses the Lord has given me right now is the one in Proverbs that says a gentle answer turns away wrath and Jame 1:20 that says the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of the Lord. I also felt the Lord speak to me during our Exodus study at BSF. After the people made the golden idol the Lord said He was not going to travel with them because he would destroy them. I have this tendency to think I have to resolve and restore everything immediately, but I am learning that there are times when it is best to retreat for a while.

It may not be a struggle for you but I struggle with wanting to respond with anger and not in love. Anger can feel right when I have such blatant wrong behavior from my children. God is still working on me in so many ways and He uses my children to teach me so much about myself and about Him.

And on a lighter note...I had to smile when you said you have a tendency to compare to others, because Sunday you all got a glimpse of Andrew's anger. Just focus on that and not all the "perfect" kids and maybe you will feel better. Ha! The good thing about my 3rd being strong willed is that with every kid I get less and less prideful about my parenting so it isn't quite as embarassing, I mean it is still embarassing, but not as bad. Saying a prayer for you today. Praying for perserverance and stength for this stage you are in. Thanks for being willing to share and for letting me make my own post on your comments.

Kate said...

Hey girl. I can relate to feeling discouraged. Brantley showed quite a bit of disrespectful behavior yesterday during the cookie decorating party, and I struggled between needing to discipline, needing to be there to help Brayden, and with being a hostess of a party and the responsibilities that come with that. Brantley really started to crumble and be disobedient after Jonah left, and I was just really discouraged after everyone was gone. He's in one of those more defiant phases right now, and it's tough. Brayden being two now is adding a whole new dynamic, and my boys are starting to fight a lot, which includes physical fighting...biting, hitting, pushing, you name seems to be happening in our house lately. This mom who did not grow up around boys is not used to all that physical stuff! It was humbling to have my boys acting up like that in front of all these moms from playgroup, some of whom are very new friends and don't know me well. But as you said, with these new challenges, God brings me to my knees and keeps me dependent on Him. And that is right where I should be. I'm thankful we're in this parenting journey together, and can encourage one another along the way.

When things slow down, we need to get together without kiddos. I've been missing my "real" time with you!

Jenn said...

Hannah, Thank you for your honest words!!! I read your blog often because I love the realness you present. Clayton is almost 16 months only...and our day is coming. It helps to see how the Lord is guiding you through this...and it actually encourages me (as weird as that may sound!?!?)that a lot of children are strong willed like my little Clayton. I am sorry it was a bad day for you, but I know that your love for the Lord will continue to keep you strong and being the most amazing mom to both of your kiddos!!

Dalene said...

Raising kids is hard work. I think these helpless days are a real blessing to us. It makes us realize how dependent we are upon God to make up for our shortcomings. If we (thought we)had all of the answers, we'd be less likely to turn to Him. Those of us entering the teen years will most likely have our share of ups and downs as well. I've always tried to pay special attention to parents with GROWN children. I like to ask a lot of questions. Inevitably, those humble parents give all of the glory to God for his providential hand in the lives of their children. Your humility tells me you will be one of those success stories. We're standing with you!