We have a fairly large family. I have been a parent for 34 1/2 years; yet I never stop learning. It is actually fulfilling to learn new insights and understandings about parenting.
When you are parenting children who have special needs, it is an entirely new learning experience.
We have children with physical special needs, and emotional special needs.
I remember very clearly one day when I was trying to get my son ready for school, and we were in a rush, I could not get his shoes on his feet for the life of me! He was so stiff, and his feet would just not go in!
The next day, we were up quite early, no stress, no rush, and his shoes went on quite easily.
I learned something! When I was rushing, it made him tense.... and it affected his ability to relax his feet!
I had to change! "I" had to change so that he was not stressed, and we had success!
I also learned from my son that sometimes, he would forget every single thing he had ever learned in his life for school! He couldn't do math. He couldn't read. He would forget it all! It had to do with brain damage, but it also had to do with my reaction to his brain damage.
His brain was trying to locate files, and my reaction would make his brain even worse.
"You can't possibly forget everything!" "Can you?"
It would take 2 or 3 days for him to start to remember.
But I found out, if we did art work, or go for a nature drive, he would start to remember again by the same afternoon!
Stress, or lack of it, made all the difference in the world!!!!
Fast forward to the present day. :)
May, was a very stressful month for Alli. She has had so many memories this month... SO MANY!
But we learned so very much this month, together!
We learned that God does not remove your problems. He walks you through them. He is with you;
but problems don't go away,magically.
We learned that our past and our present are a part of us. Our past history is a part of us, and it will be with us forever! But it doesn't define us. It does not dictate who we will become!
We can be overcomers in Christ, no matter what our past has been!
Something that I have contemplated this past month was in the scripture. In Ephesians chapter 5, scripture tells Husbands to love their wives, and wives to respect husbands, as unto the Lord, or "in the Lord."
In Ephesians 6:1- it says, "Children obey your parents, in the Lord" ......
I have been meditating on these verses and going over in my head sermons in the past.
Much is directed at husbands and wives. A husband is not to try to "force" his wife to submit, just like a wife cannot "force" her husband to love her. But I have never heard a sermon about how we cannot really "force" a child to obey!
Just like husbands and wives cooperate with each other out of dedicated relationship, children obey out of relationship. Building a strong relationship based in love, is key to responsible obedience.
Of course we must disciple our children towards obedience, and we must work hard to guide them and teach them. But we do this in context of relationship, and give room for them to grow.
What I have found, is that obedience, true obedience, is a direct responsibility on their part before Lord!
Ultimately, it is their responsibility! And too much interference will keep them from stepping up to the plate to take that responsibility.
Handing that responsibility over to them, I have found makes for a lot less stress! In the same way that our young son, relaxed when we were not in a hurry, our sweetie was less stressed when she took on the responsibility of obedience.
When I am talking about obedience, I am not talking about a "slave-master" type of relationship. (just to clarify)
Every family is different. I see "Obedience" as a way of life, not a list of rules to follow. And it is not "blind" etiher. There is purpose behind what we do as a family, and what we do not do as a family.
I used several analogies with her, including "You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot force them to drink!" :) "You are responsible before God for your behavior." "You can choose healthy responsibilty, or you can choose foolisheness.
Something clicked... and the incredible turnaround from the beginning of the month to the end was transforming... It was one of those 5 steps back, 20 steps forward kind of things. :)
This has been such a busy month I cannot describe it all. And honestly, I don't think I'm wording it very well here. I have tried to start this blog post several times!
All I know is that our sweetie learned this month that, even though problems from our past come up now and then, and we feel badly about them, we are still responsible to be civil and kind. It isn't up to mom and dad to make us be kind. We must do that on our own!
Because eventually, in life, nobody is going to really care that many years ago, xy or z happened to you. They will expect you to do a job, and be on time! They will expect you to be respectful!
It has been a long time coming, but I think she finally gets it! :)
And I have learned a few new things in the process. :) Always learning and loving truth!
We have moved to higher ground. :)
I just love being her mom.