Sunday, November 21, 2010

where two or three gather

So many frustrating things right now.  Behavior, special-needs issues, sleep, finger injury, unpaid bills, poor peer influences at AWANA, poor chore follow-through at home--all these are challenging at the same time.  I haven't known what to say in this space this week.

The children and I have taken to huddling together a few times a day to pray our difficulties away and read some Proverbs.  When you just have no idea how to make things right or sane, it's time to call in the Expert, over and over again.

"For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them."  Matthew 18:20

I'm here tonight to express gratitude for....:

- a sweet art teacher.  My boys have loved their art class and learned many art techniques.

- a husband who stops to kiss me as he leaves, despite his stress

- a dishwasher, washer and dryer, clean drinking water, hot water, a vacuum that still works

- a trash man who took my extra leaf bags for free, despite a $3 a bag rule beyond 6 bags (a rule I didn't know about)

- playing outside in November in Ohio without a jacket

- a baby's first sentence (her speech is very unclear, but I'm glad for her phrases and now a tiny sentence.)

- a baby with curls down her back

- pumpkin pie cooling on the stove

- laundry caught up

- turkey thawing in the fridge for Thursday

- a boy who recognizes negative peer pressure and tells me: "I don't want to act tough and stupid.  I want to be sweet."

I'm not so sure pairing 3rd graders with 4-6th graders is a good idea.  We're praying about what to do with AWANA.  At this particular church, it's dominated by public-schooled kids who've lost innocence, sweetness, and respect (in the older class; younger classes are going well).  We want our boys to have godly role models for how young men should behave.  Yes, boys are wild at heart and I don't fight that--wouldn't want to fight God's design.  But they don't have to be disrespectful and callous as well.  What public school seems to do for older kids is to eliminate individuality and create a mob.  God help those who don't fit the mold!  Each child on his own might be quite nice, but in the mob, one only sees the "tough-and-unruly" act.

A nearby large church has a program similar to AWANA called Brigade (for boys).  That church has a homeschooled population mixed with Christian-schooled and public-schooled kids.  It might be an option when I have a vehicle (the car pick-up in PA didn't work out.  There is a probate issue with the car that needs the attorney's attention and their office is just not getting to it.)

Meantime, we are praying about how long to keep the kids in AWANA--a once-beloved program.  The teachers and helpers are wonderful, which makes the decision very difficult.  The kids and I are praying for the teachers (and students), who are challenged and stressed by the behaviors they're encountering with the boys.  The Scripture that stands out at me right now is this:

1 Corinthians 15:33 
Do not be misled:  "Bad company corrupts good character."

If it were just a couple boys, that would be easier to deal with.  But it's most of the twenty.  How long can I expect my son to stay on the fringe at his young age, and possibly be bullied?  If he were in high school or college, I've no doubt he could handle it.  But at eight years old, I think it's a lot to ask


Laura said...

I will pray too, Christine. Sometimes it's the the things that seem like they should be simple that become so so hard. But that last on your gratitude list? What a precious gift.

Christine said...

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement, Laura!

Liz said...

Hi Christine... I'm just stopping by to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful for you and your honesty and transparency. You are a help to me in my spiritual journey.


Christine said...

Oh, Liz! Thank you so much for stopping by. I really needed a bright spot in my day today!

Peter's got horrible OCD symptoms right now. He has even taken to rereading sentences over and over, for fear he has skipped words. It is painful to listen to. He also started reading outloud again, because he says it helps him not skip words. It is not his vision. He says his brain is telling him to reread the words or Jesus will get made at him. OCD is a horrible thing!

Anyhow, I really needed a friendly, loving note today! Bless you! Happy Thanksgiving!

Liz said...

Christine....this time of year is hard. There are overstimulation opportunities everywhere! Grace isn't struggling so much with OCD as with lack of impulse control -- I'm talking REALLY, really BIG LACK of impulse control. It shows everywhere, all the time. It's like we've reached a new high, or low, whichever way it should be measured. We don't see the developmental pediatrician again for a couple of weeks. I'm struggling to think about putting up a tree and decorating for Christmas as I fear it will put her over the edge. Hang in there. I've been telling her lately, about how God has a plan for her. How He knew her before she was formed and He has a great plan for her life. Even as I'm saying it I feel defeated sometimes, but I believe it so much. God KNEW, He knew her needs and deficiencies, just as He knew mine and He still brought us together and in His infinite wisdom chose ME to be her mother. It boggles my mind most days, but it's oh so comforting when I can rest in that.