Monday, November 30, 2009

you never know the impact you're having

A couple of events this month have got me thinking about how we are having an impact all the time on those around us - even if we never realize it.

A guy in our church came up to me after the service a couple of weeks ago. He had been sitting behind us, and Alex was sitting with us as usual. It was a normal day and a normal church service. There was a baptism, of a smiling boy about 9 months old, and we recited the usual prayers and litanies welcoming this child into our "family" and promising to support him and his parents in their journey of faith. The pastor briefly mentioned adoption, in the sense that we are all adopted into God's family and are welcoming this child as well. Anyway, it seemed that this triggered the man sitting behind us to look at Alex and think about how Alex and Sam came to be where they are now. He told me he was overwhelmed and started to cry, just thinking of how their lives started out and how different their lives could have been. This of course shook me out of my everyday fog and made me appreciate anew the miracle that is our family. Thankful for our kids and ever mindful of their birth mothers.

Also, our kids' preschool teacher related an incident to me that has given me pause to think over the last couple of days. The kids were at her house when someone knocked at the door. Alex said, "Maybe it's God." (!) The teacher's son (4) said, "Don't say God, that's a bad word." (I think they've been telling him not to "take God's name in vain.") Anyway, Alex said, "No, God is GOOD! He's ALMIGHTY and POWERFUL."

A couple of take-home messages, the wonder of being a child and fully expecting that God could be standing at the door at any moment. A friend of mine actually wrote a little Advent devotional using this story and connected this with the verse, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." I believe God uses people to reveal himself but I rarely consider that the person I am dealing with (whoever is "knocking at my door") may be God's way of communicating with me. Hmm.

Two, I have to admit my first thought was, "Where did Alex come up with this?" We have probably spoken of God as good, great, powerful etc. but the word "almighty" is not in common use in our house...maybe it should be...anyway, I've been feeling a little remiss as a mom in teaching the kids about God. I haven't felt I've given them much in the way of "spiritual formation" and have felt guilty about not being more on top of that. So this seems like an affirmation, as if God is saying, Relax, mom - remember, it's MY job too, not just yours, to reach your kids. Very comforting.

Three - there are so many things our kids can teach us, if we would only pay attention. In the day to day crush it is hard to really see and really listen. Praying for eyes to see and ears to hear.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

need a battery recharge

My batteries are running low tonight. It was a day of more than usual stress. I got rear-ended while stopped at a red light. The truck behind me was stopped too but the driver decided it was time to go when the left turn arrow turned green, even though our lane still had a red light. I didn't even see it coming. The kids were with me. Luckily we were all belted in and no one was hurt, but now 10 hours later I'm starting to feel twinges in my neck and back. The back end of our car is damaged, but the big GMC truck that hit us seemed completely unmarked. It did make me think about driving a bigger/safer car. Ironically, we just made two trips for car repairs last week and thought we were all done with car stuff for a while. The battery in the Prius died at 107,000 miles and the warranty goes to 100K. Figures. $3000 is a LOT for a battery with a 1-year warranty. It kind of undoes the savings you get on gas. I'm kind of disillusioned with car stuff right now...

In addition, I'm getting drained dealing with Alex's frequent tantrums. She is better than she was, but some days, especially when she's tired, she reverts back to the 3- and 4-year-old level - screaming, hitting, kicking, and even biting. Once she loses her temper, it is very rare that we can "talk her down" or get her to calm herself. And she can lose her temper on a dime, unpredictably, with no warning and sometimes no fathomable reason. We can and do give her choices, give her time out, take away privileges, talk to her about it afterward, etc. But I know she needs to teach HERSELF to control HERSELF and I feel at a loss as to what else we can do. The only encouragement I have is that (1) I know she is smart, and a good intellect will be on her side (2) she IS showing improvement as she gets older, even if it's slower than I would like.

I'm probably also feeling low because I'm getting over a cold. I've cut down on my workouts and I've been staying up too late. So hopefully I can start next week feeling better. My life demands a lot of energy and when I don't have it, I miss it!