A Post On Parenthood

Saturday, May 31st, was the most perfect of "Gotcha Days." For the first time, Eli was truly aware of the day and its meaning. His adoption has been openly talked about from the beginning so it doesn't come as a surprise to him, but this year he was excited to celebrate and tell others that it was the day he was adopted and understand what that means. Watching the joy on his face as he shared was something truly remarkable. It was one of those proud parent moments for sure.

The day was beautiful. We enjoyed several outings but the true blessing was the "million flowers I (Eli) picked to show you how much I love you." He made trip after trip into the house with fist-fulls of flowers. Vase after vase began to fill as I tried to find a place for all of them. He was so proud of his pickings and I could not have appreciated the expression more. It was a glorious day of celebrating him, his life and what he means to us. It was also such a delight to enjoy his obedience, loving expressions and angelic behavior.

And then yesterday happened. Without recounting every detail, let's suffice to say it was the antithesis of Saturday. Everything I asked, he did the opposite. He argued about every single thing he was told to do. At times he was even disrespectful, snapping with reasons why he could not obey. There were times I gave an instruction and he acted like he didn't hear me. There were other times that it caused a meltdown as if something I'd said triggered the end of the world. Oh it was the end alright; the end of my patience and tolerance. This all followed a day at school that was less than stellar (I'm being kind with this description). "It's the last week of school," I'd encouraged on our morning drive, "PLEASE do your best to listen and obey." Somehow he would still end up in the Assistant Principal's office to complete his morning work while his entire class enjoyed the playground. This wasn't his first trip and I'm certain not his last. In fact, I'm not even sure it will be his last THIS SCHOOL YEAR. And there's only 4 more days of school left! It's Kindergarten for crying out loud. KINDERGARTEN.

"He's just being a boy," I've been told.

"He'll calm down," they seemingly try to reassure me. I wasn't asking for reassurance. But thanks.

 "He's got an active imagination for sure,"others have remarked. I always ponder their meaning behind this one, wondering if they see the positive in this as I do.

"He certainly is on the go...ALL. THE. TIME," as if I don't already know this.

The truth is my boy has never fit the mold. From the time I joined the other moms at the baby gym bouncing our 1 year olds, only mine wouldn't sit or bounce or do things "normally" - at least not like all the other babies. He was on the go. Even then. And I was chasing after, stressing myself out because he wouldn't do what all the others would do.

Here we are 5 years later at the end of Kindergarten and I somehow find myself still stressing. Why? Because he doesn't fit into the mold with all the rest of the kids? Because he won't listen? When? Everyday? Every time? Did I forget Saturday and the way he listened the first time, every time? I still have vases of reminders of how much he wanted to love and please me. Wasn't that just two days ago?

The truth is sometimes he is just being a boy. And sometimes he's just living in his sinful nature. Then there are other times when I find notes like this after days like yesterday:

His heart is good, but his flesh is still flesh and sometimes he fails. Oh wait...doesn't God's Word say something about that?

"The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:41b

That sounds so familiar. So much like me. Only I'm not 6. I am supposed to know better, do better, be better. 

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26

I love You, Lord, and yet I fail You. I know Your Word, I know to keep Your commands and sometimes I look the other way and pretend I don't hear Your voice at all. I know the straight and narrow path that I am to take, and I even know I can call upon Your strength to help me in my weakness...and yet I boldly, directly disobey You. I choose MY way instead. I allow my active imagination and the power of deceit to convince me that I can do my own thing. I give way to my own activity, always on the go, never stopping to seek You. Excuse after excuse, I can find so many, to justify my behavior. Too often I've looked directly at You and told You exactly why I wouldn't listen. I have blatantly disrespected You and Your Word and chosen my own will. There have been way too many meltdowns, hissy fits I've thrown, all because I didn't want to do what You asked. My spirit has been willing at times and sometimes, I'm so sorry to admit, it has been anything but willing. 

Oh how You love me, how You forgive, how You graciously and patiently tolerate all my indiscretions, all my blatant acts of disobedience and still lovingly choose me. It hasn't always come without consequence or discipline but You've never ceased to lavish Your loving instruction toward me. I love You, Lord. Even when I fail You. Even when I choose to disobey. I'm so thankful for your neverending love and for the way You teach and instruct me, always encouraging me back. Thank You for the example You've given me of how to love, instruct, teach, forgive and parent this child You've placed in my life. Forgive me when I fail You. Forgive me when I fail him. Continue to teach me Your ways, ways I can teach him. 


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