Thursday, December 15, 2011

Measuring In Inches Instead of Miles

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end."  (Ecclesiastes 3:11, NIV)

There are too many days when I feel like I'm getting nowhere fast.  I spin my wheels, feeling like I'm working on the same problems over and over again.  I see my children, and too often I feel like there is no progress.  Rooms are still dirty.  Sibling quarrels still flare up.  Bad behaviors still persist.

In these frustrating, defeated moments of motherhood, parents like me need to measure our children's progress in inches rather than miles.  A readjustment of how we assess things is called for.  While the annoying triggers of sensory processing disorder are something we would all like to see disappear with the snap of our fingers, it's unrealistic.  And great progress has been made when we discover one new tool to a sensory diet or a child has become desensitized enough to sit through hair-brushing just one minute longer.  While it may seem like bathroom issues will never resolve, it is a step forward when we have a few less soiled pairs of underwear to wash in a week.   While we may wish would could tell a child suffering from anxiety, "Snap out of it!" and have the child calmed, we can consider ourselves moving in the right direction if our child can remember to do some deep breathing one more time this week.  While we would love for our child to be in perfect health, we're blessed when we've had one less hospital visit this year than in the previous year.

The fact is that our lives may never be what others would consider "normal", but in working on certain issues, we can feel like we've made progress using a different "yardstick".  For example, the professionals working with us on my youngest child's IEP recently broke down for us each piece of her previous years goals.  When we examined where she was just one short year ago, the difference was remarkable to us.  Last year, she was disruptive in class, blurting out frequently, socially disconnected from others, a sloppy printer and apathetic learner.  Already her special education plan has helped her monitor herself in class, cut way down on disruptions, develop some new friendships, begin some lovely cursive writing, and begin to develop systematic learning habits.  It's easy to lose sight of this progress in the every-day demands of life, but it is huge!  We simply need to assess accomplishments in a markedly different way.

Furthermore, we must not succumb to the distaste others have for our children.  How many parents are marginalized by relatives, friends or neighbors who whisper insults about their child?  At heart-wrenching times like these, we must keep in mind that God is doing a perfect work in our children.  Those outside of the immediate situation are utterly clueless as to what is involved with parenting our sons or daughters.  Every child is "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14), and only their Creator knows the perfect timing to bring that child's character and abilities into their full completion.  God doesn't make mistakes.  He loves our children immeasurably more than we ever could.  Knowing this, we must be patient and cooperate with the time it takes to shape their progress.


Pray:  Abba Father, sometimes I feel stuck and defeated as a parent.  Open my eyes to the improvements being made.  Help me to remember that children don't grow in a day!  Grant me endurance and perspective.  And comfort me as I learn to cooperate with Your timing.

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