I know that we have to get Mantha's story up. Without the background a lot of what we are learning is meaningless but since we have this blog and since we had a "Monday" (yes on a Tuesday) I wanted to post about today.
Parenting is a challenging and daunting task even under the best of circumstances. Parenting a child who has medical issues, developmental delays, and learning challenges goes beyond challenging and daunting. It goes beyond overwhelming, tiring and yes even frustrating. How do you take into consideration "special needs" without coming across as giving "special privileges".
How do you hold her to the same Godly standards as her sisters without violating the scripture that commands parents to not exasperate their children?
So what has this got to do with learning patience? I believe the Lord is teaching me patience as I learn how to parent Mantha. I don't feel patient. I feel frustrated when she screams and screams and at the same time I Know I can NOT back down. I can not let her think that screaming is acceptable. I can NOT say "oh well she doesn't understand" because she does! Maybe she doesn't have the same reasoning skills but she knows and *understands* that she is not getting her own way and that is why she is screaming. She wants her own way and she understands that she is NOT getting what she wants. It's a temper tantrum.
It has taken us YEARS of praying. Years of seeking the Lord and asking Him for wisdom and discernment. Wisdom for us to know when she understands and when she doesn't and discernment to know when she is manipulating us and when she is frustrated.
So this morning, she pours herself a second bowl of cereal (yea! We're gaining independence and the skills necessary to take care of herself.) and then decides she's "stuffed" and won't eat it. (uh, no go. You served yourself and the rule is if you take it, you eat it).
Patience, I think I'm starting to get it. Maybe. She screamed. She cried. I cried out to the Lord to help me. I realized that despite my emotions, I did have some measure of patience. It takes patience to see the BIG picture and not just the moment. It takes patience, to stop and pray and not to react with my gut emotion. (Which would have been to scream right back at her. *sigh* she does know how to push my buttons!) Sure it would have been easier to give in and not hold her to the same standards as her sisters but I don't believe that to be in her best interest. Today my patience has been tried. I didn't feel patient. But do you have to *feel* patient to *act* patient? I was able to calmly, restate the rules. I was able to take and spend the time working on this character issue. I think I'm beginning to see the Lord's hand as He molds me to be conformed to the image of Jesus.
When all was said and done, I held her close on my lap. We snuggled and then she went and ate her required 6 bites. I left the table, satisfied that she had obeyed. A few minutes later, a very happy little girl brought her EMPTY bowl to me and said "Look mama, I ate it all". Thank you Lord for granting me the patience to persist in seeing it through to the end.