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>Living With Hope

March 18, 2011

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Despite the photo, this has not been an idyllic day. It was a “find the camera, take a deep breath and spend a moment alone behind the lense” morning.

You know how I knew? I heard myself saying out loud in a false-cheerful voice. “Baking cookies is supposed to be rewarding. Baking cookies is supposed to be orderly. Controlled. If we do not follow instructions they will not turn out right.”

Notice how in the photo Hope has control of the baking space? I’ll let you infer the rest.

*****

I’m not sure why I am so hard on myself. I’ve never raised a child like Hope before so I have no real-life experience (of my own) to draw on.

But I have seen echoes of this week: the two months it took us to dig out from under the behavioral fallout from our trip to Korea last October. The trip itself, the jet lag, the wallop of emotionally processing a return visit to her birth country…. Those first two months home were really rough.

This first week home after being gone at the hospital for Joy’s surgery we have seen the same unexpected backlash in Hope’s behavior.

I am not rejoicing in how this spike in challenging behavior feels. Or in how I’ve dealt with it. But I am choosing to rejoice that God did not let this season pass by. Instead, He provided some hard-won insights into how Hope functions:

  • She has the ability to “pass” for typical in favorable circumstances. But I have underestimated how much work it takes for her to hold it all together.
  • The hundreds of micro course-corrections I make being with her all day every day make a difference. I wasn’t aware they did. 
  • This is not what I have considered “work;” it flows naturally out of our mutual affection. That is a blessing; it has not always been true.
  • I’ve never articulated, even to myself, what makes it work. I need to ponder that because there is no job description to pass off to anyone else in the inevitable event I cannot be with her.  
  • Because I am with her most of the time, few others have the need or opportunity to figure her out. This is the flip side of what blesses me.
  • It is too big a job, too large a responsibility for me to carry alone.

That, I think, is why I feel responsible when Hope acts out. Her behavior seems like evidence that I haven’t done my job as a mom.

*****

Where I have I heard that before?

Raising children, we have been told, is like baking cookies.Raising children is supposed to be rewarding. Raising children is supposed to be orderly. Controlled. If we do not follow instructions they will not turn out right.

How foolish is that? Who controls the baking space in this universe anyway?

****

“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:3-7

*****

These things I call to mind and therefore I have hope.

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