Wednesday, September 19, 2018

After the 8th Day of School

We have had our 8th day of school.
We had 4 days and then one day and then we waited for the Hurricane.

After the Hurricane, we send the relief help and prayers to those who are suffering in the Carolinas as we send our children back to school seeking rhythm and routine.

And today is the the 8th day of school.

We've been figuring out the middle school schedule.
Grace typically takes a small dose of her ADHD medicine at 3pm....but school doesn't start to dismiss until after 4 and she's home by 4:30pm.
Yesterday we talked with her doctor about this and he said, "We'll just see if she needs it or not."

Well- she does.
We saw that clearly today.
A person with ADHD uses a huge amount of energy and focus just to get through the day.

Add to that anxiety-- and it can be even harder.

Every ounce of energy and self control is harnessed in order to navigate what other folks may see as simple tasks.

Simply figuring out the most logical order to do tasks can be difficult for someone who has ADHD and anxiety.

This also can open them to see things in surprising and creative ways...

Tonight Grace was exhausted.
And she had nothing left- no energy to be with people, no energy to navigate and function even when given clear instructions and expectations.
We had moments when I thought I was asking her to do something simple- ( you may watch a show after homework is completed) but given her reserves and resources (or lack of) it was like asking her to climb a mountain.

And she melted down.

She could not process it all.

She was zooming in to obsess over this one thing she had to do. And I was not letting her have it. At least, that's how she saw it.

Then she was embarrassed because we were at church and other people saw her.

Wednesdays for us mean --church dinner and small groups.

I had a small group to lead, my husband had a group to lead, her sister was in bible study too....

She wanted to go home.
She had never taken her plate from dinner to the window, so it never got scraped or cleaned.
So-- I made her clean it up.
Again--- mean mom.

It's hard to find the places where you give in and where you maintain a semblance of structure and personal responsibility.
So on this-- I said she couldn't just leave the dirty plate and I wasn't going to do it for her.
I would be with her and help her. She did the washing and I helped squirt the soap and rinse.

She went to the car, I went to pack up my things....

We began to process it on our way home...but she really wasn't even in a place to be able to process.

But we were able to get one thing clear.

She said, "Everyone saw me. Everyone will think I am a maniac or that there is something wrong with me."

I said, "No- there is nothing wrong with you. You were not able to be your best self tonight because you were not medicated. This is not about you-- this is about not having the resources you needed to be your best self. Do you see the difference?"

I am more productive when I've had coffee.
I'm really productive when I've had a full night's rest.
I have been known to be snappy when I am hungry.

I tried really hard tonight to be generous.
To be filled with a generous amount of empathy when she said repeatedly, " I hate you" or "You are the worst."
Because I know she is not able to be her best self right now.

On my best day I will never be "the best" mom/pastor/wife/person and on my worst days I won't be "the worst." I'll just be me doing the best I can with what I have at that moment.

Most of us are just doing the best we can with what we have at any given moment.

Whenever I see people struggling, I want to be able to be generous.
I want to be able to be filled with the kind of empathy that leads me to simply meet them where they are and acknowledge that they may be doing the best they can with what they have available at that given moment.

That is not ever an excuse....

We can grow our capacity and our ability to deal with difficult situations.

We can expand our resources and reserves so that we are ready to be resilient through challenges.

But we will also never be ready to perfectly handle everything that comes.

But That is what I want to do.

I want to know the exact right thing to do and say at every moment.

I want to be able to do the right thing that won't set my child off.
But I can't operate that way.

I want to be able to never have to hold her while she cries and calls herself names.
But I know this will happen again.

I want to never hear her say, "I hate myself and I want to die."
But these words have become ingrained her her system and it will continue to take work to remove them.

I want to make it through this November without her spiraling into depression.
Because I have done that the last two years, and I don't want to go there again.

I mostly want a guarantee that she will live a full, happy, and fruitful life being able to always access the best of herself.

But the world whispers to me, "There are no guarantees."

And faith says back, "Yes there are."

I know God will always love us.
I know Jesus will always walk with us (often carrying us).
I know the Holy Spirit breathes deep breathes in me and through me.

And I know the same is true for Grace.

I'm going to hear "You're the worst mom ever" and "I hate you" again.

But for tonight I am thankful I have a two girls who are asleep in their beds and they know they are loved.

After hearing Sophia share the daily "Tell me 5 things about school today" I said, 'Why do you think I want to hear about your day so much?" She laughed and in a non-sassy/ more silly way-- rolled her eyes and said, "I know! Because you love me!"

After finishing her homework tonight with the TV off- Grace said, "That was so much easier!"
So much easier than what?
Easier than her trying to do it with the TV on!
i said, 'Yeah- now you can enjoy your show... because the work is done."

There is always an "after"

After we get more sleep.
After we have taken the medication we need.
After we have had food.
After we are calm, collected and ready to be kind....
After we have exchanged our warring hearts for hearts of peace.....

Jesus showed us this....

After the storm.
After the tables were turned over.
After a lot of prayer.
After denial and desertion.
After pain and sacrifice.
After forgiveness and grace.
After 3 days.

After.. . always comes resurrection.

Praying for all those who struggle tonight.
All those wishing they could skip to the after, but who are right now in the messy middle.
Praying they can feel God loving them in it,
praying they can see Jesus walking beside and leading them through it,
and praying they can access the Holy Spirit power to breathe in the midst of it.


Friday, June 29, 2018

Nights Like This

On the nights when the anxiety rages and roars
On the nights when she hits and kicks and punches
               The walls, Herself, Us
On the nights she screams
             Words of hate and harm

On these nights 
I just breathe.
I pray.
I tell him to take her sister out of the room
I tell her how much we love her.
I tell her we are here.
I try to remind her of who she is.
I get her to her room.

She rages and I pray for rest to come.
I wrap my arms around her, but I am pushed away.

I just sit.
And I stay.
I am here. 
I am not going anywhere.
I love you.
You are not alone.
I whisper and pray these words
Until she is fully asleep.
I lay my hand on her back and thank God for her breaths.

Keep breathing in her Lord.
We are on a journey we did not ask for.
But this is where we are.
And we are All in.
Nothing will separate us from God's love.
We will be sustained.
Nothing will stop our love for our girl.
And we believe
That not even this monster that rages
            A monster that thrives and triggers
            A monster that tries to steal our child
This monster of mental illness will not win.
She is stronger.
We are stronger.
Our faith is stronger. 
Her faith is stronger.
God is here.

Setting my mind on the Spirit

 It's the first week of Lent.  I decided I wanted to write and reflect more for Lent.   Years ago-- I wrote on this blog more often and ...