14 September 2008

Sorry. Being Christian to Someone Else.

One thing I've noticed in my own personal Christian walk is that there are so many opportunities we miss. We really need to miss some of them, so that we can go for the one we feel God's called us to accomplish right now.

For example... Once I was out with the four littlest children getting shots for J and S. They were two and a half hours waiting in a no doubt germ-infested room. They were tired and crabby and hungry and Elf and Emperor were tired and crabby and hungry. I had to go to the bathroom, I felt dirty and I was picking up screaming, tired infants and going on my way into the house.

That's when my very elderly neighbour started to come over to say 'hi.' I told her she was welcome to come in with me and have lunch with us, but that everyone was really hungry and crabby and needing of a peanut butter sandwich. I felt awful seeing her walk away, knowing I could have spent a bit of time chatting with her, but she knew she wouldn't have my full attention and went home. But if I did that, and put the children downstairs and really spent the time she'd wanted right then, I'd have HAD to ignore my children and their very immediate needs. She's one of those people, God bless her, you have to have QUIET to hear, and you have to watch her carefully because she forgets things and she's unsteady on her feet.

I still don't know that there is any good way to handle such things.

Or the church nursery. You know what? I've signed up for monthly nursery duty because having two of the ten or so children under four kinda obligates me. It really is the least I can do. I know I "ought" to volunteer in childrens' church and in the youth group since I also have two children in each of those areas. But I don't. I must be lazy!

Honestly, every day, I just think I have one more day to get through somehow. I don't know... Then the next day I think I just have one more day to get through somehow... I have just spent EVERY bit of energy constantly changing diapers, feeding children, homeschooling, disciplining. CONSTANTLY. I sit around for maybe 20 minutes in the morning, and another 20 at night. Otherwise, this is life. I leave my internet up alllll day long and as I walk by I can see if someone left me a comment, a lifeline to the outside world. Yes, I am that sad. Yes, that is the entirety of my social life. Thanks for enabling me. ;]

Or, you know, in order to help THIS child and change his poopy diaper, I must ignore the other one with the math problem or another baby howling for a bottle. Sometimes it's hard for me to figure out which comes first: bottle or math? "Both" I find too hard to do simultaneously because I'm a crappy parent. Should it be "make lunch" or "pull J off the wall for the 5,000th time today," knowing that the second I turn my back to make his stupid lunch, there he goes again standing upside down on the couch with his feet in the windowsill? Or J has just kicked or stepped on the girlie again. Comfort the girlie or make J sit in time out? Something is very wrong with me that I can't do "both" effectively at the same time. And when is the kid going to "get it?" I'm frustrated!

Am I less of a Christian that I must prioritize my deeds every day, all the time? Because guess what, sometimes I eat my lunch and let Elf and Emperor work out their differences alone. Sometimes I've just had it. Am I less of a Christian because I don't live for Jesus any more? I just live for my children. Because that's all I really am. ALL I really do. Or perhaps I am not a Christian at all if I don't see "greater purpose" to my life. I could tell you about everyone else's. Maybe, just as I am blind to my own faults, I am blind to my own good qualities as well.

OK, so here I am complaining more... to describe it... I am swimming. I can't stop or I will drown. Every day, I tell myself I just have to do this for today. I can't think about what will happen tomorrow. If I think about it, it becomes too much and I don't know how I'm going to cope. I don't know how other people do two things at once. But I wish I could. Sorry.

So how do other parents manage their children *and* volunteer for stuff? Maybe just because their children aren't autistic and don't flip out in public, it's easier? Maybe they have a better biology than I do and don't get stomachaches when they think of being in a crowd or leaving the house? Maybe still better, they have more of God than me? Does it work like that? I pray about it, but still feel like throwing up when it's time to get ready for church. I will say that church is better for my health than "public school," because going there made me dizzy, headachy AND wanting to throw up.

Am I allergic to places where good works need to be done? What is wrong with me? I'm sure not going to ask a doctor. Last time I mentioned offhand that I don't drive on highways ever because I'm sure I'll die if I do and I get so nervous I do stupid things, the doctor said they have a prescription for that. (???) How on earth can you prescribe away the fact that my intestines will wind up on the highway because all the OTHER cars are going too fast? Just as an aside, if there were a national speed limit proposed I'd vote for "30" with strict enforcement. All you people make me nervous :]

Perhaps this is a phase. I don't remember feeling this overwhelmed when I had "only" four children. Maybe when they get bigger, it isn't as hard to handle? Well, that's my hope. This post has been very difficult to write and taken me several days. I wonder what you are going to say about it.

11 comments:

  1. I am not only sure I will die a horrific death on the highways, but on side streets as well. I can drive in my apartment complex parking lot just fine though : D

    On a related note, have you seen "What About Bob?" It's one of the funniest movies ever made, and crazy people like us can relate to it a lot. You should rent it. It never gets old, even if you've seen it.

    As for my un-expert words of encouragement, I think it's safe to say your kids are more important than the neighbor lady and your response to her was great anyway.

    It seems to me like there is some sort of pressure within the church in general to out-achieve the next guy...for the Lord of course. You mean you're not a missionary in Africa? What good are YOU?

    This is one area where we do have some freedom, is it not? God knows our individual circumstances and limitations. I have struggled with this too. 'Member when you encouraged me when I wrote about how people have tried to tell me the reason I don't want to be a missionary is God's way of telling me to leave my comfort zone?

    You're serving in the mission field of your home...who else is gonna do it?

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  2. Catherine said some good stuff there. I won't bother to repeat it, just re-read her comments [smile].

    And as for my own comments... I think I need to wait until the kids have arrived. Until then, I'm not speaking from experience. [laughing]

    Hang in there! God loves you, and we do too!

    ~Luke

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  3. Ah, Mrs. C, you are not a bad mom. You are a busy, over-worked mom, like so many others. And, this is a SEASON; it does not mean it will always be this way. God sees you, dear one. He loves you unconditionally. Why don't you print out some favorite bible verses and post them around your house? That way, you'd be getting a dose of the word, despite being so busy.

    I know in some states you can get an aide to come in a few times a week (or as needed) to help with special needs kids. Have you looked into that? It might give you a little break.

    As for J hurting the baby, and who to approach first: I don't remember where I heard or read it, so I can't give a reference. However, I always comforted the hurt child first, and let the other watch. Then, once the hurt child was comforted, I would deal with the offender. That way, if the offender is just looking for attention, he sees that his actions did not get him immediate gratification.

    Your mission field is your home. You are dealing with special needs kids. You do not need to be "volunteer mom" at this point in your life. 'Nuff said.

    I won't even ask why your husband isn't giving you a break now and then...

    Hugs to you, sister. Praying for you today.

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  4. Your kids are the ministry that God's given you. If only more moms put their kids before their "ministry". You're doing a great job juggling it all!

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  6. I'm just going to write "thanks for the kind comments" and leave it at that. :]

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  7. Well, I must be UnChristian and a lousy mum, because reading this reminds me so powerfully of all the reasons why I only have one child! LOL. Seriously, you're doing just fine the way you are. Jesus himself would be proud of you, I think.

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  8. I feel overwhelmed and I only have three kids. It's not easy being a parent, is it?

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  9. lol. I was soo tired all the time I went to the doctor; there had to be somehing wrong, right? She looked me in the eye & told me, 5 kids & you expect *not* to be tired. It was not helpful & did not help my problem. Oh, plus people think 'cause I homeschool I'm home all day & free to do those icky jobs no~one wants to take on. Ummm, well, no. I homeschool & I am NOT available till the end of term. Actually I am not available then either because I am having a BREAK before I kill someone. So I hear ya sister & I'm right there in the same paddock with ya! If that makes me a lousy Christian so be it. My kids need me more than anyone else.

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  10. I just wanted to give you hugs. I often feel guilty when turning down volunteering or calling someone to check on them or not picking up litter or... I have to constantly remind myself, family before all of the other stuff outside of our home. I tell myself when the kids get older, I will have more time for the "greater good."

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  11. Hi, Mrs. C,

    Here are a couple of resources that you might want to check out: Interactive Metronome and SonRise Program. My daughter with sensory integration disorder was helped greatly with the Interactive Metronome therapy.

    --Millie at Christian Values Legacy

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)