Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hard but good

We (the girls and I) went to Indiana this weekend to see my sister and brother in law and our nieces. Karen(sister in law) has three girls. Bethany is 6 and the twins Caroline and Rachel are 4. We were taking Alaina so she could stay the week with them. Overall, it was a great weekend...beautiful weather to go to the park and be outside. We watched the girls have a "ball" in the livingroom dressed in their princess dresses and dancing around together. We were able to go the the Indianapolis Children's Museum 2 different days!! If you ever get a chance to go to this museum don't pass it up....it's the best I've ever been to. So anyway, about the hard part. The girls were playing well together but we were having a few issues the first few days.....Alaina getting frustrated while playing and hitting or speaking in an unkind way to the others. Of course, the hitting usually resulted in someone hitting back. Alaina never had one conflict with Bethany and she was saying she didn't want to play with Caroline and Rachel. I know all of these behaviors(and my own!) reveal what's in her heart...sin! "Out of the overflow of the HEART the mouth speaks." I felt like we weren't getting anywhere as I talked through it with her. The day we were leaving, we decided to go back to the children's museum on our way home. And, so begins the events that led to my breakdown!! :) Oh, I forgot...before we ever got to the museum we ate at Chick-filet and Alaina hit one of the girls in the play area so I made her sit out the rest of the time. She cried and cried but we kept her sitting on the bench in the play area so it wouldn't be so annoying for everyone eating lunch. ok, so we get to the childrens museum and Alaina was being unkind to Caroline and Rachel("I don't want to play with them")....this breaks my heart because I know how hurtful it can be. I've seen other kids do it to Alaina and how it affected her. Then, after we talk through that, she runs onto the carosel without waiting on us so I make her sit out (again) while everyone else rides. Again, she cried and cried but there were so many kids there it didn't seem so loud. At this point, I'm really wondering if we should leave her for at Karen's for the week. I leave Karen with her girls and Elley so that I can go change Mary Helen's poop that was coming out her diaper(Alaina goes with me.) So before I change Mary H. , I call Billy to see what he thinks about me leaving Alaina at Karen's. His points were good. He said if Karen was up for the challenge that we should leave her so that some of these issues could be worked on. (being kind to the twins, learning to use kind words when she's frustrated, having an extended time to obey other adults, etc. ) Not that we can "fix" her but we can TRAIN her and God has to change her heart. I can never do that no matter how much discipline and correction I give her. And thank you God for that because if takes off a lot of pressure!! So as I hang up with Billy and am finishing up Mary Helen's diaper I hear Elley crying outside the bathroom. In walks Karen holding Elley whose kicking and crying. She had run away from Karen..."the entire length of the museum." I go out of the bathroom and tell Elley she has to sit in the stroller and be buckled in because she ran away. This makes her cry even more , along with Alaina who is crying again because she had to get out of the stroller so that Elley could sit!!!!!! I look at both of them and say "we are leaving if you are going to continue to cry and if you can't obey....I'm not going to do this." And as quick and you can snap your fingers I was sobbing. Sweet Karen comes over to me and says "it's ok, we've all been there...just laugh about it!!" She takes all the girls with her while I cry in the bathroom stall. I even had a lady ask we if I was ok through the door :) I have my good cry all the while saying to myself "I'M JUST DONE!!!!!!!!!" But, the thing is, we are never "done" with our children just as God is never done with us. But, that's where my heart was. After all this I find Karen and she was such an encouragement. She reminded me of how Billy was as a child an said that Alaina reminded her of him. "With the right direction, just look at what she will become...just look at Billy." She said "I want you to leave her...I'm up for the challenge and I love her!" I so felt like she spoke such words of GRACE to me and not even a hint of judgement. You know what that's like, when you feel like others have no grace for your kids...it's a horrible feeling. The rest of the day went surprisingly well....the kids did great and God had used Karen to encourage me. Me, Elley and Mary H. left and I prayed a lot on the way home. I prayed for strength and wisdom for Karen and Jeff and for Alaina's heart... that she would "get it." How often do I not "get it." Her sin always points me to my own and it's a good reminder that I need God's grace as much as she does!! We'll see how the week goes...I'll keep you posted. I'm reminded of a song we sing at church....

Your amazing grace is perfectly free

Day by day your grace empowering me

to please you in all things

to walk in your ways

completely forgiven


Jesus, Thank you!


Kristin said...

Aw... Hope, I'm going to love reading your blog.

I MISS YOU!!! I am getting your email address from Jonny to invite you to my blog. You wouldn't think it would be this hard...!! In the meantime, I'm going to add a link to yours from mine.

Glad you're doing so well. I can't wait to read more.

Laura said...

Hello Atchisons! Al and I can't BELIEVE how big Holden is! Wow! 6 years flew by!

Amy said...

Hey Hope...It's Amy Cook. I can't believe that Holden is 6 years old. Where are you guys moving to in AL - we are in bham. Don't days like this day you wrote about make you love God more...we do the same things are kids do and as you said He is never done with us. and that he loved us enough to set right our relationship with him in spite of all that sin. I am glad to see your beautiful family...tell Billy John and I said hey.

Jimmy Thompson said...

Hey Hope:
I can understand the day you described in your "post." The reason I can is that we had a couple of days like that when we kept Alaina & Elley (fireballs, as Blake calls them)-----JUST KIDDING! However, hopefully, God does not get as "emotional" as we do----otherwise, we would have been zapped out of here a long time ago. It's good that He continues to provide His grace, and, teach us some good lessons along the way to eventually get us "done."
By the way, you could tell Billy that you can't promise to keep your "least favorite" photo on the blog, and then find out if he is gracious!!