We moved recently. And not just across town. We moved from the southernmost tip of Texas to mid-Tennessee. We moved as an act of faith, believing that God wants us in Tennessee to help out with a mission that is just starting up.
We suspected that the move would be hard on our children, and, while it was also fun and exciting, our sweet three-and-a-half year old son and our precious, very active nine-month-old baby girl (who hates her car seat, incidentally) went through some major upheaval. I realized through this move how hard it is to take my children on journeys that are sure to be fraught with hardships. Radical faith is not as romantic as some would have us to believe. But without radical faith in a radical God, life would be so empty. I want my children to grow up seeing that while life may be hard, God is an always-faithful Father, the Father who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. The Father who will never ever let us down.
But this move has been tough in many ways. First, our son spent the final day of our road trip with a high fever and nausea (and yes, he did puke all over the moving truck). Then, right after we finished unloading the moving truck, the baby and I came down with the same mysterious sickness.
After about a week, we were all on the mend. And that is when the wild emotions kicked in, for all of four of us. My husband and I felt confused, disoriented, and tired. Baby girl was fussy fussy fussy. And little man threw tantrums like none we have ever seen before. We questioned our parenting. What had we done wrong? And then, my wise husband said, "You know, maybe he just feels as lost and confused as we do, and he doesn't know how to express his feelings." That statement put our entire family on the road to healing, as husband and I turned to God's grace, and realized that this was our chance to pour out His grace toward our son.
What did this look like?
-Lots of hugs, lots of verbalizing feelings for our son
-Refusing to be embarrassed by our sons little bits misbehavior, realizing that he felt out of control
-Establishing a routine (will do a post on this one soon)
-Letting our son see us turn towards God when we were struggling
-Spending time enjoying and playing with our children
Our little guy also became quite aggressive after the move. It seemed that he was taking out his frustrations on his baby sister. Husband and I had an earnest talk one night, in which we decided on a plan to help our son realize that, while he was allowed to have his feelings, he was not allowed to hurt his sister. Every time he screamed at her, pinched her, or tried to kick her, we implemented "you hit, you sit," except we used his big, soft bed in the room as the place for him to sit. We said these words each time, "Uh, oh, you may not hurt your sister. When you are ready to treat her kindly, you may come out of your room." Key to this, was to not shame, scold, lecture or punish. We simply wanted our son to see that he could control his actions toward his sister. It was beautiful to see our little guy begin to treat his sister with respect; and to see him grow in the realization that he could control himself.
I want all of my blog readers to know that I plan to post more frequently in the future, and I also plan to revamp my blog soon to include pictures and be more friendly to read.
Grace truly covers a multitude of sins. May we revel in God's grace daily, clinging to Him as we press on towards the finish line.