Sunday, April 19, 2015

When Mama Knows Best

This weekend, we headed out of town to visit friends.
 
Packing for a trip involves me being a perfectionist. (Meaning, I drive myself and everyone else a little crazy.) I needed this trip to be relaxing, so I decided…no stress, including packing stress. Besides, it was only for one night. If we forgot something, no big deal. So I declared that I was going to be laidback (gasp) and let everyone pack themselves. I even packed my bag in under 10 minutes.
 
Here is what we forgot to... bring: a hairbrush, a toothbrush, one kid’s pajamas, another kid’s shirts, socks, my tennis shoes, flip-flops, floaties and a swimsuit. (But my oldest son who forgot to pack even one shirt to wear brought his trophy for Best Craftsmanship from his Stockade Derby Competition. He set it on the nightstand so it would be near him while he slept. Priorities, I guess.) We made do and had a great time, but it would have been nice if we could have all combed our hair. And I missed my tennis shoes.
 
My conclusion: you know those mama-knows-best-so-I-am-going-to-be-a-perfectionist-even-if-it-drives-my-family-a-little-crazy type of moments we as moms have? I think that it’s sometimes okay. Especially when it is for the greater good. (Which it usually is.) ;)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Reading, 3rd Grade and What God Reminded Me

My oldest son cried every day for 2 years about it.  Every day.  

It was horrific. I started to dread it…

…the 20 minutes every day his teacher said he must do it...

Read.

All through kindergarten reading time, he cried. By the middle of first grade, I started to cry too. Oh, we had our good moments.  Like, when we snuggled together and started a book without crying. But somewhere in the middle of Sam I Am not wanting any green eggs and ham, my son teared up and it had nothing to do with the food. He hated to read. It was painful. So painful, I began wondering if this reading thing was just a fad. Could we wait it out? Would cave man drawings come back into style? He could do stick figures.

But during parent-teacher conferences at the end of 1st grade, his teacher gave us the kind but stern talking to that our son needed to learn to read. His reading scores were low. Like, his cousin had similar reading scores before he even entered kindergarten.

Ugh. When the teacher told us it was urgent we get our son back on track, I knew it had gotten serious. School will always be incredibly hard for him if he couldn’t even do the basics – read.

Stress. Prayer. Encouraging. Talking to. Practice. And more reading. My son finally caught on. By 3rd grade, he loved it and was reading chapter books on his own.

Then we got the letter.

This time, it wasn’t the letter showing his below average reading scores, but an invitation – to be in the gifted program for reading at school.

I almost fainted. What the what???

I thought maybe it was really for the smart little neighbor girl across the street, but it said my son’s name. It had to be for him.

Look. I am not the type of parent who thinks my kid needs to be honors everything or really anything. (I teach high school and I know regular courses are rigorous enough.) It’s not about that. It’s about the fact that for two long years success in reading seemed hopeless. Painfully hopeless. I thought he would always be behind. I couldn’t see that maybe it would still click for him, just later than I hoped.

But God is gracious. He answered my prayers and gave my son a love of reading. But God didn’t stop there. Because He is good...because He likes to knock my socks off...as a result of that struggle, God showed me big love by speaking His truths to my heart.

God reminded me He is worthy of my trust. Because, He always has a plan. So often - especially in parenting – I can go from calm to panic in about 1.75 seconds. But, do I really need to? When I reflect on my life, God has always showed up. No, He hasn’t always changed my situation. Sometimes my situation stays the same, but God changes me. He gives me renewed perspective and deep peace through difficult moments. I better learn to: “Trust in Him at all times” (Psalm 62:8, NIV). 

God also reminded me that our weaknesses cannot stop Him from moving. Our weaknesses are nothing to God. So what should weaknesses be to us? How about a place to look for Jesus to show His power in our lives. Because we know on our own, we fall short.  So when we find victory in our struggle, who the victory comes from seems obvious. We can better understand: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me" (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV).

Who said that the ordinary isn’t extraordinary? That God can’t speak to us in the middle of life’s moments? Do you ever think this?  I have, but it’s not true. Like the wind through the trees, his Holy Spirit moves among us and speaks to our hearts. Beautiful lessons are taught and re-taught through life's everyday moments and challenges. God spoke to me through turning tears over Green Eggs and Ham into an invitation for the gifted program in reading. What has God taught you lately?