Thursday, September 25, 2014

This is not the problem, this is a description of the problem.

So it's been 9,048,204 days since I've blogged. I've been just a little bit busy/overwhelmed the past several months between adjusting to working from home, moving into our new place, and moving full speed into the toddler years with Clementine [or shall I say, dragged kicking and screaming into the toddler years?].

And on that subject, let me just say, it's been r-o-u-g-h. People, especially parents, used to enjoy joking with me about how "independent" and "stubborn" and "strong-willed" I was as a child and I daresay that Clementine has outdone my former self in all of the aforementioned categories. The particular hurdle that I have had to overcome is that she is actually very sweet, polite, and agreeable--with the majority of people but me. I see how she says her "please" and "thank you"s to people, and she loves giving kisses and hugs and I have a hard time confiding in anyone that when it is just she and I, she is the least agreeable tiny being I have ever seen.

And of course, there's all the well-meaning advisors [commentators?]. Just be consistent, just give her grace. Don't spank her, you're not spanking her enough. This is the hardest stage, it only gets harder. Enjoy every stage and be grateful, I'm so glad I'm not in that boat because it's so much easier now. What you're doing will produce results if you just stick with it, you should probably rethink how you're disciplining. Every child is different and has different needs, x, y, and z are how you handle this, do not deviate.

I'm all but burned out on advice, which is never a good place to be (Proverbs 13:13) but I'm starting to think there really isn't a practical answer. Spanking or not spanking or consistency or grace---all of it has yet to yield a result. She doesn't scream less or hit me less or throw things less or tell me "no!" less, all behaviors have yet to be corrected so in the face of that and the utter exhaustion, I give up.

It was in the book of Habakkuk (say wha?) that just this morning I was given a sweet reminder and a lot of hope. The Lord is answering Habakkuk, who was disparaging what was going on in Israel and the surrounding nations and God says,  "Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told."

I needed to hear that this morning. I needed to be reminded that God is working even though I don't see the fruit right in front of me. I may not ever see the fruit. I may not see it for ten months or ten years. But God says He is working and therefore He is working.

Ultimately, nothing I do can bring about obedience in Clementine's heart. I may be able to cultivate outward obedience one day, but only God can change her heart. It's my job to be faithful and continue to sew the seeds. Some days that feels like a heavy burden I can never carry and some days I don't foolishly trust in myself. Sometimes I oscillate between both places in one day hour.

Just in case you're not a parent and this post was confusing: I love this sweet girl. It's hard, but she is our sunshine. When she goes to bed, Thad and I still talk about how much we miss her. You might find me looking at pictures of her on my phone at 11 o'clock at night because it's been HOURS since I've seen her sweet face. Don't get it twisted. She's my fave. I mean, look at this face:

She loves to wear all the head accessories. 

90% of my day.

I told her to "Show Grandpa her t-shirt" and this was how she posed.

Teenager much????