“I don’t feel so well.” This was where I started my day. We’ve been blessed in that the kids are not sick very often, so a bad cough or stomach upset can throw our day off completely. As it turns out, the youngest only had a sniffle, and was feeling well enough by the day’s end to help with cleaning her room.
The oldest had nothing on her planner for today—absolutely nothing. She completed her last science test for this semester on yesterday, making her second “A,” which leaves her with a solid “B” for the course (I’m believing God that she’ll be able to drop the first test score). So the normal Wednesday class time is no more until late January. When I saw that her planner was blank, everything in me wanted to tell her what she should do given the extra time she now had. But I’m learning, ever so slowly, a few lessons in raising a teenager and allowing her to make choices—even if they are different choices than I would make. So I waited. When she saw her empty slate, she began to list possibilities, and then followed with, “And I still didn’t get to watch the end of that science video( her class is recorded for those who are absent or who need more review). I think that’s why I got that last test question wrong.” Mind you, this is the science class that she asked to drop not too long ago, and the class that she’s now finished until January, and she wants to complete the review of a portion she missed? Wow! I was so impressed—with her for her commitment to excellence, and with me for keeping my mouth shut.
Months ago, I posted an entry authored by someone else that talked about the trouble with teens (see here). I’m convinced that the author is on to something when he addresses the issue of parents learning to trust. Interestingly enough, there is a meme circulating entitled “Talking about Teens.” In visiting the blogs of a few friends, I read through one of the latest weekly assignments. I found it intriguing, for lack of a better word, that the creator went out of his/her way to point out that the comments should be positive. I couldn’t help but think about our school year on last year, but I won’t reflect on it long, as things are too good now to spend time with the past.
On last year, not only did we have a tough year academically, we had a tough time in any area you name. If you’ve been a regular reader of this blog for more than, say, 6-8 months, you would know of our 4-month unemployment testimony (see here), which began in December of last year. Personally, that’s about as close to the time period as I can get, so I was taken back when my husband brought it up on the exact date, almost sharing it as if it were an anniversary. It shouldn’t have surprised me; men place so much importance on their jobs. It defines them, it gives them a place and a sense of prestige. Put simply, if you ask most women who they are, they will tell you about their families—married, x number of kids, etc. If you ask most men who they are, they’ll tell you where they work and what they do for a living. As an aside, my husband even talks about how he accompanied his dad to a banquet at the father’s church, full of senior men. These gentleman, well past the age of getting up to go to work each morning, still identified themselves in their introductions by where they retired from, how many years they were there, etc.
Well, anyway, as my husband talked about a year ago “to the day,” he thanked me for being so supportive of him and so resourceful during this year, which blessed me tremendously. I was glad that my husband thought of me as a help during this time, because I didn’t always feel so helpful. As we finally reach a point where ‘our souls look back and wonder how we got over,’ as the more seasoned saints say, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the kids, and how this whole experience has impacted them. A while ago I wrote an article for Heart of the Matter magazine talking about a child’s response to a household crisis. In a nutshell, children learn to respond by watching how you as parents respond. And so, as the kids and I read through the 44th Psalm today, I remembered our response. I even remembered sharing with the kids why we would spend time with this particular book. David wrote many of the psalms while in dire circumstances. He never failed, regardless of his state of being, to give God praise. Though I wouldn’t ask to walk through it again, I was even more thankful that God allowed the children to see us respond to what He allowed. I pray that the Holy Spirit will bring these times to their remembrance as they need them. Here are the words that resonated with me this afternoon, and I pray that they bless you as well:
We have heard with our ears, O God; our fathers have told us what you did in their days, in days long ago…
You are my King and my God, who decrees victories for Jacob.
Through you we push back our enemies; through your name we trample our foes.
I do not trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory;
but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame.
In God we make our boast all day long, we will praise your name forever. Selah (Psalm 44: 1, 4-8)