By Patricia Beal | @bealpat
Habit. I like what I produce under pressure. But this is different. Today is different.
Maybe it goes back to the old advice: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Maybe it’s fear of being exposed and feeling vulnerable through/because of what I have to say.
Maybe it’s the enemy planting doubt and fear in my head because a post like this can bless others who might be feeling the same way, thinking they’re alone, inadequate, and lacking.
Well here we go.
I read a lovely guest post by Joanna Davidson Politano, author of the new novel A Rumored Fortune. I encourage you to read it (the post and the novels—she’s very good) - https://www.morethanareview.com/guest-post-by-joanna-davidson-politano-author-of-a-rumored-fortune/.
In the post, she talks about her vineyard research for this latest novel, and I had a “Tig” moment. Yes, I know, The Tig is now history. But I will always thing of “aha!” moments as “Tig” moments, thanks to Meghan Markle.
Vineyards do produce more fruit than they can possibly support while still maintaining a healthy and strong connection to the vine.
Lives too can produce too much fruit for the Christian to nurture while still maintaining a healthy and strong connection to our True Vine, Jesus Christ.
Pruning is a must. Something’s gotta give. And you don’t want it to be the quality of the connection to The Vine. Like Joanna says on the post, a poor connection results in fruit that may look good but is bitter and immature.
You can do some pruning yourself, but God will often prune too.
I think this is the hardest part. There are tons of great and godly things out there for us to do, and we says “yes” a lot. Then next thing we know, we are too heavy with busyness to have enough quiet time with God and enough time in His Word. The connection gets weak. We begin going through the motions. Our fruit may look good on the outside (emphasis on “may”) but is bitter and immature. Fruit on survival mode.
Last month I cut off one big thing and a smaller one, and God cut another big thing.
Self-pruning part I:
I stopped dancing. I was in three studios and struggling to pick one. In my attempt to decide, I realized that my motives were all wrong. I was doing it for the applause. I was doing it because it felt good to be an older dancer. I was doing it because people always talked about how good I looked. That’s no reason to spend time away from family. I waited for a good class, one I could hang my hat on in case I never go back and walked away. I was taking lyrical for the first time and stopped after dancing Hamilton’s “Dear Theodosia.” It felt good to dance that song, and it feels good to be done. When/if kids leave the home, and I get bored, I can do something with dance again.
Self-pruning part II:
I stopped promoting Facebook posts to the rate I used to and at times don’t post daily anymore. I did this in part because I’m depressed about the writing life—there, I said it—and in part because I don’t think it’s wise to continue spending what I spend in writing endeavors.
Oh my goodness, there are so many folds to this statement. It could be a post in itself, but it would be too sad. Having Asperger’s, I have to fight for joy and fight to be comfortable in my own skin. As a Christian, I feel horrible. I’m supposed to be full of joy. I shouldn’t have to fight for it. I’m supposed to be thankful, but I have to constantly remind myself of what I have and if how far I’ve come, or my brain navigates naturally to the negative.
It’s okay though. Allen Arnold says feeling stuck is an opportunity to go places brand new with God. These are great podcasts.
Link to part 1: https://www.ransomedheart.com/podcast/when-your-story-stalls-part-1
Link to part 2: https://www.ransomedheart.com/podcast/when-your-story-stalls-part-2
And homeschool will begin soon with the best antidote to depression: Hope.
That (homeschool) brings me to the pruning God did.
The pruning God did:
He planted in my daughter’s heart the desire to go to school outside the home, and she begins fourth grade at our church’s academy on Friday.
Break to take my son to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu… Back. T minus ten.
My son… We struggle. I pray that in this year of homeschooling just him, we can figure out the way ahead. We’ve tried a lot of different strategies to help him. Nothing works. He now refuses to go to any place for any therapy or program. Jiu-Jitsu is it. He goes to church, but his participation is all over the place. The day he was supposed to go to the Hope Through Horses place (July post), he barricaded himself in his room and refused to come out.
I’m to the point I want to ask his pediatrician to reevaluate him and maybe take autism out of his official record since autism specialists who’ve spent hours and hours in our home have failed to help him time and again. I haven’t decided what to do about medication either. I took him off ADHD meds for the summer and am not sure if I want him back on. I don’t think it will be necessary for homeschool. I don’t think it has a positive impact on behavior.
As for now, the plan is to love him to death and see if I can figure out what’s really going on in that head of his. He is considering going to an academy too, but this year, when he asked, sixth grade was already full. I'm kind of glad. Maybe this is the year that we can figure each other out, bond better, and start working together as a family instead of hurting because of Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD).
If you know someone who struggles with ODD in the family, give them a hug for me. It’s so heartbreaking. As a parent you’re baffled every hour on the hour. Everything is a fight. And people think you just failed as a parent. With time you begin believing it’s really all your fault. Then you have to remind yourself about just how early the chaos started. For us, I remember locking myself in a bathroom with my newborn when little man was less than two. Yep, the anger and lack of control was so intense I was afraid that early. ODD is real. You don’t teach that intensity to a kid under two. Some people are born that way. Many end up in institutions. I’m committed to not letting mine end up that way.
I might be the one ending up in an institution though… Lol…
Okay, I will stop writing this blog post and take up journaling to sort out my emotions. Thanks for reading this far :o
A Mother’s Prayer
Oh, Daddy… (if you’re a Lucado fan, you know where this comes from)
How did I end up here and how do I get someplace better?
I have less than ten years left in these formative years with my kids. I’ve given it my all, but it doesn’t show. Why? Trips to the book store, to the library, to the playground, playdates, programs, intervention, no intervention, church, friends, parties, things, people. Is it me, Lord? Am I not enough for them?
I might not be enough, but You are. Give me wisdom to do this right. You promised you would. I’m begging. Give me wisdom.
Please give us a good school year. Please help me be joyful for them. Please help me show them my love. Please help them understand I’m human too and have weaknesses and needs.
If You don’t help me, I will continue to do all the work while they play. I can no longer fight over chores. I don’t have it in me. Not anymore. They win. I would rather just do it myself. But I know that’s bad for them. Give me wisdom. Strategies that work. Do a work in their hearts. I need You to intervene. I’m exhausted.
Forgive me for applying for government positions (five in the last 24 hours!) that I know I will probably not accept. Right now, how could I? I just need to know that beyond my front door there’s a normal world, where hard work pays off and achievement is recognized.
I know that within the front door You recognize my labor too, but I feel You so far away. A silly job offer for a job I cannot now take would give me more validation than Your love, always there. Isn’t that sad?
That must mean I’m ill connected. But this is something else I don’t know how to fix. In our walk too I’m doing my best. Now what?
“Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.”
1 Corinthians 13
By the way, we’re on waiting mode on the writing front. I don’t like waiting modes on any fronts. Boo.
Advice? I obviously need it…
Tales from mature parents of demanding kids? Those bring amazing comfort and that’s why I share my stories. It’s not to hear myself talk. It’s to let others in the trenches know they don’t hurt alone.
One more plug: Tricia Goyer’s new book is awesome when it comes to not feeling alone in the whirlwind. She talks a lot about letting God shape you in the middle of the madness instead of focusing solely on outcomes.
I promise I will try to post something more uplifting next time :)
She now writes contemporary fiction and is represented by Bob Hostetler of The Steve Laube Agency. Her debut novel, A Season to Dance, came out in May of 2017 (Bling! / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). A Portuguese translation just came out in her native Brazil on August 3, 2018 (Editora Pandorga). Patricia is a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. She and her husband live in North Carolina with their two children.
Goodreads - www.goodreads.com/bealpat
Facebook - www.facebook.com/patricia.beal.author
Pinterest - www.pinterest.com/patriciasbeal
Twitter - www.twitter.com/bealpat
Web - www.patriciabeal.com