Thursday, January 24, 2013

I've Got My Mind Set On You

"You have all the grace you need for now. You don't have to worry about then. When then becomes now you'll have all the grace you need." Paul David Tripp's Facebook status, via my dear father-in-law

It's been a rough couple of weeks to start school.  I kept thinking it was just because we were out of routine, maybe give it a little time, but now I'm starting to wonder.

Every day except Friday, Ryan has ten spelling words to write, I talk to (or at, I guess) him about his vocabulary words, then we do his "word eraser" and we are done.  The word eraser is what he calls his reading fluency folder.  I think the term actually came from a TV show, but it's kinda derived from me calling it his "word race."  Either way, he likes that part.

Every day, when we pull in the driveway, I remind him the sequence of events.  First we go potty, then we do homework at the kitchen table, then he does pretty much what he wants (within reason).  Every day, up to this point, there may have been a bit of a fight but we always wound up getting things done.

Friends, it got so bad last week that I had to call my husband and tell him I needed him.  NOW.

I don't know if I've changed the way I do things, or maybe he's just sick to the teeth of his routine.  Thinking maybe he hated the way a pencil felt on paper I've let him use crayons, markers, and sidewalk chalk to complete the writing part of his work.  We've pulled out every trick we know.

Frankly, I'm tired of getting screamed at every time I open my mouth.

The people at school and church who deal with Ryan... and even those who don't... are encouraging and helpful as they can be.  I can honestly say that we all work together to make Ryan as successful at home, school, church, and beyond as he can be.

It's time for a change somehow.  Not sure what, but I'm pretty sure it's going to involve something that takes work, patience, creativity, and a good amount of all over time.  Because what we're doing is not working.  Taking away privileges in itself isn't working.  The promise of reward after completing a task using first/then language isn't working.  Something has to change, but I'm not sure what it is.

But I can tell you that, although we're at a point when we have no idea how things are going to go even this afternoon, we will try again.  We will not give up.  We will not give in.

With that said, there are times when we're at the end of our personal rope.  At those times, we've found that instead of plowing through, sometimes it's better to not give up but take a break.  We can't always.  But sometimes, we have to admit defeat for a few minutes.  Not give him what he wanted in the first place, but give him a break and give us a break.  When I can't have Eric or Eric can't have me to come and tag-team, sometimes the best we can do is take a break from pushing.

I can also promise you that we will start again.

I can promise you that we will be given all we need to deal with this afternoon, whatever phone calls we might get from school between now and then, tomorrow, and the rest of our lives.

There isn't a patience and grace bank account to which we can deposit or from which we can draw.  It will be given as we need it.  Sometimes it will come in the form of knowing when to quit. Sometimes it will come in the form of forgiveness of our mishandling of a situation.  But there is always enough.

We cannot reach high enough or be good enough to get it.  We have no currency to offer toward the purchase of these precious commodities.  We can only receive, and give horizontally to the others we come into contact as an overflow of our gratitude for the gift that has been bestowed upon us so very graciously.

So although I have no answers, and although the idea of having to coerce Ryan into doing his homework tonight makes my stomach churn, this morning I got Ryan in the van and scrolled to a song that I used to love as a child.  It's catchy, and I used to beg my Mother to let me listen to it on repeat when CD's first came to our apartment.  As I sang along, reaching over to tickle Ryan at certain points in the music, I began to see how the words fit.

And God rained the sweet manna of joy into my van.

Ryan giggled, I smiled.

"I've got my mind set on you."  

I reached over, poked, and tickled a little on "you."

"It's gonna take time, a whole lotta precious time... it's gonna take patience and time... to do it, to do it, to do it, to do it, to do it right, child."  

How true.

We giggled all the way to school.  He smiled, signed and said "I love you" in return to me, and I drove away amazed at what the Lord can use to remind us of His promises.  It will take time.  It will take patience.  We are not promised ease, but we are promised what we need.

Thanks be to God for his grace and joy and his promises... and for that silly, catchy song on that George Harrison album.

And for a mother who let me listen to it on repeat as a kid!   Thanks, Mom.

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