Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A little tweaking...

I feel like life is beginning to slow down a bit. We are all adjusting and "getting the hang of things" now that school has begun. It was a really rough start. Maybe on the outside it didn't seem like much, but those first two weeks of Brayden going to school were completely emotionally exhausting!

As parents, Darcy and I were on the verge of tears many a night...filled with frustration, confusion and a lack of answers. Brayden was acting out aggressively at school and it seemed like all of our efforts were failing and each day kept getting worse. He would come home completely exhausted and sensitive and we could hardly get him to communicate and tell us about his day. We thought the first week of school would be the worst, but week 2 proved us wrong. 2 trips to the office and phone calls from the principal, a phone call from his teacher and 4 out of the 5 days he was disciplined for hitting or pushing. We know our son. We understand that Brayden is active, has a lot of energy and is easily excitable. However, it was unusual for him to exhibit such aggressive behavior. And, he was acting out during the "fun" parts of the day (lunch, recess, snack time, etc.). We had so many questions and doubts. There was part of me that looked at him with frustration and wanted to wring his neck because I knew he knew better, and there was part of me that looked at him and my heart broke because I knew he was trying and was having an enormously difficult time coping and adjusting to this new and overwhelming routine. I think he was just as frustrated with himself. I worried that the aggression would lead to peer rejection and that all the focus on his negative behavior and the daily expressed disappointment from Mom and Dad would soon affect his self-esteem, leading into anxiety issues and a permanent dislike of school in general.

We tried tweaking and trying many things: a behavior chart at home that mirrored his behavior chart at school, a reward chart at home, we tweaked his diet and spent countless hours reading books and websites that offered advice and/or answers (in regards to hyperactivity, aggression, sensory issues and self-regulation, etc.), we changed our nighttime routine and adjusted our morning routine...and we were persistent in prayer. I spent many moments of many days on my knees in prayer. I asked everyone close to me to pray for Brayden and put him on my Bible study prayer list as well as our church prayer list. We were open to all ideas and advice and appreciate everything that was suggested and learned. We researched many topics via several avenues, but kept the Lord as our #1 resource for guidance and answers. And God is good...

I am so happy to report that the prayers and the tweaking have been successful! Week 3 was great and all of the aggressive behavior has subsided! Week 4 is off to a great start with today being his best day yet! We seem to have our old son back! He is still Brayden, lively and full of fun, in need of daily reminders...but not in a way that is interfering or disruptive during school. Thanks so much for everyone who listened and prayed! And thank you Lord for holding our marriage together during this time. Never once in our frustration or exhaustion did Darcy and I quarrel. We were a team and encouraged one another every step of the way. God is good!

So, we prayed...God answered...and everything turned out OK. You'd think that the story happily ends here, but in all honesty, it wasn't all that peachy and perfect. There have been some tugs at my heart throughout this whole process. During this trial, I must confess that I was having a bit of an "issue" with God. See, I had prayed all summer long for Brayden, for his future teacher, for his classmates and future friends. I was safeguarding and preparing him, right? Because I was proactive, the Lord should have answered my prayers, right? After all, there are probably many who didn't pray for these things ahead of time...perhaps? My prideful heart thought so. Wow, was I ever wrong. While Brayden was adjusting and improving in week three (an answer to prayer), the Lord was allowing me to take a good hard look at myself in the mirror...and I didn't really like what I saw. God doesn't owe me anything. He should be the One owed...He is ALL deserving of my trust, my faithfulness, my obedience and my gratitude ALL of the time. I certainly wasn't giving those things to Him wholeheartedly. While I was persistent in prayer, deep in my heart I was still questioning if He had heard me and feeling as if my prayers were unanswered, feeling as if I deserved for Him to answer them my way, in my timing. I realized that I am one of such little faith....and this wasn't even a huge storm in life. I didn't even give God a chance to respond to my prayers before taking (unjustifiable) "issue." I'm confronted with areas of pride and unbelief in my life. I'm realizing that I need to wait on Him, that at times He may answer my prayers in the way I desire, and there will be times that He won't. But that at ALL times, He is faithful and just... He is God, and He is good.

I've learned a lot over this past month. I was blessed to have an hour long conversation with my Gram last night and she mentioned that perhaps this trial was not just for Brayden, and may have been more about God growing me. I think she is right. Brayden's routine wasn't the only thing in need of tweaking, my heart was as well. It doesn't always feel good in the process, but afterall, I am still clay.

7 comments:

  1. Amanda .............
    i have really enjoyed going thru your blog reading your tidbits and how God is working. An awesome heavenly Father we have !!!!
    I feel your pain, last year we struggled with a teacher saying put Olivia on ritilan, ahhhhhh. Are you kidding me, she is 5 year old who loves life, such a people person, one of the top students in her class and you want me to do what because she can sit still etc. etc. I / and Travis said absolutely NOT, prayer is powerful !!! This year now that she is in first grade has been trully amazing. I knew it she didnt need meds, just conflict with other personality's and adjusting to what all day , 5 days a week school school life is like. God does mold us through our children and everyday blunders, joys. Thankfully He is a loving,forgiving and patient Father :) Parenting is hard work let alone just trying to be a normal and Christ like Mom,wife and woman. I cant thank you enough for your words, they are encouraging and just great to hear, keep it rolling !!
    gotta love technology and blogging at that, keeping up with one anothers daily life/families.
    sending love
    stephanie

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  2. Stephanie-
    OMG I didn't realize you had a blog! Thanks for your encouragement. I am so glad we can keep in touch this way!

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  3. Amanda, you're a very talented writer.

    I so appreciate how you articulated the struggle...am I lacking faith? Is God trying to teach me something? Is this just life in a fallen world?

    Pressing on...

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  4. Wow. Thanks for sharing your heart.

    I'm so happy to hear that school is going better for Brayden. But what's happening in your relationship with God is even more exciting!

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  5. SuperModel ...

    I love you!!!!!

    You are beautiful inside and out and are such an inspiration to me.

    Thank you for sharing your heart.
    Gonna go do some time in Kneeville myself now!

    XOXOXOXOX

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  6. Yeah Brayden and Yeah Amanda. I know this has been a streching time for you. Good to hear you may be on the otherside of it and with a better understanding of who God wants us to be. If I didn't know better, I would think our Bible Study was what we all needed this time around.

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