Friday, September 12, 2008

Voice of Truth

So I was feeling a bit downhearted yesterday. I feel like the past two weeks have been somewhat of an emotional roller coaster. Brayden will have a good day at school and I'll think we are making progress, and then we'll have an OK day (a friendly reminder and a warning) and then a "so-so" day (friendly reminder, warning, then a timeout) followed by a "not-so-good" day(friendly reminder, warning, timeout, recess time deducted and note sent home to parent). Yesterday turned out to be one of those not-so-good ones...ending with a phone call from his teacher and a disappointed mommy.

We really like Brayden's teacher and feel confident that she truly likes him as well (that's important!). She says that he is a good little boy, that he is polite and, in general, is not defiant or naughty...but that he needs a lot of reminders. So many that it is becoming disruptive to the class and she doesn't want him to be the "stand-out." And they are simple things like "Brayden, sit still please, stop talking, please don't interrupt, stay in line, be quiet, keep your hands to yourself, don't touch," etc. But because it is so frequent, she suggests we all get on the same page and come up with a behavioral chart for school and for home.

It seems so why so discouraged, right? I don't quite know, except that as a parent you try really hard to do and say the right things, to teach and train and be a good example to your children. And, sometimes it feels like those efforts aren't working. It can be overwhelming and exhausting and emotional. I don't want Brayden to be known as the trouble-maker. I just want him to be a normal kindergartner who can follow the rules, pay attention, listen, learn and be respectful. Why is that so hard to do?

It's easy to slip into a mini-pit and feel like you've failed somehow...then the doubts, worries and inadequacies enter the picture and try to consume you. That's where I was today...but I am making a choice to overcome these thoughts.

When I dropped Brayden off at school today he did not want me to leave and chased me out of the classroom as I tried to go (didn't leave me with warm fuzzies). And then Brooke and I go to the gym and she is doing the same thing when I try to leave her in the childcare center. I really was not in the mood to exercise. I wanted to curl up and just avoid people, avoid life...but I was looking forward to listening to my ipod. I can't count how many times music has ministered to my soul...and today was one of them as well.

I was chugging along on the was a Casting Crowns day and the song "Voice of Truth" came on. Normally, I just forward past that song looking for a more upbeat one to keep me motivated...but today I chose to listen. I have heard this song a hundred times before. It's a good one, but today it really spoke to me.

I know this whole "Brayden school thing" is not a big storm in life. But, it is important to me, which means it is important to God as well. And besides, isn't that what life is made up of? Small storms, life worries, and daily struggles? And as I am listening, God starts slowly working on my heart and reminding me of many truths...

But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me time and time again
"Boy, you'll never win, you'll never win."

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
the voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the voice of truth says "this is for my glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

And as I am allowing the Lord to minister to me through these lyrics, I have to run with my head down to hold back the tears. And I am reminded that God is big enough. He was big enough to help David fight Goliath...and big enough to help Gideon defeat the Midianites (who were so large in number "They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count the men and their camels." Judges 6:5-6) But Gideon defeated them with only 300 men! If my God is big enough to conquer what seems to be the impossible, then He most certainly is big enough to guide me through this little life storm...And the sweetness in it all is that He wants to, He cares to.

So, we move forward. We choose not to stay in the past and dwell on mistakes or inadequacies...but rather be thankful that the issues have been recognized and can now be addressed. I am thankful for my husband, because he is not a pit dweller. He is a proactive problem-solver, an optimist and an encourager. He's taking this thing head-on saying "Come on, let's move with this!"

So, today, when worries try to filter their way into my mind...I am making a conscious effort to listen and believe that Voice of Truth.

P.S. If anyone has any tricks up their sleeve, advice or knows of a good behavior plan/chart...we are all ears. As part of our nightly "Quiet Time" ritual, we read anywhere between 3-5 books to the kids once their pj's are on and they are ready for bed. Last night we changed it up a bit and now "quiet time" is a sample "rug time" where the kids have to each sit on a rug and listen as we read the stories. They have to practice sitting still, keeping quiet and keeping their hands to themselves (just as they would have to behave in school). Any other ideas such as this, send them our way! And please pray for us, and Brayden.


  1. Big Hugs! I can so relate. God does care about your storms, no matter their size. The rug/quiet time at night sounds like a great idea!

  2. Oh SM - I don't know what to say except that I love ya and i am here for you. Talk, scream, cry, heck --- I'll even run with ya (now, you KNOW I am serious!!!) - whatever you need. I am here!


  3. He does see and He does know and He does care! Just keep looking to Him for His strength as you are doing!

    I agree that the quiet time/rug time sounds like a good way to start.

    Press day at a time.

  4. Kindergarten was a really rough year for our youngest. He also has a bit of a speech problem so he could be tough to understand, adding to his frustration. We tried various things - cutting ALL sugar out of his diet (that was tough - do you know how many things have sugar in them?), bedtime a 1/2 hour early if he'd had a bad day, thinking maybe he wasn't falling asleep fast and therefore not getting enough sleep. Together those things helped but I think the biggest help was just telling him every day what his day would be, from beginning to end, as simply as possible (not details, just generalities) so he knew what he had to look forward to. Even if the "big" thing of the day was us reading to him before bed. It helped, I think, him feel like he had a little bit of control in his day so he could help control himself when he had to. Still have a few good horror stories (one involves him coercing his friends to join him in using the boys' room trashcan as a urinal...) but he did end the year as one of his teacher's favorite kids. I am pretty sure I can feel most of your "pain" so to speak but I want you to know you are NOT failing him. God has him wired to do whatever God has him wired to do. And God knows he's going to need this stuff someday. He'll use it for His purpose and it will be good. If it helps, ours is now in 3rd grade and is immensely changed, settled in and just...a joy to be around every day. I'm sorry, I've written a book. Didn't mean to but my heart ached for you when I read this post. Blessings to you!!! Bonnie

  5. Hi, Amanda. I'm here for the first time from BeckyJomama's place. I have three older teenagers, so I remember the days that you are in. I know I have no authority to speak into your life, but just reading how you worked with your two at bedtime tells me you are a great mom. Please don't let tough days as a mom make you feel bad about yourself. From my perspective now, it's easy to see that children, little and big, are their own individual people. We teach them, but in the end, they make their own mistakes and have to face some consequences. And we suffer along with them, maybe worse! But be encouraged because God gave you those specific children because you are the perfect mom for them! One more thing--have you read Dr. Dobson's book about raising boys? He has a lot to say about school "behavior" that you might find interesting. Have a blessed Sunday.

  6. By the way, that profile picture of me is a joke.

  7. Hi Amanda, Brayden sounds like a high energy, curious little boy, of course he doesn't want to sit still! Being physical is his way of learning and making important connections in his brain. I am certainly no education expert, but reducing his recess time seems counterproductive to me. My sister has her boys run laps around the house and do push ups before they begin school. It sounds crazy, I know, but she says they focus much better for her after they've had some physical outlet for their energy. I think you are on the right track with the reward chart, and the practicing (reading on the rug)for short periods of time. Remember this phase will pass as he matures (the human brain does not fully mature until 25!)he will eventually be able to focus for longer periods of time! You are a great Mom, try not to be too hard on yourself!

  8. Hi Amanda, me again. I just checked this blog I like and there happened to be some interesting info about boys and education. Take a peek at
    I don't know if you will agree or not, I'm not sure I totally do either, but it's interesting anyway. I know how it feels when things just don't feel right.

  9. Amanda,

    As I've gotten older there is more meaning to the verse, "This is the day the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it." When things are going well it's easy to rejoice, but not so easy when things aren't going well, yet the Psalm says, "we WILL rejoice..and be glad in it." I can rejoice in the fact that my little grandson has two wonderful, loving, Godly, parents to lead him through his darkest hour. I can rejoice that when his parents are feeling down they turn to our Creator and seek his comfort and guidance. I can rejoice that prayer WORKS! I can rejoice that Brayden matters to God! I can rejoice that the wisdon his parents need they already have; wisdom to pray, to trust, to love, to be faithful to the task! And, I can rejoice because it's fun!
    At the Battle of Gettysburg, the Union Army wasn't fairing very well. General Ulysses S. Grant had sent a message to his Commander on the field, General Chamberlain, asking him how it was going. Chamberlains reply was, "Our right flank is collapsing, our left flank is faltering, our center is being overrun. The situation is excellent! We shall attack!"
    Today is the day of rejoicing for what we have! What we have is important to God! Know that my prayers are with you always, and that my love for you is strong!