My Daily Roadtrip

And with adventure comes lessons – part I

We just returned to Colorado this past Sunday after 9 days in the midwest. It was our last trip there before moving to Thailand and we enjoyed sweet time with much of our families. I should also mention that the 4 of us also had some good “bonding” time in our van while traveling 2,000 miles together. Let’s just say this: traveling with small children is not for wimps. Enough said.

Although we are probably always learning in life, this season seems to be especially full of lessons, including ones I’m sure that I’m not yet aware of. In hopes that they can encourage you in some way, I wanted to share them in my next few posts …

* “What comes out of you when you are squeezed is what is inside of you.” (W. Dyer) YES. This is so, so true! I have been under a more intense level of stress now for quite some time and it has revealed some things in my heart that I would rather not admit to.  Impatience, anger, unkindness, and ungraciousness with my kiddos and my husband, as well as other ugly things, have come out of me during this time. It is easy to to excuse such things as I tell myself, “I need to cut myself some slack. This is a crazy season in our family’s life.” Yes, that it is a more stressful time is true – ignoring that reality is not helpful for anyone. However, I never have the license to sin toward God or others simply because it’s a stressful time. Nor should I be ignorant and think that those things are uncharacteristic of me; that they’re only present when I’m stressed. Nope. It’s all there in my heart, but it’s just being revealed to a greater extent at this time. I’m being challenged to faithfully love God and those around me while acknowledging that this season is more difficult. Ugh. It’s one of those “hard, but good” things, you know?

* Transition is hard on kids. We often talk about how kids are super resilient and can more easily deal with life changes. While I believe this is true, I am being reminded that it doesn’t mean kids aren’t still affected in some ways by change. I have seen times of consistently disobedient behavior from my kids increase in the last few months. It is easy to react to disobedient behavior simply by focusing on discipline. The discipline is necessary but not sufficient, in my opinion. If I really knew my kids and was trying to  more fully “shepherd” their hearts (caring not only about their behavior, but about what is going on within them as individuals), I might realize that there is more to their behavior then them simply being sinners. Is is possible that them having to move out of their house, watching many of our belongings, including some of their toys, leave our place, having their dog move away, having visitors, and road-tripping to say our last “see you laters” to family might have something to do with their behavior? Seriously. No one could experience all of that in a few month’s time and not be affected in some way; why would I think my kids are any different?! It’s silly, really. We were reminded of this reality when traveling from Iowa (where my in-laws live) back to Colorado this past Sunday. Elijah struggled with his behavior for a good part of the day and then 2 hours from home, he sadly said, “I don’t want to go home. I want to go back to Uncle Nye’s.” Uncle Nye is that cool uncle everyone should have and Elijah thinks he hung the moon – I love the relationship they have. As it turns out, Elijah was sad and probably didn’t know what to do with that emotion, so it came out as naughtiness. That moment was a wake-up call for me; one that challenged me to truly try to, while continuing to discipline consistently, really see what is behind Elijah and Abigail’s behavior these days. It means I need to hug them a few more times each day, tell them more “I love you’s,” and make sure I am treating them as little individuals who are just as affected by our current state of transition as I am.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg regarding what God is teaching me through our current ongoing adventure, folks. Whew. More thoughts will come in my upcoming posts …

What about you? Do you have any thoughts to add to the above lessons? Are there any specific things you are learning these days? (if you say “no,” I probably won’t believe you.) 😉

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4 thoughts on “And with adventure comes lessons – part I

  1. Brooke L M Stage on said:

    Once again, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Thank you for sharing that story about Elijah and his emotions that were just TOO BIG for him to know how to handle. Even though Nora is far too young to have behavioral problems, even at 3 months I can see how days that differ from her normal routine by a significant margin are rough on her; when I try to squeeze a week’s worth of errands into a single day in order to minimize car usage, she gets so cranky and clingy and has a terrible time napping when we do slow down. Ironically, it’s the days when she naps the longest (in her own bed, at the time she’s used to) that her nighttime sleeping is the least interrupted. I must remember to be gracious with her when she’s older, and her environmentally-induced crankiness “comes out as naughtiness.”

    I want to encourage you to be gracious with yourself too! You say you don’t want to cut yourself some slack during this season of stress… and I understand and agree that we ought not make excuses for our own bad behavior… but as the Psalmist said, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust” (Psa. 103:13-14). The God who made us knows that we aren’t perfect! So it’s not surprising that what comes out of us in times of stress is, well, short of perfection. Acknowledge the imperfections, make amends, and look for ways to do better next time, including ways to ease the burdens weighing on you. (Totally preaching to myself here, by the way!)

    • Brooke, you are kind … once again, thank YOU for your encouragement. 🙂 And thanks for the encouragement to make sure I accept the grace God shows me – it’s true that I can be my own worst enemy in terms of being too hard on myself and I need to remember how God sees me. I so need to be reminded of that, so I am grateful for the truth you spoke in your comment. I also like your thoughts on practical ways to move forward, including the one of “ease the burdens weighing on you” … isn’t it silly that we think we need to be able to do it all on our own when friends/family who love us so want to ease our burdens however they can? I am also learning that some things just need to be let go during this season … so, we use more paper plates, eat simpler meals (just small examples), etc. – and it is GOOD for everyone that those things are done. Thx again for taking the time to comment, Brooke!

  2. Dawn, I LOVE learning from you! And this was especially amazing and touched my heart. You, more than anyone have taught me so much about treating your kid(s) as individuals and expecting much of them (while NOT expecting too much). It is so good to be reminded that how they react to what is going on in their hearts can come out to us as naughtiness or disobedience while they are just trying to figure out how to express such deep emotions in a tiny little person! You are so wise! Jack doesn’t even have words!!!! I need to be constantly reminded that sometimes he is just trying to communicate, and not just live a whiny life. I always need more of God’s grace, just like Jack needs mine sometimes!

    • Tamara, thanks for your kind words – what a blessing to my heart! Parenthood is a never-ending high learning curve, isn’t it? I’m so glad we can be learning it at the same time!

      “I always need more of God’s grace, just like Jack needs mine sometimes!” YES. Well said, friend.

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