Monday, February 15, 2010

God is my Hope

"Mom, do you hear Peanut Butter? " Christopher Robin asks me, coming in to use the bathroom as I brush my damp hair and smooth cream on my face in my early morning routine. I do hear Peanut Butter's moaning cry, but I know better than to attend to it until I'm really ready to face him and help him. Ready to start the day. I finish and head to the kids' room.

"Mama, I want you to 'old me," Peanut Butter moans. I sit on his bed and scoop him into my lap and do just that. I revel in his warm stillness. Oldest boy and baby girl are all wiggles, inherited from their mother an inability to sit still very long, at least without something to think about. My middle boy just loves to be held, and always has. His content in my arms is part of who he is. So I sit still and soak in his warmth and run fingers through his hair and thrill to the silkiness of his three year old cheek. His cup fills up, and he decides he'd like to make his bed.

Later he's finished his breakfast and I call him to me again, to soak in some more of him, and he refuses. Cup still full? Or because it's my idea? My Hero roars and runs and scoops him up and he rests long, content in his daddy's arms. Christopher Robin comes to fill mine, long arms and legs and cheeks like soft pillows and wiggles...

I drink in happiness. I marvel that this family God has the best. I don't want anyone else's, only mine. These ones, all of us together, are right. Other families are wonderful to them and this one is wonderful, supremely wonderful, to me.

Now is naptime, and I sit like an orange peel ripped open and missing the fruit inside. Hollow and empty, dry. I type from a marred keyboard, missing the 1 number key.

"Mom, come look at the computer," Christopher Robin's voice warns. "Not now," I mutter as I put lunch on plates. I can't face more trouble right now. Raindrop has cried at me much of the morning and Peanut Butter retaliated my saying no to more Valentine candy before lunch by swiping the card-making debris, papers, scissors, pictures, glue sticks, papers scraps, magazines, onto the floor. I had fairly calmly made him clean up his mess, but his behavior much of the morning seemed to be aimed at getting even with me. I can't imagine anything seriously wrong with our laptop, but my heart alarms a bit when Christpher Robin scolds Peanut Butter for breaking the computer. I come to look, and Christopher Robin informs me that Peanut Butter "bit" the 1 number key off. It does not snap back on. I snap.

He, unintentionally, has found a way to get even, he stumbled on a way to hurt me, to make me rage inside and feel the same frustrated helplessness he feels when I say no more candy before lunch. Our new computer now looks like junk, and I know it doesn't need to matter, but it's so unnecessary, and probably irreparable.

This boy whom I love, deeply, passionately does he wield so much power to frustrate and anger and lay me low?

Anger burns steadily as I sweep up crumbs and paper scraps during naptime quiet. An image enters my mind, a video, clear and real, of 18 year old Peanut Butter leaving home, independent, unfeeling, glad to be finally away from restrictive parents, ready to fly and not look back. Neediest child grows up with least gratefulness and affection. Despair enters my heart, and the feeling of futility. Powerless against inborn selfishness, what can I do? And what is this for? And why must I give and give and give?

I turn to the God of hope with my feelings, and ask Him. And go to bed weary and discouraged.

Today, a new day, questions remain and discouragement persists, but I remember where joy comes from and determine to give thanks in everything.

And at snacktime, as baby girl naps, the God of hope opens my eyes, washes away the despair. Boys open valentine boxes from Grandma and dig in to their candy. Peanut Butter brings me a small package of gummy hearts to open, and after I do, he gives me one with a loving smile. I thank him and kiss him. A few minutes later he comes from behind, taps me on the shoulder, and gives me another candy. I thank him for his generosity, saying that it makes me happy and it makes Jesus happy. That brings Christopher Robin over with a gift of his own. As the boys shower generosity, I see it. The capacity for good. The potential for transformation in each of the boys. Left to themselves in sin and selfishness, chances are good they will lack love and gratitude, but Jesus can transform them. Thoughtfulness can be encouraged, love for others developed to a degree, and ultimately, as they know Jesus better his divine power will give them everything they need for living a godly life. Jesus is their hope just as He is mine. Rather than harden my heart to them in despair as I suffer from their selfishness, my response can be to turn to God in prayer to transform them, as He transforms me, and to give me wisdom to teach them a better way.

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