The Bible tells me that if I live in God’s presence I can rest in his shadow. It’s a verse that I turn to again and again, especially at times like this when life feels horribly busy and my tendency towards anxiety is harder to stamp down. There’s nothing like curling up in my bed at the end of the day and reminding myself that rest is available to me, that God’s shadow is protecting and guarding me, that the (often ridiculous) fears and worries that I have can be given to him and I can sleep … it’s not automatic though, I still have that inbuilt desire to hold on to my anxiety, to feed and nurture it like some beloved household pet … I’m learning to let go but, like my striving to become a better parent, the path is long and not without its stumbles.
So, it’s been three days since I last wrote my blog. I’m on Day 8 now and already it looks like I’m hesitating … but I’m not … my anxiety, however, is fighting to take control and it’s a tough battle, this is a big stumble!! The truth is that the past few days have been busy, very busy. On Tuesday evening I had the privilege of hosting a wee party for some friends … there was lots of laughter and chatter, so much so that Son No2 came downstairs to announce that he couldn’t sleep with so much nonsense going on! He makes me smile, tact isn’t exactly one of his strengths, he says it like it is and, oh boy, he can show me up at times but he’s just so funny … and he knows it, there was a wee gleam in his eye as he rebuked us on Monday evening and eyed up the cakes!
Now, my friends visited on Tuesday so I guess that means I could have written on Monday? I did read on Monday, I made sure I took the time to … but then all good intentions fell to the wayside. Have you ever noticed, maybe I’m alone in this, just how suddenly your home looks tatty when you know that you’ve got visitors coming? It’s easy to live with that missing strip of wallpaper usually but when folk are coming to visit …. well … (if you want the story behind the wallpaper then I’d suggest you speak with the kittens … probably mainly Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker isn’t quite so guilty!).
That’s the first two days taken care of. Yesterday was a special day … Mr GG took a day’s holiday from work and we spent the day doing Christmas shopping and just enjoying being out and about together. Time as a couple is so precious when you have children. Time as a family is invaluable and I treasure it but it’s lovely to be just Mr & Mrs GG sometimes.
Anyway, excuses out of the way I’ll update on Day 8. This day focusses on winning the hearts of our children. When they’re really little that is a relatively easy thing to do but as they get older winning and keeping their hearts becomes harder and more complicated. As Son No1 gets older there are more occasions when conflict arises … his desires aren’t always the same as mine or Mr GGs … his request to go and “hang out” at the park or on a street corner (I kid you not, that has been suggested!) at 9pm is not something I’m likely to encourage or agree to, especially taking into account some of the additional difficulties he faces. It’s a learning curve for sure but letting go and keeping hold of his heart … it’s tough! I’m learning too that keeping hold of the hearts of each of my sons takes a different approach … just as they are individual in the ways that they receive love and affection, they are individual in how I relate to them.
The Dare for Day 8 was to spend time individually with my children, to ask him if he was hurt or angry with me in any way and to talk about how he and I could grow closer. I haven’t completed this dare yet, I’m aiming to complete it this afternoon when they come home from school … our advent activity today is to make paper chains so, as we work, I’ll get the opportunity to have some one to one time with each of the boys. I’m looking forward to this challenge … although I must be careful when I talk about holding their hearts … the literal minds might find that slightly disconcerting!