Saturday, January 4, 2014

One Word for a New Year

Yes, only 2 years later, and it's time for an update. My, how time gets away from you. I enjoyed reading my own posts... we now know that Xavier probably has some form of autism, so that explains the difficulty correcting him as a toddler. Baby Francis has since joined us - he turned 1 in October. He is a chubby bundle of love, and of course, will. It seems 2 strong-willed parents only produce strong-willed children. But Francis is a delight, and right now we are working on balance. That seems perpetually out of reach, so I am exchanging balance for rest. Not extra sleep, not the elimination of tantrums and difficulties, but a state of being that is deeply rooted in a revelation of God's grace. I realize now that I can't make life fair or easy for my children. And frankly I'm glad, because that wouldn't help shape them into adults with qualities like determination, initiative and resilience that I would like them to have. We are all affected by Xavier's behavioral issues. Claire is no longer an only child, and she can resent the amount of attention he gets. But she also has a natural inclination to teaching, and she emulates his therapists so well. This is all part of God's plan. We have to function slightly differently from other families. We often choose to leave Xavier at home when we go out to parties or restaurants (practically never, by the way), because we cannot handle him. I (Jessica) end up giving in to his demands quite a bit in order to keep the peace, but this often backfires. It is very stressful on a day-to-day basis, and so what I want to do is approach this and other challenges in life from a state of rest.

I have taught 2 Bible studies this year - one on Love, another on Joy. I have a feeling the next one will be on Rest. What is it to have rest? It means having an understanding of grace - the unmerited favor of God - as it applies to my life. Once we let go of the search for human justice and fairness, we can accept grace, and give it, too. Another aspect of rest is authority. What do I have authority over? And what do I not have authority over? A few things come to mind - my children (to a certain extent), my time (same), my money, my thoughts, my words. I do not have authority over - other people, circumstances, or unexpected events. So these are some of the things I'm pondering as the new year begins. And a getaway weekend with my husband. That would be nice.

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