Acts 14:8-10 In Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet and had never walked, for he had been crippled from birth. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. And Paul, looking at him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And the man sprang up and began to walk.
God’s power to work within us is amazing and incomprehensible, I know this. But days like today make it difficult to see God at work in our lives, even though I know He is there. It wasn’t a terrible day, just a difficult one–particularly as it relates to parenting. I have found that parenting can really suck the life out of me, but then the very next minute make me laugh out loud or leave me standing in awe at God’s ability to work through my children. It’s like a super awesome roller coaster ride that can bring you to tears and make you scream out loud because you’re having so much fun! My kids are great kids, but they are still young and really know how to push our buttons. I tried so hard to be patient today, but honestly I just lacked the energy to stand toe to toe with my eldest. Anjali is getting ready to turn 12 and she is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde–one moment she is extremely sweet, kind, and loving towards all of us and then the next moment she becomes this ego-centric, self-centered crazy person. The hardest part about it is that I can see her struggle when she becomes Mr. Hyde and that she doesn’t like it, but feels trapped, like she can’t switch back to Dr. Jekyll. This is what happened today, several times. It is exhausting to parent during these times, though I can guess that this is only the beginning of her teenage years and that we have two more kids to follow her; we are in it for the long haul.
We started with a lazy morning listening to Anjali and Lucia play together while Anjali played “mother hen” to her. She made breakfast, helped Lucia shower and wash her hair, they played and laughed–it was such a beautiful opportunity for me to lay in bed and listen. We ventured out into town for lunch with the hope of riding the cable car up Tampa Mountain to the Brasov sign, but we caught our first detour of the day…lunch, where to eat? Maybe it is because there were too many choices, maybe no one but Jeff and me were hungry enough to care, but whatever the reason there was no deciding on what or where to eat. We walked around the square, passing every single restaurant and looking at the menu only to hear “no, I don’t want that, I don’t want Italian food” from Anjali. First of all, who in their right mind doesn’t like Italian food, I mean pizza and pasta is every kids’ favorite right? So we carried on until finally Jeff made the final call and we ate at an Irish Pub. It ended up being the perfect place for us and after a short time I could feel my frustration fading away as I sipped on my lunchtime cocktail. Everyone was able to get just what they wanted, David a sandwich, Lucia a salad, Anjali chicken wings, etc. We had a peaceful lunch and then began walking up to the cable cars, but just as I got into line to buy our tickets I heard the snide remark from Anjali, “I don’t want to ride the cable cars, I want to walk up the mountain”. Now any of you that have a daughter about this age or if you have had a daughter at this age, I am sure you can just hear the tone of this remark. It is not a sweet plea for a different route, but a harsh comment that is filled with contempt and tells you that she will go through with the plan but everyone is going to be miserable because of it! Mr. Hyde is back….This is what continued for the entirety of the day and it was exhausting to keep up. We still have to parent Mr. Hyde, but it isn’t easy because (s)he is irrational and emotional, which means you can’t have conversations about the problem. You just have to wait for Dr. Jekyll to come back and then talk through it, which (s)he does come back eventually.
I don’t feel that I was as patient as I could have been. I know that if this is difficult for me, it is absolutely hard for her and probably really confusing and frustrating too. Many times I am able to help her work through this, but honestly today I just didn’t have the energy, which is why it probably continued for the day. I am grateful that I have God to help both of us through these times, but I did not ask him for help today. As I look back on the day, I wish I had asked him for help and shown Anjali how to do the same. He can always change our circumstances and after reading this passage, I know that God can use any of us to help another person, just as God used Paul to help the crippled man. I just need to ask God to help my family through these difficult hormone-infused situations in a way that doesn’t leave us all in tears!