Monday, February 20, 2012

When Hope Becomes Grief

Parenting is a huge chore.  It will Eat.Your.Lunch.

I've recently taken part in a study on parenting.  Not the first time I'd studied those tactics, but a refresher is not always a bad thing.  I decided to try to implement some of them.  And it is hard.  So challenging to stop yourself in the mid-stream of your parenting habits to try a new approach with your willful and usually disobedient child.

Well, things didn't go so well the other night.  I felt--and still feel--like I handled the situation quite well.  But the experience wasn't pleasant, by any means.  I told my husband about the evening when he came home.  This "report" led to a huge fight, putting us at odds over parenting tactics.  Another unpleasant experience.  And the next morning, we receive word that the job we've been hoping for over the past three months isn't going to become a reality.

I've been living with a three-fold hopefulness:  "Parenting isn't easy, but maybe these new tools will help."  "Our marriage has really taken a beating this past year, but things seem to be getting better."  "If this job becomes a reality, we won't have to move, I can keep my job, etc..."

In the span of just fifteen hours, I was grieving the loss of all three hopes.  I felt like someone punched me in the gut and then pulled the rug out from under me.  And I was all about the pity-party, for most of the day.

I happened to run into an older gentleman, and he commented on my countenance.  He and I are acquaintances; we're friendly, but not really friends.  For some reason though, when he asked, I told him about the storm I felt I was in.  He responded with empathy.  But also pointed out for me a fact of his life that threw everything about my "grief" into perspective.  Suddenly, a day that was gray held new sunlight.

I regret that I pouted.  I regret that I didn't respond with "Okay, Lord, no problem. I trust that You know what You're doing."  I regret that I don't better model Christian citizenship to my children and husband.

Lord, you are my shelter.  Your greatness is a mighty comfort to my heart, whether it is broken or blessed.  Thank you for convicting me in this behavior, and help me to draw closer to you the next time my hopes get dashed.  Let me not forget that you will never disappoint, for the best and greatest hope I have--Heaven--will never turn to grief.