Oh wait. I'm confusing her with some other people.
Kayla and I have been reading the story of Joseph at bedtime. And it brought me back to where I was this time last year. I wrote about it then. And I'll post it again, because I like to remind myself of how God talks to me.
As of Sunday night, I was seriously considering giving my children up for adoption. Well, not "seriously" considering it...
I haven't shared my feelings on this with very many people. But those of you who know me personally and have come in contact with me can probably see it on my face, hear the frustration in my voice and read the body language I exhibit.
The jump from parenting one child to parenting two has proven extremely challenging for me. More so than I had anticipated.
In fact, it has pretty much kicked my butt. I have been reduced to tears and seriously questioned ability to do this on many occasions.
Karis is a beautiful, happy little baby. And I love her very much. But she is significantly more strong-willed and physical than her sister was at this age. And she will not adhere to any type of sleeping or feeding schedule that I try to put her on--including still waking up screaming several times per night.
Kayla is jealous at times and feels like I have forgotten about her. She has no qualms over telling me this regularly and so my guilt cocktail becomes even more toxic.
Our lives have become chaotic blobs. When my life is unstructured, I spiral into an emotional abyss complete with self-condemnation and loathing. Add lack of decent sleep to that equation, and its almost a death sentence for me.
These past weeks have been especially trying for me with the added fact that our house has been a bubbling cesspool of stomach viruses (complete with all manner of projectile wonderfullness), bronchitis and pneumonia.
Sunday morning, while I was home from church with a sick child, I just cried and prayed to God to help me deal with my perfectionism, my lack of patience, my selfishness and my inability to get this thing right. That night I broke down and cried to Aaron about all that I was feeling.
And he's a problem solver. Together we attacked the problem because I was too clouded by emotion to even begin to see how to do that.
While I was at work on Monday, Aaron was very diligent--militant, even--about getting her to eat only every 4 hours (instead of every 3) and managed to get her to take 2 three hour naps instead of her dozen 45 minute catnaps scattered throughout the day. The fact that Kayla was very ill and spent most of the day sleeping or watching TV was a blessing in disguise because he had time to focus and work solely with Karis.
So far today, I have been able to replicate the schedule. And I even had time to read my Bible and do actual meaningful devotions instead of the usual hurried "oh-crud-I-need-to-read-a-few-verses-today" thing.
And those few chapters really encouraged me. The "duh" lightbulb went on above my head.
I read Genesis 37--the first chapter in the account of Joseph's life where his brothers sell him into slavery due to their jealousy. My Bible's study guide introduction to this chapter said, "Through Joseph, we learn how suffering, no matter how unfair, develops strong character and deep wisdom."
Obviously, my plight is not as severe as Joseph's was. But being reminded that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that this will strengthen my character, strengthen my parenting skills and develop wisdom in me has changed my attitude.
And then, after reading in Genesis, I turned to the book of Psalms. My reading for the day was chapter 34. The majority of the chapter is about the Lord having mercy on those who trust him. But verse 17 in particular encapsulates how I'm feeling today about my situation, "The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles."
I don't know what took me so long to talk to God about this whole thing. Maybe I thought I could do just fine on my own, since I did just great the first time around. My pride. I always make things so much more difficult than they need to be. Maybe if I'd chatted with Him about it earlier I wouldn't have gotten to that emotional pit of self-loathing. Of course, that's all speculation.
But I'm so glad that I finally did talk to Him, and He heard. And He answered in the voice and actions of my husband.
A year later, Karis isn't any less strong willed. We face different challenges. But I know God is teaching me things about myself and making me into a better person. She and I are learning a lot about one another. :)
On a side note. She is the most hilarious child I've ever met. Today she was "high fiving" a picture of Cookie Monster. For those of you who have not seen her "high five" someone, she holds her chubby little hand up and yells, "DIE!" waiting for someone to smack her hand.