Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Trusting Him

I have a child with ADHD. I am not throwing this term around lightly. While we try to keep it in perspective, it is not always cute, funny or charming. ADHD is an incredibly frustrating disorder that impacts my child, his teacher, his classmates and his family.

I wish I could list all I didn't understand until I was in this position, but like so much of life it takes walking a mile (or a homework session) in someone else's shoes to get it. ADHD is not an excuse any more than asthma, diabetes or vision impairment. The condition is real and in the last twelve hours has caused many tears in my home.

My very bright son child spent two hours last night attempting to complete homework his siblings finished in thirty minutes. He went to bed in frustrated tears, after setting his alarm clock for 6am with promises that he could do it after a good night's rest. I woke up to the sound of him crying at midnight. He was so anxious that he wouldn't hear the alarm and wake up that he couldn't sleep. I laid in his bed with him until he fell asleep after 1am. This morning he spent another hour struggling to finish his work...not because of difficult content but because he couldn't focus...in a silent, barren room.

During the course of our three year journey with this disorder, we have seen four doctors. He has been on and off medication. We have modified his diet. We have encouraged exercise. We have added fish oil. We have limited screen time. We have timers and written schedules. We have tried neurofeedback. We have researched, talked, prayed and cried.

In many ways, this journey is a picture of parenthood. At each step I have felt conflicted, judged, bewildered and/or overwhelmed. Despite this or that convincing article or story you hear, treatment is not cut and dry. There is a lot of trying, evaluating, modifying and changing directions. It can be exhausting.

I adore this child. I hate this disorder. I don't expect the world to be modified for him--I want to equip him for the world he lives in. We have never demanded special treatment. I want desperately to protect his heart, yet, I want him to have the confidence that comes from facing challenges, working hard and overcoming them.

And sometimes, like this morning, I feel very alone in all of this.

Frustrated, tired and sad, I was not at my best this morning. Each time I had to redirect him I heard my tone grow a little sharper. When he couldn't find something AGAIN I blew it. Even as I apologized and reminded him his Daddy & I are on his team, I couldn't help but feel like I was dropping a wounded bird at school this morning instead of a loved up, confident young man.

I called a friend, then I went to the gym and got on the treadmill for some therapeutic, head clearing cardio. I prayed for patience, clarity and endurance. I wrestled with whether or not to e-mail his teacher. It's the second week of school. I vomited all these thoughts up to the Lord.

When I got off the machine and headed for my car I checked e-mail on my phone. I couldn't believe it when there was an email from the woman who runs our school's learning center. She was reviewing files and working on plans for the new school year and just wanted to have a conversation about my boy. She had not been contacted by the teacher. She did not know what had transpired with our homework debacle. God used her simple email to remind I was not alone. He was on other people's radar.

I called her and wept as I recounted the God timing of her email and the tremendous blessing of her outreach. I was reminded that, undeniably, THIS IS GOD'S BOY. I am NOT alone in this or any issue I am facing with my other children. They are HIS. He loves them and has a plan for them.

After I rejoiced in the tenderness of God to send this comforting reminder so quickly, I winced at an additional conviction: My motherly worries feel like love, but they are really a reflection of fear and a lack of trust in our Father.

My son is only nine years old. This is not the first or last time I will be tested.

I have recorded this story because I know I am not the only Mama that gets worked up. I am also not the only Mama that has a tendency to forget the tender mercies of our God.

I write this a reminder to anyone who feels alone in their worry--and to myself.

Our children are His, graciously entrusted to us.
God knows we won't be perfect.
He is writing a story in and on their hearts with us and in spite of us.
It is essential that we remain in close communication with the Lord on His next steps.
When we lean into the Lord in faith, He will show up.

Susie Davis wrote a beautiful post that spoke to my anxious, try-hard Mama heart with encouraging Scripture: Back to School Promises for Parents.

Trusting Him,
Jennifer

21 comments:

Christine said...

Just know that you are a great Mom. You knew exactly where to go with your thoughts this morning. God loves your son even more than you. I am a Mom of 22 year old son that grew up with much of the same frustrations. And more than once I found myself in you same place. What was so frustrating to me as a parent was the inability to step in and fix the circumstances. But as a praise report trough all the disappointments and also the victories, my son has grown to be a very joy filled Godly man. He began to say in High School everything that has happened in my life has made me who I am today. So just know that God is working all of it out in your 9 year old little man. And you will survive and you too will look back and say everything that happened in my son's life made him who he is today.

Bailey's Leaf said...

I still walk in your little guys shoes at the new age of 40. When I was his age, there was no ADD or ADHD diagnosis. It is just in recent years that I had a name. It is not an excuse, but it is an explanation. There are days that are harder than others. Know that you are doing a most excellent job. You aren't ignoring it. Prayers to you.

Karen said...

This was such a beautiful reminder of God being in control. I have a 33 yr old son that is going through a rough time. I have prayed and prayed for him. Sometimes the answer or lack of answer so to speak has been very frustrating. But I am doing better at letting go and letting God. I certainly am not in control!
Karen P

jmeg said...

I can totally relate to this, although for different reasons, and some of your words were said and felt by me 11 years ago when my oldest was starting first grade. She had an anxiety that led her to not speak in certain situations, especially school. It is very rare and is called Selective Mutism. We moved a lot as an Air Force family and the little progress she made would always disappear in a new school. Her second day of first grade I talked to both of her Grandmothers on the phone and then cried while praying and felt Him tell me that she was His before she was mine and He would take care of her. I felt a great peace about it all. The next week I found out about a school psychologist at her school that specialized in selective Mutism. That started her long road to breaking through those anxieties and she was even blessed with a 4th grade teacher who had S.M. as a child herself! Only God! She is a senior this year at a small Christian school and gave a speech last year she wrote about how teachers should be paid more than professional athletes. My heart almost burst watching her speak in front of others. You are a wonderful Mom and God will always be by your side and your children's side.

JMom said...

Thank you, ladies, for sharing your stories. This is why we need each other. You've blessed me today with your solidarity and encouragement.

Marty said...

This is beautiful and touching...and I'm in tears as I read. I can relate to this post so much, altho the details are different. Bless your heart! Praying you AND your son will feel encouraged today.

Katy said...

I hear ya! School starts Tuesday in Michigan & my son will be in 8th grade. He's been Gluten Free since the week after 3rd grade ended. I had him tested by a chiropractor/muscle testing. He had a wheat allergy which causes brain fog which comes across as a learning disability to the teacher. He went gluten free that day & I never looked back. I saw the changes & I saw the improvements.

Is he an A student no, he's a B student but that is okay. He does his best all the time.

Places of employment would rather hire a B student because they are hard workers & most A students have things come easy for them, most of the time.

I have my breakdowns. I have my good weeks. I have my bad weeks. By the end of the school year I am ready for a break, it's exhausting.

My son was tested at school in elementary in order to receive extra help. He tested as a 21 year old on visual. WHAT? He's a visual learner & can remember anything if he sees it (but not in text form). He remembers details of pictures. He has a photographic memory, but testing is hard for him.

The Doctor told me he should be in a gifted school (which there are not any near me nor could I afford them) but I laughed & said I was just trying to make it to graduation.

Hold your head up high. Its a long & sometimes lonely road but he will you will survive & he will too with the help of our God.

Marian said...

This mother's heart was touched deeply by your post and all of the comments. I have two adult children and one in high school. God has used their struggles to allow me to see glimpses of him, and to teach me so much. Keep praying and seeking him. When the challenges come, remind yourself how faithful he has always been in the past. It will encourage you.

I will share one incident. Our son had two seizures when he was 15. Praise God it has been well controlled for the past seven years by medication. However, lack of sleep and alcohol are huge risk factors. He did a study abroad for a semester his junior year. I was so fearful that with the body clock adjustment and traveling alone, he would have a seizure all alone in a country where he didn't even speak the language. As it turned out, his assigned academic buddy had a sister with epilepsy, a godmother who was a neurologist, and a father who was a physician close by. God's tenderness in that situation is something that still brings me to tears,, every tim I think about it.

Lisa said...

I will be praying, not only for your boy, but also for your Mama-heart.

Keri said...

Though I've not walked in your exact shoes, I felt myself empathizing with you deeply as I read this post. And when I got to the paragraph about the email from the learning center, tears sprung to my eyes. What a sweet, tender word from our heavenly Father that was for you! Aside from sacrificing His son for us, I don't think there's anything I appreciate more from the Lord than when He tenderly meets me right where I am, making it crystal clear that He is intimately involved in my life, my thoughts, my emotions, and most of all, in my prayers. Don't moments like that make you feel like a much-beloved child!?!?

sl said...

I have walked in your shoes with my daughter. Have you considered a 501 plan for school where he could have reduced assignments? That really helped my daughter. We have tried medication, natural ways but still struggle. Add in type 1 diabetes at age 10. Diabetes and ADHD do not mix well but continue to make it each day with God's help. Thanks for sharing.

The Flukers said...

You are not alone!!! I cannot count how many times I have barked JUST FOCUS! toward a particular child of mine this week! I share your struggle and relate to so much of what you are feeling. LOVED seeing you last weekend.

lindley said...

"My motherly worries feel like love, but they are really a reflection of fear and lack of trust in our Father." ----Oh, how I know this to be true in me! With 4 boys, and one with Down syndrome, I can feel myself advocating for our baby and trying to stay on top of things, and get the best help for him---which is all good--but I know it partially stems from that fear! Thank you for this and I'm thankful you know just how beloved YOU and your little ones are!!

Danielle said...

Thank you. Again :-)

Danielle said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mumbyfaith said...

Thank you for your sharing. I am always encouraged by your posts. My son is same age as your trio, and was recently diagnosed with Asperger's. I thought it was ADHD at first as he would struggle so hard with his schoolwork that wasn't at all difficult. But he would get caught up in his own world (of cars, planes and rockets) and we had to always bring him back to Earth (literally!)

You're so right, our kids are God's. Sometimes I find myself praying..'God, he's yours. I leave him totally to you!' then I feel so much better and we drop the stressful things and just enjoy each other's company :)

Ethan Thomas said...

You know I understand. I have cried and prayed and beat myself up with guilt. Things have improved since we talked last year and I appreciate you talking with me. My sister in law is over the learning center and she is great and a true blessing. I know she will help in any way she can.

gradydoctor said...

Thank you for this. Really.

JMom said...

Thank you all for your comments. I have prayed for each of your mama hearts as I've read your comments. This motherhood gig is certainly not for the faint of heart.

Sharon said...

I'm tearing up as I read this because I can relate, both to the long hours of homework from a very bright son and the (often futile) attempts to stifle my frustration. I've never investigated ADD as an issue, because hyperactivity has not been a concern, but maybe it is the culprit. Thank you for sharing. You guys will be in my prayers.

cat said...

Thanks so much for this - we are only now starting our ADHD journey with a recent diagnosis for one of our twin boys. This has been both insightful and inspirational