Friday, March 15, 2013
Praying & Practicing Patience
This week has been one of Cava's worst. We have been dealing with issues of aggression and defiance at home and at school, so much so he was suspended. On Monday, I woke up and felt led to pray for him constantly throughout the day as I have never have before. I prayed on the way to school, after I dropped him off, on my way to work, and while I was at work. Then I got the call. My wife phoned me and the first words were, "You've got to go pick up Cava." She then proceeded to tell me why. After I got off the phone with her, I got in my car and drove the 30 plus minutes from the store I was calling on to Cava's school. I must admit, I struggled internally with, "God, why on the day I was praying for him the most, was Cava at his worst?"
I wrestled with this and prayed that I would remain calm and collected not only when I got to the school, but after I took Cava home.
Once at the school, the teachers explained how the events unfolded and what Cava had done so that I would understand why he was being suspended. I was heartbroken to hear what he had done and how he had hurt other children. And all I could think was, "Why Lord?"
At home, his behavior didn't improve and I literally (sounding like Rob Lowe's character on Parks & Rec) had to pray my way to get through this day with him.
Throughout this difficult week, I have prayed and sought God on how to parent this child in a way that can help transform him from the anger, defiance, rage, hurt, and frustration to one of peace, love, and joy.
To my question of, "Why?" God replied with John 13:7, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."
Once again, I am coming to realize that this journey is all about obedience, trust, and patience. None of which are my spiritual gifts. I tend to weigh in on the grumbling, questioning, doubting, and struggling side of faith. I would have made an awesome Israelite.
Today, I woke up and, after getting Benjamin and Cava ready for school and myself ready for work, I went to our bedroom, prayed, and opened my Bible. Currently I'm reading through the book of Mark and Psalms, but I found myself led to read the first chapter of the book of James. And there it was:
"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience . . ."
No, Lord, I would prefer to read one of the happy, blessings verses.
Still, I continued reading, " . . . But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." (James 1:2-4)
Once more, I need to get out of God's way and realize this isn't about me and that it's about Him. This isn't easy to do when I go to pick up Cava from school today and spend a half hour hearing about how he has acted out again so shortly after his being suspended.
But I know that even in the midst of this, God is with us and has a plan for our family. We truly believe that Cava was the child God had picked out for us and we trust in His wisdom. Cava clearly needs love and patience.
Today, when we got home from school, I sat him on my lap and asked, "Cava, are you angry?"
He nodded, "Da."
"Who are you angry with, Cava?"
He pointed to himself.
"Why are you angry with yourself?"
Cava put his head down and would not look at me.
"Why are you angry with yourself?" I asked him again.
He finally answered in Ukrainian with, "I don't know."
"Cava, look at me please." He reluctantly did. "You do know that I love you very much, don't you?"
He nodded. "I love you, Papa."
A tear ran down my cheek. Not because he told me he loved me, but because this poor little boy is so filled with anger, even at himself, that he doesn't even know why.
I held him closely to me and he began to weep into my shoulder. As he did, I prayed silently, "Lord, please give me the patience to be the Papa my son so desperately needs."