We had the most amazing experience this evening.
Here's a little back-story for you: Every evening, Boy1 (6yo) and I (or his Dad) pray before bed. We say the "Now I lay me down to sleep..." prayer, and then we take turns thanking God for things that we are grateful for. We have been doing this ever since he was old enough to speak (or sign) words for things in his life.
Over the course of this summer, we have been working to make sure that God is truly at the center of our family. This means that we study the Bible together (I didn't even know all of the Ten Commandments), pray before every meal and snack and read and discuss the lessons from this book. When I have to correct the boys' behavior, I try to do so with patience and "faithful instruction." I have also been stressing to Boy1 that he can talk to God anytime, and that he should especially feel like talking to God when something is bothering him.
I have to say that I have suspected for a couple of weeks that it is working. It's definitely working a lot better than losing my cool and yelling. [Ducks head] Boy1 is much more accepting of the faithful instruction than he was of the ranting. I still have to take a breath once in a while and remember not to lose my cool. (My personal Bible study is turning toward "patience" lately...)
This evening we had what I consider to be a huge breakthrough.
See, Hubby has been working a lot lately, leaving early and getting home late. He hates it, but sometimes his job requires crazy hours. Boy1 was really tired tonight and whenever he gets tired like this on a night when his Daddy isn't home by bedtime, he tends to get a little weepy. So, we called Hubby on his cell and then settled in to read a book and say our prayers. After we said our thank you's we had a brief exchange:
Boy1: Wait, Mommy. You can't go yet.
Mommy: Why, *Monkey? Did you lose one of your sleepy friends [stuffed animals]?
Boy1: (with tears in eyes) Can you say the other prayer?
Mommy: Which other prayer? We said both of them.
Boy1: The one where you tell God I'm sad?
Mommy: You mean you want me to pray for God to comfort you because you miss Daddy?
Boy1: Yes. So He will make my tears stop?
*I sometimes call Boy1 "Monkey" because he has always been my little snuggler... my "Snuggle-Monkey" if you will. I also sometimes call him "LilMan," because he has always been like a little Man.
And there you have it. For the first time ever, Boy1 asked for help in turning to his Heavenly Father for comfort. I honestly didn't think that part of what I've been saying and demonstrating was sinking in with him. Apparently it was. That's quite a bit of validation, and confirmation to me that we are definitely on the right track with our family.
In other news, I started back to work for another school year. I'm almost excited to get back to my job, back to answering my Call. I will be happy to get back... right after I get over the overwhelming guilt over leaving my children. And the disappointment over not being able to spend every waking moment with them. And the stress over trying to balance my work responsibilities with my home responsibilities...
...but as soon as I get over all that, I will be 100% back in the game and ready to answer God's Call with joy and love in my heart. I just have to get over myself first. Geez. Why is that so hard?
Boy2 went back to day care today. He had a great day(!) so at least that is one thing a can let go of a bit. He had no tears, and seemed to enjoy getting back to the business of playing with his friends.