We've been working on building a sandbox. It is slow going.
|Don't you think we picked a pretty color?|
There are always so many doctor appointments to deal with, errands to run, and chores to finish. When we do manage to find some extra time the weather doesn't always cooperate.
Finally we had a day that was just right to start adding the red paint.
|Trying a roller instead of a brush.|
Claire changed into her "old" clothes. (It is hard to decide what qualifies when she has only been here 6 months.) We mixed up the paint and got started.
Claire wanted to dip the brush into the paint all the way past the bristles and up the handle. Then she thought it best to scrub the brush back and forth til the paint was rough and patchy and the brush resembled a bird's nest.
I tried to show her how to dip the brush, remove excess paint and make long even strokes.
Claire is not the most "teachable" person. Even the gentlest suggestion that she isn't doing something right seems to trigger. … What?
I'm just not sure at this point. Perhaps it is a stubborn defiance and determination to do things her own way. It could be a fear response. She interprets any correction or teaching to mean she isn't good enough and then she panics? The fear makes her shut down so she can't do the simplest things or even hear the instructions anymore.
I just can't tell what is really going on, but it often feels like defiance and is always very, very frustrating.
It drives me to my knees on the inside, pleading with God to help me stay calm, and to find a way to get through. My prayers are often desperate as I tell God how difficult it is to parent this little girl and ask Him to take over because I just can't do it anymore.
And, somehow, God does carry me through. It isn't always pretty, and we sometimes call an abrupt end to whatever we were trying to do and spend a lot of time in the rocking chair, but we have managed to avoid too many mommy meltdowns.
This time, we made it mostly to the end of our painting task when I noticed little red footprints on the deck all around the tarp we had under our project. I put Claire in a chair, firmly, and ran for supplies to clean that up.
Frustration was definitely growing. I expected paint in her hair and on her hands and arms and knees. But to step in it and walk on the deck after we were being so careful to keep all our work on the tarp was making me angry.
Pray. Scrub. Pray. Scrub. Pray.
Deck cleaned up and back aching, I closed up the paint and considered grabbing the hose and using cold water and some handfuls of grass to clean her bright red feet.
But Jesus whispered, "Whatever you do to the least of these…"
So I told her to sit still while I ran to collect a soft rag and a bucket filled with warm, soapy water.
Still praying, I lifted her to the edge of the deck and started scrubbing that paint off as gently as possible.
Suddenly, I felt Jesus there. He was there loving me. His hands were holding mine and His love was pushing out all the frustration. Tears started streaming down my face as I got a tiny glimpse into the character of Jesus in a way I'd never seen before.
I've known about mercy and grace and love and compassion for a long, long time. Today I felt it to my core.
The moment passed and the rest of the day had the lots of frustrating events. It will take lots of time, and many repetitions of love to convince Claire that she is safe enough to trust, to try hard things, to obey, and depend on us.
But, I'm certain that Jesus will help us get through the hard moments and frustrating hours.
Today, thanks to Claire, I know Jesus better than I did yesterday.