About That Difficult Child…

They kick. They hit. They talk back. They yell at you. They stomp their feet, cross their arms, and refuse to budge. They destroy school property. They are not nice to the kids around them. They are difficult. I’m not talking about the ones who are a little rowdy. I’m not even talking about the ones who have lots of energy, the ones sometimes referred to as “hyperactive”. I’m talking about the child that only comes along every few years. The child you go home and cry about on the first day of school, VBS, or Sunday School. The child you’re picturing right now. I’ve read countless books about these children. I’ve attended seminars and workshops. However, each child that walks trough my classroom door is unique and different. There is no one perfect solution to dealing with a child who is difficult. I could tell you all the things I’ve learned that work. I could tell you to first think of yourself–the teacher, the adult–and think of your procedures and routines…are they in need of a change? I could tell you to think of the child–what must they be going through in life that causes them to have such a tough time at school? I could suggest diets and schedules and behavior plans…but that’s not the point of this post. The reason for this post has to do with the heart. It has to do with a Creator who created all things, even difficult people. One day after school, I was in the floor cleaning up ripped paper and broken crayons, a torn curtain hanging from a pulled curtain rod, and overturned chairs…all from one student who’d had a very hard day. And, honestly, I was mad. I was throwing myself one great big pity party. I just knew that life was so unfair for me to have to “deal” with a student like this one day after day. It was then that the Lord caught my eye and ear with His Word. “Love is patient. Love is kind…Love endures all things.” 1Corinthians 13 I heard Him very clearly on this particular afternoon. It was as if He spoke to me by name. “Paige…I knew how this child would be. And I made this child anyway.” That child…even the most injured, wounded, difficult child…was lovingly crafted by the same God who spoke the world into existence. God knew that the child would face difficult days; but He made the child anyway. Because He has some pretty awesome plans in store for the child. He knew that this child would be in your care for a certain school year, or even for a week in bible school. Or maybe He knew that this child would be in your Sunday School class once a week for awhile. He knew that you had something for this “difficult” child that no one else could give them. So, yes, He made them anyway. He loves them anyway. But that’s only the beginning of this matter of the heart. You see, God went on to point out that He made me anyway. Difficult is too nice of a word to describe myself. How many times have I stomped my spoiled feet, crossed my stubborn arms, and refused to even budge in the direction that my Father was leading me? I have been judgmental, condescending, and un-nice so many times. I have been complacent and lazy when it comes to the work of spiritual harvest. I am worse than difficult. God knew I would be this way. But He made me anyway. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.” Genesis 1:1-5 The Creator went on to make a glorious sky, one He continues to paint with spectacular hues that only the God of the heavens can create. He made the seas, with their vast depths and perfect-timed tides. He made the dry land and filled it with all of the plants and vegetation that we use today. God made the animals; all of the beautiful creatures that we gasp over and even the small wiggly ones that we walk over. He designed it all perfectly. The ecosystems, the food chains, the life cycles. And God saw that it was good. It was perfect. sunset And then, God made us. Here’s the thing…He knew. He knew, friends. He knew how we would be. He knew what we would do to His perfect earth. He knew that man and woman would bring sin into a perfect world. He knew of the horrible crimes that people would commit. He even knew of the horrible thoughts that would run through our brains. He knew that one day He’d have to send His Son to fix us. That His Son would have to leave Him in heaven and come live among our injured, difficult flesh, only to die for us. And He knew that even then, some of us would throw that sacrifice back at His face. What kind of love does that? It’s a love that looks beyond to bigger things. It’s a love that my mind cannot comprehend. I know that on my own I will never be worthy enough to merit the gift that He gave by creating me and sending Jesus to me. So all I can do is live my life in praise to the One who made me anyway. Do you have a difficult child in your life? Are you at the end of yourself when it comes to serving that child? Perhaps you are the parent of the difficult child. Do you dread each time your phone rings during the day, worrying that a caregiver is calling you to report bad deeds? Do you cry in your pillow at night, thinking you’ve somehow gone wrong along the way to have a child who is so…”difficult”? Are you thinking that you are the difficult one? Do you think you’ve gone so far that God wishes He hadn’t made you? Don’t give up hope, my friend. God knew how we would all be. He knew the horrid things we would think and do. But He loved us so much that He made us anyway. He’s got better plans for us beyond the here and now. I can’t wait to see what His plans include for you and the children in your life!   **I want to give a special thanks to a beautiful friend of my heart, Connie. Her beautiful words about the creation of the world and God’s children spoke to my heart in such a powerful way. Thank you, Connie, for your obedience and teaching. I love you friend!** Anyway (Connie’s Song)

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38 Responses to About That Difficult Child…

  1. Paige, He loves us and sees His people perfect through Christ. Isn’t it amazing the grace that He has displayed. I’m still in awe of it after 50 years. May we show grace to the unruly and hard to love knowing what we know about ourselves. Great post. Thanks!!!

  2. Dianne lyles says:

    Paige, thank you for sharing. This was just what I needed after a difficult day. I will pray for wisdom and be ready to face tomorrow. Love you.

  3. The Lord told me I should do this as soon as I got up but I said “let me get dressed first, we have such a busy ahead”. Well I sure delayed my blessing! Thank you – your song sure captured my heart. Thank you for your faithfulness. It is sure blessing to a lot of us! Love you!

  4. loraleebain says:

    Thank you for writing this beautiful reminder.

  5. Kathryn Shirey says:

    I’m the mom of one of ‘those’ kids and it can be difficult and trying. Many a night have ended in tears (mostly mine). But, early in this child’s life, God spoke to me about my child and reminded me that He has plans for this child. Even on the worst days, I know God has this child in His hands and has great things planned. And that keeps me going! Many, many blessings to you as a teacher to all kinds of kids – praying for God to heap extra helpings of patience on you for the coming year!

  6. gbollman2014 says:

    Thank you for this encouragement, Paige. I’m also a teacher, so this is such a good reminder. Even closer to my heart and home has been raising a hyperactive child that even today, at 27, continues to add to my grey hair. Each day II say I’m done, God gives me grace for another. Thank you for this helping of grace that came at just the right time, sent from God .

  7. Somer says:

    i love that you are a teacher with that perspective. this is not a perspective that many any body’s no matter the profession seem to wear. Your students are blessed to have you! And sometimes that difficult child grows up to be that difficult person you have to share life with at work or at home or simply just out. we’d all be better off if we thought about people through this lens.

  8. Jess Nail says:

    Very nicely written! I pray that my sons will have teachers who are as concerned with their students as you are. Thanks for the encouragement!

  9. Kim says:

    This is a great read….having an ‘different’ child is a challenge. That is why on the bedroom wall i had painted “I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” When I get frustrated I go into this room and touch these words and remember that my children were made in his image and that I just need to be patient!!

  10. Abby says:

    Oh yes. I have a difficult child. I used to think that type of behavior was learned. I know better now. I think some children just have something in them that needs to be released, somehow. Thank for these encouraging words. You are a blessing.

  11. Abby says:

    Beautiful post. As a parent of a difficult child, I thank you for sharing.

  12. Kathleen says:

    Paige, Wonderful message, beautiful song. Thank you.

  13. Robyn says:

    You write so well. Thank you for using your God given talent for teaching, writing and loving others! You have no idea how excited I am to find your blog!

  14. Pingback: About That Difficult Child… | My Story, My Song

  15. Scott Sholar says:

    My wife has been with Orange County Florida Public Schools for 19 years. She could definitely “feel your pain.”

  16. Donna says:

    Your words inspire me Paige. I am reminded that I have a ministry to share the love of our Savior, not just in words but in actions as well. Sometimes the hardest ones to love will bring the greatest blessing.

  17. atimetoshare says:

    Such a great post. In my years of teaching I have worked with kids that are difficult, but I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not the easiest person in the world to be with. We need to learn as teachers and parents how to channel that energy, anger, frustration into something useful. We can’t give up on them. God doesn’t give up on us.

  18. Wow! Still a powerful message and even more real. Watching/working with Ms Donna in Sunday School is teaching me so much about “Jesus loves the little children”. She truly lives this. I have learned so much from her and how she loves and deals with the very child you describe. She is such an inspiration. Now to how this speaks to me – my life – He still overwhelms me and your words still give me courage! Courage is the right word – courage to face that I am the difficult one but He made “me” anyway, He has a plan for “me”, He loves “me”. Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow!!!! Love you and still so excited about all He is doing in your life!

  19. Dwight Wren says:

    Paige, I am so amazed how God has worked in making you into such a great witness for Him ( I remember little bitty Paige running around church). God is so good and you are His testimony of His greatness. Thanks for being a blessing to so many people including me!

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