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Monday, April 10, 2017

"Out of Control:" Chapter 4

For the explanation of my current series, go to the first installment: http://bit.ly/2nnCvFx

Out of Control:
A Christian Parent's Victorious Struggle with Child Abuse

A Memoir by Kathy Collard Miller

Chapter 4

Never On Top

April 1st
“Mommy, Mommy, wake up. I hungry.”
Roused from my peaceful dream world, I wanted to shut out Darcy’s insistent plea. Oh no, not so soon. I was awake nursing Mark only minutes ago. How many times did he wake up last night … three … four? My fogged mind had lost count. I focused my eyes on the digital clock next to the bed, and moaned as I read 5:49.
“Darcy, you can play in your room for awhile. I’m too tired to get up right now. Let Mommy sleep a little longer.”
“No. No. I hungry. Come, Mommy, come.” She tugged at the sheets.
Larry murmured in his sleep beside me. I knew no amount of pleading could convince Darcy to leave me alone. Her talking would only wake Larry and he hadn’t gotten to sleep until 3:30 A.M. because of investigating a car crash.
“Okay, just a second.” Let me put on my slippers.” Only determination pulled my body out of the warm bed as exhaustion adhesively clung to my muscles.
I stumbled into the kitchen. Dirty dinner dishes lay scattered on the counter, painfully reminding me I had decided not to wash them the night before. Why had I thought it would be easier to do them this morning? I remembered. I had taken the time to vacuum the carpet instead because it was littered with Darcy’s cracker crumbs. I felt better. At least one thing was clean.
I piled greasy dishes into the sink and started cooking oatmeal. I smiled as I remembered my family’s reunion was being held in the mountains the next day. Thoughts of sitting outside the cabin in the cool, fresh air, visiting with my family and relatives inspired me to work even faster. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Darcy running through the family room. Her foot caught on the plant stand sending the philodendron to the floor. Darcy lay sprawled and crying on the floor amidst soil, bits of leaves, and broken pottery. Gritting my teeth to contain my exploding rage, I grasped Darcy’s arms and yanked her to her feet.
Darcy’s chin quivered as she attempted to control her sobs. “Hurt, Mommy. Owee.”
A voice within said, “It was an accident. She’s so little.” Suddenly, my heart softened. Unexpectedly, I remembered the last thought I had before I drifted off to sleep the night before: Lord, I commit tomorrow to you and whatever you might have in store for me.
“It’s all right, Darcy. I know it was an accident,” I brushed the dirt off her pajamas.
I looked down at the broken pieces of blue poetry littering the floor and started crying. “That’s the planter my neighbors gave me when daddy died. I hope I can glue it together. Lord, it’s just not fair. Not only does it seem like I can’t go anywhere, I can’t even spend my time in a clean house. And everything gets broken. Why did I have kids anyway?”
Later that morning, Darcy started sneezing and soon I was wiping her runny nose. By that evening, her stuffy nose and hacking cough confirmed my worse fears: she had a cold.
“Wouldn’t you know it? Wouldn’t you just know it?” I complained to Larry. “We’re supposed to leave for the mountains tomorrow and Darcy gets sick. Why can’t the Lord have a little mercy on me? I want to go so desperately. If Darcy doesn’t get any worse I’m going anyway, no matter what. I just don’t care. My fun isn’t going to be spoiled by a sick kid.”
But Larry's frown made me realize I couldn't risk contaminating anyone else. The next day as Darcy’s cold worsened, I felt sorry for myself, moaning, “Why is God punishing me? I know I deserve it but I have always believed he is loving and forgiving. I've seen him work in other areas of my life. Why is this problem so different?”
As the day progressed, I unsuccessfully attempted to believe God loved me but constantly yelling at Darcy and nagging Larry convinced me I wasn’t lovable. Tweet that! Larry left the house earlier than usual, saying he needed to work on a flight plan. After Darcy and Mark went down for their naps at one o-clock, I tried to straighten up the mess. Eventually I became so weary I lay on my bed, convinced I would rest for just a few minutes. I woke abruptly and glanced at the clock. 3:05. 
Shocked, I jumped up and threaded my way through the house straightening the clutter. Each room looked better. I had accomplished something. I guess a nap is a good idea. I'll have to take more of them.
The next few days I noticed when a joyful attitude temporarily won a skirmish, I had more energy. But when boredom and selfishness reigned, my energy level decreased and depression raised the victory flag. One day as I listened to a Christian radio station, a pastor shared a message about the importance of memorizing God's Word. Of course I had done that in the past but not recently. Since my devotional book featured Psalm 42, I read with interest verse 11: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”

I memorized it and repeated it often. My inner dialogue turned into praise and soon all I had to think was the word “hope” and a smile came to my face. I took a nap every day. I handled well Darcy’s sickly disposition and Mark’s frequent night feedings. My spirit sang. It had been more than a week since I have been out of control. I knew I would never hurt Darcy again.

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