Being homeschool-minded as of late, it being the time of year for planning for the upcoming year, I guess has caused me to seek longer,and more silent,times of prayer. In these times I have carved away,I have been burdened for myself and other Mom's who are raising- and especially homeschooling also- kids diagnosed as ADD or ADHD. I know there are some of you out there,and I definately am aware of my own challenges at home with my pre-teen son. I am a Christian mom, struggling with the same things as you are,so it seems fitting that I would be willing to share what God is up to in our lives and encourage you for whatever God is doing in yours:)
So, what is the Lord up to? Well, He is up to doing some big works in me, for one thing! He is gently filtering up and out impurities in me,things that are impatient and sometimes bitter. He is taking and filling to overflowing pockets of His sweet goodness in my heart that are mingling around with all the sour stuff. He is teaching me how to parent like He does, and it has been a long journey~ one that is just beginning~ and has been going on since 2003. I know that this is a life-long sanctification, and am so grateful for God and His work of sanctification in me!
When God does this, it is just like the heart-cry of John in Revelations 10:9 when John approaches the angel and asks fot the little book. The angel says, "Take it and Eat it." To be more like Christ in all that we do, and all that we say, to be assimilating our Bible knowledge into the daily living out of one’s life, 'Walking in a manner that is worthy of the gospel'. I'm nervous just thinking about it! No way can I live up to that standard! Yet even though He is fully, 100% aware of the depravity of our hearts He still tries to teach us to walk like our Father does! Isn't that amazing? Isn't that gospel-love?? I would have given up on me a long time ago!But not God! Not only does He not give us up, He also goes beyond just standard meeting of our basic needs(food, clothes, water, medicine)and He goes .into training us, teaching us, molding us, using us~ as imperfect as we are. He changes us, from the inside out, on a personal level!I'm so excited about this.
I know that God is willing and able to change my kid's hearts also. Yes some of us struggle with ADD or ADHD, or any number of physical malady, and this is just a part of fallen life, but even in the midst of being a fallen people in a fallen world we are not without hope, the light of the glorious gospel breaks through.' I need to remind myself of these things so, so often 'here in the trenches': remind myself of God's sovereignty, of His power, of His grace, of His wisdom(for His timing),in times when the mud is in my eye and my back is aching ~ yes, you know those times, Momma of the ADD/ ADHD child, even more so than 'regular' mommas, when I tempted by my sin and my enemy, those are the times I cry out the loudest " Lord, mold me! Change me! Make me more like Your son!!" So, trials are not so bad. We even can count them a joy, though in the midst- I'm not feeling joyful, but pained, but oh how God can use the circumstances of life and consequences of our decisions to obey or not to obey to teach us Mom's and Dad's, as well as our kids. So, I say let them - within reason- feel the consequences of their choices, their sin and their obedience. I say this because this is what God has shown me, take it or leave it. 'Let them feel the consequences of their choices, teach them with scripture and good deeds, be merciful and full of patience and tender hearted love, for these are your people(family), just as you are all my people(my family).' I just love How God says in a few, choice words what people all around the world are scrambling to say in a million words, how to best raise our children. I'm not saying that you should go off of my answers to prayer, these are tailored to me, but check the word of God and see to it that you and I, all of us, are women not swayed by each new idea out there about parenting but that we stick loyally to the only wisdom that we have: God's word. And we teach our children to do the same, especially our ADD and ADHD children who by nature are so quick to forget the one thing and so easily swayed by their own ideas, even more a temptation for them than for the rest of us. And it is bad enough for us!
The need for teaching self-control is there, especially so, for these kids. And adults. The ability to govern themselves has to be learned. See, from my experiences working with people with ADD and being a mom/wife in the midst of ADD, the thing about ADHD and ADD for children is they can't control anything! Not their behavior, not their mouths, not their appetite. They do not have OFF valves. These are ALL appetites that are SELF pleasing. It is hard for them to truly accept Christ and follow Him, as that would require dying to self. So we hit that brick wall again and again, it seems unpenetrable. This is where the sin is scariest, in my opinion. What do we have when we have a heart that is so dead set against submission to God? A need for sweet brokeness,for the appealing and irresistable gospel,for a Mom(and Dad)who parent their children the way God parents us~He loves us enough to let us feel the consequences of our sinful choices, within reason, yet He is a God who does not give us more to deal with than we can bear. This is what God has been showing me.
I read this recently (you can see that once Summer comes and school is over, I have a bit more time to read ha ha):
"It is significant, for us who are living in these last days before the tribulation, that the key philosophical issue of our time revolves around these two issues—the existence of God, and creation versus secularism and evolution.
Modern man derides both. Instead of being the creation of a personal God who created mankind for His own glory and purposes, man is the impersonal result of time and chance.22 This is a lie. Therefore, we must counteract this teaching. We must have answers for our children. We must study up on matters pertaining to the Bible and science. If we fail to educate our children and ourselves, we will potentially hurt the cause of Christ."
Whew! It seems like this doesn't fit with the rest of what Iv'e been talking about here but it does: we educate them that God exists, as creation is crying out for all to hear, as my pastor taught on Sunday, and that He is creator, and we educate them about God's character~ why we want to submit to Him, how loving and merciful He is, how He will bring judgement to the world and all the people in it. That is my job, to inspire Tyler to want to love God wholeheartedly, to dazzle him witht he gospel as our Youth Group taught not too long ago. Oh how I wish I could stay in this place with God for awhile longer, but I hear stirrings and that means Mom is now officially on-duty so break-time is over ;)
I will leave you Moms who have an ADHD or ADD child like me(or an ADHD or ADD husband like me),with this article I found on christianadhd.com the other day. Very practical helps. God bless! :)
Executive Functioning is that skill which enables a person to see a situation, task, or challenge and figure out what steps are necessary to deal with the situation effectively, complete the task completely and excellently, and rise to the challenge and resolve the issues presented.
For a working man, this means knowing that it is a work day, waking on time, knowing how to dress appropriately for the job, timing breakfast, leaving home in time to fill up the gas tank, and arriving at work looking sharp and ready to start work on time. He knows that he has 2 days to complete the computer model for Project A and 5 days to complete the computer model for Project B. He needs to work on Model A before he can work on Model B because Model A needs to be completed first. He needed the data for Model A and had to interact with Employee D in order to get such data two weeks before Model A was due.
For a working mom (whether you work outside the home or in, you are all working moms), it means knowing how early she must rise in the morning in order to get herself and her children ready for the day. She must consider meals for her children, possibly make lunch, ensure that all homework is completed, backpacks are filled with homework and lunch, knowing what time she must leave to get her children to school and so on. Making lunch means she must have the necessary food items already purchased, allow herself 20 minutes to make lunches, and lunch boxes should have been washed the night before.
Executive functioning in a nutshell is the ability to know what to do throughout the day to complete each task set before you, which tasks need to be done when, what tools are needed for each task, where to find them, and which steps to take to complete each task, when to take those steps in which order, and when the task needs to be completed. Executive functioning is all about details and the ability to see clearly which are important to the task at hand and which are not.
Executive Functioning Problems in ADDults
ADHD adults face many obstacles to executive functioning, including but not limited to:
Meteorological fog is a cloud phenomenon that is on ground level. If it is thick, it obscures a person's view of the road ahead and behind. If you are driving in a thick fog with visibility of 10 feet, you must drive very slowly because you cannot see dangers ahead or a curve in the road well ahead of time.
Brain fog is similar to a fog cloud. Stimuli, details of surroundings, needs of children and spouse, household tasks, even personal needs are obscured by a jumble of thought or even non-thought. It is nearly impossible to think clearly when experiencing a brain fog. For those of you normies who have been on pain medication, you might be able to imagine what ADHD brain fog is like. It is as though we are looking through a veil of gauze at the world, and are receiving input through that same gauze. Nothing is crisp and clear.
When an ADDult is in a brain fog, they wander around all day long accomplishing nearly nothing. They might seem to be depressed. They might seem lost. They might work all day without completing any one task. They might just shut down. Time awareness is nearly nonexistent.
Hyperfocus is the ability to focus on one particular task to such a degree that time ceases to exist and the world around one fades. Hyperfocus is friend and foe of the ADDult. Hyperfocus is necessary to the ADDult when faced with a complex task. It enables the ADDult to drown out the clamoring world around him and only see what needs to be done, usually one step at a time. Executive functioning nearly stops when in hyperfocus mode, though. Because the ADDult is so focused on that one task, they do not see, hear, smell, or feel anything else going on around them. They forget to eat, forget to go to sleep, and fail to interact with their family members. They work on the one task in front of them and then move on to the most obvious task next. Problem solving is entirely linear in hyperfocus mode. Most ADDults will accomplish what needs to be accomplished in hyperfocus, but they will not take the easiest route from Step A to Step Z. They may start with Step E, need to go back to Step A, and so on. The job will get done, but it takes longer.
Whether there is brain damage from a traumatic brain injury or just brain fog, memory difficulties are common in ADDults. The inability to remember when their dentist appointment is next week, what day Project A is due, that the bulletin board needs to be updated in two weeks, which road to take to get to the auto parts store and what time they close, are all examples of memory difficulties. In many cases an ADDult will be taking a load of clothes to the bedroom, see the bed is not made, start to make the bed, see a sock on the floor, sort a few pair of socks, see the drawer is a mess, begin to straighten the drawer, remember that they have a pot of chili on the stove and run frantically to see if it is burnt. In the meantime, they were supposed to pick up a prescription and get cookies for tomorrow from the store. Time to vacuum, but the vacuum cleaner is nowhere in sight and the hose is not with the vacuum cleaner when you find it. Where is the duster, too? Did I put it in the closet or under the sink? Where is the scouring powder I need to clean the sink? I used it yesterday to clean the bathtub. Is it in the bathroom?
For men, it means forgetting the details of what needs to be done, where, when, and how after someone has explained all of this to them. When were we supposed to be at the party? Which weekend am I supposed to mow the church lawn? When is my wife's birthday? What directory did I save that file to?
An ADDult has been in a brain fog for 3 days, the house needs to be painted, the car needs repair, the bills need to be paid, the dog needs his shots, the washing machine is leaking, and the wife is definitely not happy. He hasn't been home in time for dinner all week long and the children don't recognize him. Since he can't seem to get a grip on what to start first, he shuts down. He turns on the TV and doesn't accomplish anything constructive all weekend long. He is totally overwhelmed. It is as though his wife, his boss, his children and his dog were all standing right in front of him yelling at him what needs to be done NOW! He can't really understand any of them very well, and only knows that he feels as though he is being assaulted. There are no quiet voices telling him that he needs to change into grubby clothes, get the painting supplies out, prep the walls by filling with spackling, and spread a cloth on the floor. Instead he is paralyzed by it all and nothing gets done.
Executive Functioning Solutions for ADDults
There is hope for the ADDult. There are tools, methods, treatments, and solutions to address the challenges facing ADDults. Let me warn you, though, that it takes at least three times more effort than normal for an ADDult to stay on top of his life.
No More Denial
The first step is to acknowledge that there is a problem. If you are not sure, ask your husband or wife. Ask your children or boss. They will tell you, maybe a little too emphatically that "YES, THERE IS A PROBLEM!!!" It is time to fess up, get real, and ask the Lord to forgive you for not dealing with this sooner. I am going to step on some toes here, but James 4:17 says, "Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin." Failing to take care of your family is sin (notice I didn't say failing to keep a perfect home is sin -- there is a difference). Failing to fulfill work obligations is sin. Failing to do what you said you would do is sin. When we come to the Lord with our failures, something wonderful happens. By acknowledging the sin, we are positioned for healing.
1 John 1:8 says, "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
I struggle horribly with keeping a neat and orderly home. When I am dealing with physical illness, I have an excuse for not taking care of my home. When I am not ill and am overwhelmed and fail to at least make a good effort at taking care of my home and family, I may be in sin. Let's face it: we are born in sin, our flesh knows only what it wants and wars against our spirit. It is the spirit man that wants and knows to please God. So calling our failures sin is okay. No, not all failures are sin. Sometimes failure is out of our control. I am talking about personal failure to do what we know we should be doing. According to James 4:17, that type of failure is sin.
1 Peter 5:6,7 says, "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you."
Acknowledging failure is just humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God. He is ever merciful, and He is ever wise and will guide us if we humble ourselves, acknowledging that we cannot handle life on our own. Fall on your face before the Lord. Confess your failures and ask Him to forgive you. Cast all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you so much. He is waiting for you to come to Him with this struggle. Beginning this journey with a clean slate or a clean heart is imperative.
After you have been cleansed in the flow of Jesus' blood, it is time to acknowledge before your loved ones that you have not been what they needed. You must ask them to forgive you. Restoring relationships is right up there with being right with God. Matthew 5:23 makes this clear: "Therefore, if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering."
Right relationship with God is interconnected with right relationship with others. Do not neglect this step. You will not find God's grace if you are not right with others.
Most of us need some type of accountability in order to do what is right and stay on the path set before us. Finding this accountability can be challenging. I highly recommend that men find another man to share their struggles with. Younger women can seek out an older woman as an accountability partner. Choose someone full of grace but avoid the people-pleasing type. Older women can seek out another older woman for accountability.
Ask this accountability partner to ask you each week about certain areas of your life. If you and the Lord are working on being on time this week, ask your accountability partner to ask you each time he sees you if you were on time to work, meetings, etc. Confess if you were not and allow the Lord to work in this area through another. Having an accountability partner maintains humility. Pride and healing are not compatible. Humility and healing go hand in hand.
Let's Get Started
Make a list of the top 10 challenging areas in your life. My list might look like this:
Never keeping up with laundry
Failing to have daily Bible study and prayer
Not having dinner planned and cooked each night
Too much computer time (this is my escape when I hit overload)
Interrupting when others are talking
Impatient with husband
Putting off church projects until the last minute
Lazy in my personal appearance
Ignoring my children when they need correction
Staying up too late and sleeping too late
Some of these problems are not as serious as others, but they all affect my success as a Christian woman. Most of these problem areas are related to my ADHD. Doesn't matter. We can identify problems, label them, but then we have to solve them. I would choose one problem area to work on for the next week or two. I would not fail to try to at least be aware of the need to work harder in the other areas, and the list brings awareness, but my main focus will be on one area at a time.
Let me choose one problem area and give some possible solutions/tools:
6. Putting off church projects until the last minute.
First, I would confess this as sin to the Lord. I would ask Him to forgive me for procrastinating and putting unnecessary stress on myself and my family. I would then ask Him to show me what I can do to change this area of my life.
Secondly, I would share this problem area with my accountability partner. I would share that I have always struggled with this problem and how it affects me and my family. Discussing the consequences of procrastination is an important part of finding healing. Knowing that our choices always have consequences helps us realize how serious they are. I would ask my accountability partner for ideas for changing this area, and let them know that I have a project that needs to be done. I would ask them to call me on Tuesday (or whatever day) to ask me how I am doing on the project. They are then to hold me accountable for finishing said project in a timely manner, with plenty of time to spare.
Finally, I need to record the project in Outlook Calendar and my planner. I need to make a list of what steps are necessary to complete this project. If I need to shop before I can begin, I need to make a list immediately. I need to make notes on my planner showing what steps should be completed on certain days and check them off as they are completed. For the task-oriented, these lists show progress and increase a feeling of success. I need to have projects completed at least 24 hours before the due date.
Expect change to occur slowly. Continue to go to the Lord with your failures and confess them as sin. Cry out daily for wisdom and strength to continue to work towards changing this area. Never give up. Your faith is not in your own ability to change or do better, but in the Lord's ability to work through you and change you from the inside out by the Holy Spirit.
Project Management 101: Making Lists
List-makers get a lot done. They do not rely on their ability to remember, but quickly record what needs to be done and then put all of their mental efforts into getting the job done. I will be honest here: if you are not a list-maker by nature, it will take a lot of effort to make yourself sit down and make lists. But if you skip this step, and you are in the midst of a serious brain fog, you will get virtually nothing accomplished.
I highly recommend that you make your lists within your planner. You can use Outlook if you prefer, or Excel or Word. Choose your list application and stick with it. Always print out your list and put it with your planner. Staple it in. Don't let it float around. Maybe you want to post it on the fridge. Make sure it is safe. Keep a copy in your planner.
Write the name of the task or project at the top of the sheet. Begin to write out the steps necessary to complete the task or project. Be very detailed. Include a shopping list (be sure to make a copy of your list to take with you to the store -- don't take your Project List out of the house unless it is stapled to your planner) and sub-lists as you need them. Break down very large projects into smaller chunks, then make lists for those sub-tasks. This is Executive Functioning.
Give yourself a deadline and make yourself finish 24 hours before the deadline if possible. If it is a cooking project, this will not be possible. But for nonperishable projects, you should be able to complete 24 hours before the deadline. Learning to give yourself margin is very important. This greatly reduces stress and can put you in a position to be available for another task.
Project Management 101: Use Your List
This might seem extremely obvious, but I have made lists often and just not used them. What a waste of time and effort. I highly recommend that you establish a daily planning time. The best time would be right after you have spent time in the Word and spoken with the Lord about your day. Have a cup of coffee or tea (or Mountain Dew if that is your drug of choice), and make yourself review your planner. Review the month first. Then review the week you are in. Next, review your project lists. Note what steps need to be completed that day on your daily To Do list. This is very important. Take the time to create a daily To Do list. Do this at the same time every day. Yes, we are talking routine here, but it is good for you.
Make a note of when would be the best time to work on your project. Make an appointment in Outlook Calendar and set the alarm. When the alarm goes off, stop what you are doing and work on your project for an established amount of time. Set the alarm before you start for 1 hour and then make yourself stop and review your To Do list, check the clock, see if you need to clean, eat, set out frozen meat to defrost, and so on. The alarms help you break free from hyperfocus. They help provide structure.
Check off what you have accomplished each hour of the day and thank the Lord for helping you to get so much done.
Project Management 101: Use Tools
See ADDult Organizational Software and Tools
Take an inventory of tools that you presently own. Choose the tools you want to use to manage your life. I use Outlook Calendar for alarms and reminders, my cell phone for appointments and alarms as well as my phone book, and a paper planner to record appointments, obligations at church, activities and notes/lists.
PDA's are affordable and might be the best tool for the ADDult. You can attach it to your waistband and keep it with you at all times. If your cell phone is also a PDA, keep it on your person at all times. Do not put it down. Men do not carry purses, so a paper planner is difficult to keep with you. A PDA or cell phone with PDA capabilities might be the answer. Take a couple of hours, read the manual and learn to use it.
Digital timers - these are available in the kitchen accessory section of stores and are great for keeping on task and knowing when to stop and change gears. Beginning a new task? Set your timer for a reasonable amount of time; I don't recommend more than one hour for any one task. You can always reset it for another 30 minutes or so if it is a time-consuming project. The digital timer I have has two warning beeps at 5 minute intervals before the set time. Helps with transition time. Set the timer again for the next task. Keep it with you at all times. Ladies, when you get on the phone, set the timer for 10, 15 or 20 minutes, then get off when time is up. You are master of your time. Don't let others dictate what you do with your day.
Computer - Again, there are plenty of computer applications that will keep you on track while in the office, work or home.
Spouse - although the Word of God says that a wife is a helpmeet, she is not her husband's mother. Using your wife as a PDA is not fair to her. Likewise, a woman depending so much on others that she cannot function independently of them is wrong, too. Use your tools and impress your loved ones with your efficiency.
Executive functioning is not out of reach for ADDults. If it is impossible to even use tools and lists, consider seeing a healthcare professional to discuss medication or alternative treatment. Do not just throw up your hands and declare that there is no hope. There is always hope in the Lord. He wants you to function effectively and be able to meet the needs of those around you.
Submitted by Michele Haynes.