Monday, February 15, 2010

Stepping On Toes

Ever feel the "ouch" when someone has stepped on your toes? Literally or figuratively?

Ever felt a dry, desert-like season in your relationship with God?

And then finally after a long drought, you get bombarded with the "ouchies!"

My entire weekend has been one "ouchy" after another.

Where do I start and how much do I share?

Being brutally honest has been my forte up to this point, so why deflect from the norm.

Caution....tough stuff ahead.

We all carry baggage from childhood with us, whether we realize it or not and whether we want to admit it or not.

Sometimes God gifts us with a child that is the epitomy of what we are not. A rush of emotions flood you, almost like a tsunami and you wonder in the midst of trying to find air what on earth just happened to you. Your world has been turned upside down; ugly, ugly emotions surface and you look in the mirror and can't find a semblance of the person you once were.

What on earth am I talking about?

Shocking as this may seem, but I'm a wallflower. I like to blend into the background, hate attention and am incredibly uncomfortable walking into a room with more than a half dozen people. Yikes...that is exactly what happened to me at church last night! As usual, I was late gettting two of my children to Awana, so I was late getting to the new Women's Small Group Study that started last night and walked into a room full of women -- some I knew, some I didn't. I just wanted to die!

Bear with me here for a minute as I try and tie all this together.

Yesterday morning in Sunday School, we continued are study in the Book of James, my all-time favorite book of the Bible because of it's practical, no nonsense description of how to live your life for Christ: facing trials, perseverance, listening, being slow to anger, true Faith, Faith and deeds, taming the tongue (glad I missed that week; surely that would have been more ouchy than I could handle!), and finally this week we studied that humility comes from wisdom. Ever feel like you wanted to just get up and walk out of a room??? Yep, that was me yesterday morning. I can feel the proverbial bruises all over my body.

And if that wasn't enough, our fabulous Pastor Tim spoke on John 15:5: I am the vine, you are the branches and God's work in us by pruning the branches. Can I say OUCH loud enough???? Pruning is a very painful process as a Christian.

For months I couldn't hear God; and yet this weekend He showed up in a BIG way....a gentle and loving way, but still very "ouch!" And in my typical fashion, I wasn't really happy about it. Being pruned is a humbling experience.

So..where am I going with this? For months I've been frustrated and angry, feeling WAY OVER MY HEAD as a Mom to 4 kids. Asking myself am I the ONLY Mom out there struggling? If not, why isn't anyone else out there raising the white flag for help? Why is there so much pressure on us to be "the perfect Mom?" I even asked my GYN last week during my annual appointment: "Why is this so hard? Years ago people had lots of kids and managed without losing their minds. Why can't I do this well?" First, I want to say I absolutely love my GYN. She is just awesome; also the Mom to 4 small children. She responded in a kind, compassionate and understanding way: "Years ago, Robin, we lived next door to our Mom, our sister, and other family; children played outside for hours each day, and we had our family there to support us." BINGO!!!! That's it! It does truly take a village to raise a family. For some of us that are lucky enough to have that extended family near by, thank them, hug them, never forget what a true blessing they are. For others, like me, who have absolutely NO HELP, there are days, weeks and sometimes months that it is so overwhelming you just barely come up for air each day. We have to reach out for help. I know for a fact that there are others out there like me struggling too. We can't keep silent anymore; not only for our own sakes, more importantly for our children's sake.

And finally, sometimes God gifts us with a child that is everything we aren't. I believe with everything I am that God uses these children to prune US to be more like Him. But wow, does that hurts! Years of untapped hurt can emerge in a moment, taking you completely by surprise. Months could go by, frustrated, hurt and angry with no explanation on where it came from, until one very observant and well meaning Social Worker asks you the loaded question of a century: "What is it about this child that irritates you so much? Why does this personality make you so angry?" And in that moment, you make the connection: this child is everything I am not; this child lights up a room when she enters; this child has the personality that makes people stop and smile; this child is beautiful and knows it; this child brings floods of memories from childhood, from school that still hurt: "I can't be Robin's friend because I don't know which sister she is and I can't be friends with the "bad" sister because people will think I'm "bad" like her. And since I don't know which one is Robin and which one is "M", I'll just shun both of them." A hurt from long ago, unburied in such a simple way. It's time to let go of the pain.......It's time to put away "selfish ambition" and be the Mom that I need to be. It's time to embrace this child's bubbling personality and love this child the way God created this child.

How do you ask your child to forgive you? How do you forgive yourself?

A while back, a dear friend from high school referred to me as "The Chosen Lady," I can't help but think that God made a mistake...a big mistake in calling me to be the Mom of 4. I am so not equipped for this. But he doesn't call the equipped, does he? He equips the called.


The Albertsons said...

I can't wait to come see you.
also, you are awesome. thanks for your honesty. i think we all grieve how things used to be, even though we were either really young or don't even remember being around our "village" of extended family. the lack of that environment has really hurt us all, as moms (in my opinion). makes me want to move to a small village in africa and let people help me. it also goes against my "i can do this myself" mentality. we're all sort of withering b/c of that. Ah, america. awesome place, but it's fostered some not-so-awesome tendencies in modern times.
can't wait to hug you and bring you cake :).

Sparkz said...

I love the writing. I read blogs whenever I get a free moment (so it usually isn't often). This is one of my favorite parts: For others, like me, who have absolutely NO HELP, there are days, weeks and sometimes months that it is so overwhelming you just barely come up for air each day.- I love this. It should go in a book. I find myself sometimes in this situation and realize that I don't know what to do! We have realized that things have got to change for us and are moving and adjusting our lives so that things are easier. However it speaks right to my heart as my life has been a bit crazy and things are now starting to "settle". Luckily God has been in control and has been the air I have needed through it all.

I ALSO have noticed how hard it is when you have no additional support from family. I have noticed that people say that they don't rely on family that much but they do. It is nice for them to have someone there if they need a day for sanity, advice, etc. My family is MILES away and we don't really communicate. They read our blog, we call once a month, etc. that is about it. With a husband who is always working several hours away and me finishing school things get tough. I love our child beyond what I could have ever imagined but yes some days it is hard! You are right, you are not the only one who has had these feelings!
Another of the parts that I enjoyed was : And finally, sometimes God gifts us with a child that is everything we aren't.
So true. Our son is more than I could have ever expected or asked for. I love him so much and he is amazing.

Wonderful post. BTW James is my favorite book also. I wanted Nati's middle name to be James but that will be for our next son!

We are stepping into our next adoption- this time a sibling group. I am sure there will be days I will wonder what I am doing also, but like you said "God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called." He will provide everything we need.

Thanks for sharing everything. Great thoughts!