Some days are tougher than others. It holds true for all of us. In the adoptive mom, mothering 5 children world, it sometimes feels more like some weeks/months/years are tougher than others. This past year nearly did me in. I started a part time job in the school so I would be on the kids same schedule. It was the first time all 5 of our children were participating in something at one time. We found out my son had a rare heart arrythmia and required surgery. We found out our daughter has a connective tissue disease that appears to be genetic so there may be others that follow. So to say we were at the doctor often is an understatement. We met our family deductible in March. We found out another son has some educational special needs and had the opportunity to handle all of the frustrations and behaviors that come from that with him. I had to advocate for him at school to get him the resources he needs, fight with insurance to cover needed therapies, not to mention the extra time required for anything school work related. The husband was working hard for all of us but that unfortunately included almost every weekend and the challenge of staying connected as spouses in the midst of our crazy. We were walking closely down the road with a dear friend of finding herself without the burden of abuse of her pasts. Another child was struggling with her asthma almost daily as I tried to hold down my new job. Our basement that had never gotten wet flooded twice. It was a lot. Too much. I don't say any of this in a poor me way....just to set the scenery... We all know how well I respond to feeling overwhelmed;) Some years are tougher than others. It was a tough one.
As we emerge from the fog, I reflect back on the choices I made. Some choices are prettier than others. I would spend days totally trusting God's plan for my life. I would be prayed up and faithful and accepting what was to come. I would belt out my worship songs in the morning and raise my hands to God. I would smile through the day and dinner would be on the table and appointments remembered and everyone tucked in neatly at night. Other days, not so much. I would literally lay in bed feeling so overwhelmed and the rolodex of issues we were facing would circle through my mind like the ferris wheel at the county fair...heart test, will my son survive this, surgery or no surgery, genetic testing, marfans or not marfans, will it be life altering or just a nuisance, how much will this and that cost, where will the money come from, will i ever see my husband again or will his job just open up its jaws and swallow him whole, how do i get the resources my child needs, how do i best mother him, make sure no one gets lost in the shuffle, shower and brush your teeth, whats for dinner, who is taking so and so to practice and who is picking them up and will i keep my job since i've missed so many days....worry...worry...worry...what if...research online...more research...there were entire days i didn't ask God one single thing about it because I just couldn't bare what He might say and other days that my world was spinning so fast that there was no way to slow it down enough to hear Him. We ate ramens too many times and my house often looked liked maybe it's inhabitants just moved at a moments notice and left everything everywhere.
I'm not proud to say it because I have never been much to compare myself to others but I would sit and wonder how one family could carry so much and other mom's were on their 3rd vacation of the year and it appeared the most stressful decision they'd made lately was the color 'problem-free purple' or 'spoiled sienna' at the nail salon. In case you couldn't hear from my tone, it created some bitterness and bitterness ain't pretty. On anyone. Even if you just got your hair did.
It really was a perfect storm. Busy. Worried. Disconnected. Burdened.
I started to worry about what the issues my son has would mean for him in school, what would his grades be, how would he be judged, what he would not be able to do...but then I remembered who he is....his gifts and talents and the things he can do better than anyone else and it helped me to direct his energy there. He is amazeballs. I would get daily phone calls from his teacher praising him for what he did right in the day and brainstorming new ways to reach him. She is amazeballs.
I can't tell you how many people prayed for our son's heart. God even placed his teacher in his life, that of course, used to be an RN on the cardiac unit. So far it's been corrective. My husband and I held on to the promise that this too shall pass and worked through the impossible to find time for each other and our marriage. The money never works out on paper. Never. But we made it. Things don't always work out perfectly packaged with a bow on top. But life is messy and it's okay. Real faith comes in the holding on through the stink. It doesn't promise stink won't come. In each moment of our difficulties there were blessings to focus on...there was good in each day.
This is what I know. Even on the days I was weighted down and cataloging everything going wrong in our lives, God was with me. I'm sure he wanted to flick me on my forehead but he never left me. On the days I was able to give my burdens to Him, my family and I operated better. We just did. Because unlike many that think we are not given more than we can handle, I often am. I believe we are. Life is too much sometimes. We weren't designed to handle it alone though. God walks with us. Welcomes it, in fact. We are designed to do life with Him. And others. In community with others. I know that when I'm able to focus my ferris wheel thinking on the blessings from God and the steps we've made I am a much better person. I don't want to show my children that nothing hard ever happens in life. I want to show them that when the hard comes you hunker down, hold on to God and each other, find a way to find the blessings no matter how small and maybe even laugh a little.
The other thing I know is that when I focus on my own issues, my world gets small and when I am able to turn my focus outward, it always gets better. There is always someone else that needs prayer. There is always someone else that needs your advocacy, voice, encouragment. When we focus on others, our problems don't go away but they sure do feel not as big.
In my reflecting upon one of the most difficult seasons of our life, I was able to see that
I have a son that hugs me tight that didn't know how to hug when he walked through my door. I can feel the love pour out of him. I have a son that works hard and jumped 6 reading levels in a semester. I have a son that in a different set of circumstances would have been written off long ago but instead is surrounded by the resources and encouragement he needs. I have a son who's heart could be corrected. I have a son that prays for kid's hearts that cannot be. I have a marriage that is ALL in and works hard to be the security and foundation our family needs. The blessings abound. As the kids would say, #blessed.
Life sure can throw things at us....big scary ugly things. Don't let them steal your focus. God is continually blessing us. They are there. Celebrate your victories, no matter how small. Focus on the good your spouse does....the characteristics in your child that build them up...the positives about your job...and even in the stink....the big scary ugly stink....even in the years/months/weeks and days that are tougher, find the blessings. It's the way a tough day turns in to a less tough one.