Self-care. It's all the rage these days and the topic of numerous blog posts, podcasts, and books. For tired mommas, the message rings loud and clear: fill your cup, because you can't pour from empty. It's meant to be encouraging. Life-giving. Permissive to attending to your own needs. But, could it be, that this attempt at condoning taking care of oneself has become a source of idolatry - or added pressure - even among believers?
This time of year, we celebrate the birth of our Savior. Sovereign God, come as a newborn babe - the King of kings, born in a stable. In this beautiful, backwards-from-society story, we see the love of the Father, in the giving of His Son. And we see the love of a father, in the accepting of his son. It held miraculous and messy in tandem.
Good opportunities abound. In this world of broken, there is no shortage of ways to serve and love well. But if we aren't careful, we can busy ourselves with so much good that we miss out on God.
"Battle weary." "Parenting in the trenches." "Remember, your fight isn't you against your child, but you and your child against their pain." They're common phrases for foster and adoptive parents, meant to encourage and offer solidarity. But there's something more: adoption and foster care are spiritual warfare.
When faced with adversity, many of us resort to protecting ourselves. It's human instinct - to avoid pain and discomfort. Our brain is wired to send signals to the rest of our body when we experience something unpleasant - it's a signal that tell us to avoid repeating whatever caused the pain - cause and effect.
So, what do we do when the source of pain and discomfort is the trauma and behaviors of our child?
"Mom," I asked through tears, "how can I possibly do everything the experts suggest??"
For the past three months, things have been tough with one of our kiddos. Past trauma and current realities have danced in ways that leave us all pretty tired at the end of the day. I had a stack of adoption and trauma related books, a highlighter, and pen sitting out - determined to figure out what we needed to change to make things better.
Parents of children with attachment issues often need to hear this reminder: Your child's attachment issues are not a direct reflection of you, your parenting, or any type of lack or failure on your part.
We cannot get in the midst of someone else's pain - really in the trench of grief with them - and not come out unscathed. Sometimes, the cost of ensuring our child knows they are not alone is feeling incredibly alone ourselves. It can be hard, but there is a truth greater than the facts we face every day: Jesus is with us, and He is for us.
In the midst of challenges, sometimes it helps to be reminded of truth. Truth that compels us. Truth that challenges us. Truth that sustains us. Truth that empowers us.
Sometimes, as foster and adoptive parents, we need to be reminded of simple truths. Not because we don't know them, but because we've been immersed in loving our people, advocating for the needs of others, and working through grief, trauma, and loss with our precious kiddos. If you find yourself in need of refreshing, this one is for you.
I trudged to the front of the group, my palms clammy and heart racing. The gym was overcrowded with sweaty kids, a typical 90’s summer day club. The promise of good times and trying new activities had become disillusioned for me quite early on. My quiet, slightly pudgy 7-year-old self had won the attention of the camp director. And since attention was neither appreciated nor desired, dread—not laughter—filled my summer days.
I wasn’t surprised I had been called to the front. Several weeks had conditioned me for what was going to happen as I approached the grown up holding the microphone.
Here you will find the musings of a homeschooling, work from home, adoptive Momma of 7! Adventures in faith, family, adoption, and training up a tribe to follow hard after Jesus are spilled into these posts --- most often written with a cup of coffee in hand. I hope you'll stick around a while and find something - more likely SOMEONE! - that brings you hope!
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