I thought maybe it could be a help to someone else to know some of these things that I have gone through thus far.
- I am absolutely human in every way. There is no item in my wardrobe containing a large S on the chest. If there were such an item, it would be in the wrong home. It is true that I am, by nature, strong willed and independent and a care-taker and a problem-solver. But . . . just like anyone else, I have emotions, and I have 'limits', and my strength fails -- I fail.
- Some days, I do feel overwhelmed!
- Some days, it feels too hard! There are moments when I feel, "I can't do this!" Later, I look back and feel so stupid for feeling that way because I have to do it -- it's not a choice.
- I don't want to do this!
- It hurts me greatly when people are harsh with me or my kids. I already know I'm not perfect. My kids aren't perfect, either -- I know that, too. Yes, I absolutely want them to be well behaved and to obey, and I don't want to make excuses for bad behavior, BUT sometimes, I just want to say to people, "REALLY?? You can't extend them (me) just a little bit of grace right now? Do you realize at all what we are dealing with?"
- It is hard when people distance themselves. I know sometimes it is just circumstances. Sometimes it is because they don't know what to say or do. Sometimes they feel badly because their situation turned out differently than ours.
- It absolutely rips my heart out when people reference 'the natural progression of things' or the fact that things are 'just to be expected.' I'm not in denial, I just really don't want to think about it all the time or have people talk about it. The same goes for references to life on the other side of this situation.
- There are times I experience fear. There have been some moments when that fear has resulted in feeling panic.
- I feel like a failure. I can't do for my husband what I want to do - to fix it. I can't do for my children what I want to do and feel I need to do. Things have been set in place to do for my kids the things I can't do for them right now. (Where is that shirt with the big 'S' when I need it?) There are things that we have done as tradition that we can't do right now. As much as I try to keep things as normal as possible, the fact is that I can't keep it normal because life simply is NOT normal right now.
When the comment was made (and it was said ever so kindly and appropriately) that help was being offered so others could do for my children what I could not do for them right now, it did hurt. The fact is that what it hurt was my pride. Pride separates us from others, but worse than that is the fact that pride separates us from and puts us at odds with God -- that's not a place I want to be. I choose to lay aside that pride and be genuinely thankful for what is being done for me.
The times that I fail are really no different than any other point in life. I have to ask forgiveness, do my best to make things right, and move forward. Period.
When I am overwhelmed and it feels too hard, those are the moments when I must shift my focus upward. I cry out to God -- it may be just a simple, "Dear God, please help me!" or "Lord, I need Your strength because I just don't have any of my own!" I thank God for giving us today and try very hard to find blessings in the day and the moments.
There have been several points in time when I have told the Lord that I don't want to do this! However, my heart's desire is to live a life pleasing to Him. So, I follow that statement with, "If I must walk this path, then help me to do so in a way that honors You." I know that, if God has this path for me to walk, then He will give me the strength to do it if I just stay close to Him.
When people say or do things that hurt, I do my absolute best to just let it go. I have asked for help in situations where a person just maybe needs to hear it from a different perspective. In the end, though, my goal is to extend grace to people. I'm not perfect, either, and I'm absolutely sure that I don't always say or do the right things. We all need grace. And, if, maybe someone truly was being unkind, well -- that's not my problem. Only God knows a person's heart, and that is His place to take care of a problem there.
Even though it is hard when people distance themselves, I don't hold that against anyone. I do understand that each person has their own set of circumstances they are dealing with and that it is simply too much at times to add to the burden they are already carrying. One very dear friend admitted that they needed to distance themselves a little because it hasn't been too terribly long since they had a loss in their family, and our current experiences have caused them to feel that grief all over again. I understand that. I think it took a lot for this friend to open up about that, too. It is a growing process for all.
The conversations about 'the natural progression of things' are sometimes necessary, I suppose, to some degree at least and from certain sources. It doesn't make it any easier to hear, and it doesn't make me want to hear it any more. It's just one of those really tough things about this journey.
The emotions are a very big part of this journey, and I know they will come in varying forms. Fear is natural, but what I do with that fear is what is most important. When I turn that fear over to God and replace that fear with trust, then I can have peace. When I let the fears have free course, that's when the panic hits. I do have questions about what the future holds, but I cannot let fear reign. I told my husband a few months ago that I was confident that, just as God has a plan for his life, He has a plan for me and the kids, too. I do not believe that God wants our lives ruled by fear, and it is an active choice to trust and not fear.
When I feel like a failure, I need to check my perspectives. It may be that I have failed in an area that I can correct. If that is the case, then I need to make those corrections. Sometimes, though, those feelings are because my expectations are not what they should be. Way back when this all started - long before we knew what we would be facing now - my dear friend Francie said to me that I would need to learn to accept 'good enough as good enough', that this is not 'normal life'. There are many things I wish I could change that I simply cannot. I am doing my best to balance the things I must take care of. There are many things that I cannot take care of the way I would like to or the way I have in the past. I don't have the time to spend with my children that I really wish I could, so I do the best I can to still make life enjoyable for them and to make the moments that I do have with them moments that really count. Life isn't 'ideal' right now, but it is where God has placed us, and He has a purpose for doing so. I want to learn the lessons He has for me, and I want to help my children learn about God's love and grace through this, as well.
It is true that there have been many tough moments along this path, but God's goodness has been right there, too, and there is much for which to be thankful. I am thankful for God's grace and patience and forgiveness. I am thankful for His ever-constant presense -- He has never left us alone. I am thankful that He loves me in spite of my failures. I am thankful, too, for those that He has put in our lives who have walked along side us in this journey thus far. God has been so good to us, and I feel blessed beyond measure.