“The plan for your life far exceeds the circumstances of today.”
I found this quote that I used a year ago to comfort my aching heart. Our boys were not home yet, and it was so difficult. It caused me to think about life now versus then, and also how true this statement is. So, I have been reading through some drafts of blog posts that were never finished since starting our blog. It was a bit rough to read where I have been emotionally in recent years. I bully myself. I tell myself bad things. I judge and criticize my own actions.
I also have been reading a book by Jen Hatmaker called “For The Love”, and it has been speaking directly to my emotional, overwhelmed, foster/adoptive mom self. It is so much easier at this current moment, the moment when life seems to have a routine and not an overwhelming pressure, to look to the future and reflect on the past. So it was not a coincidence when I stumbled upon my heartache and bitterness of blogs never completed as I was recharged and encouraged by grace-filled writings in this book.
Let’s look at what I found:
August 14, 2016 (While fostering in a group home)
“I want everyone to step up and be a foster/adoptive parent, but I have to tell you how scary it is first. You probably can’t do it. You feel paralyzed and powerless.”
May 3, 2017 (While fostering to adopt 2 boys)
“My heart has been so confused. I think it’s safe to say my life is so very different from what I thought it would be. Adopting a child is stressful. That’s an obvious concept. But the depth of grief is not as apparent. We have felt some pretty deep hurts through our foster kids as Family Teachers, and I figured that it would be in the same ballpark of emotions as an adopted child. And that has been completely false.
Just like the decision to marry someone, and accept their whole self for the rest of your life, so is an adoption. It can be fairly overwhelming to realize the gravity of ‘forever’. So add that to saying goodbye to birth parents that they know and love, add moving into a new home, add gobs of people asking you about your life and ‘exciting new step’, add learning to live with a sibling again, add figuring out all the rules of your new home, add adjusting to life with four instead of ten, add burdens and labels of being in foster care, add PTSD, add cleft palate maintenance and procedures, add getting a million new family members, add ‘you can’t have any contact with your birth mom’.
Should I continue? I mean, it sounds like a recipe for success, right? Yes, ask me if we’ve been successful. (Hint: we haven’t been)”
Sounds like a big case of “I forgot my purpose”! I didn’t think we had been successful as parents to kids without them! (Heidi, the plan for your life FAR EXCEEDS the circumstances [tantrums, homework, stress, outbursts, work load, therapy, laundry] of today)
Just again last night, after finishing up MANY home projects and spring cleaning in our home, I felt that twinge of failure. Of all the things I (and my in laws!) helped complete off the list, I still can’t seem to get everything done that I want. At the end of a week’s worth of work I’m left with 6 things completed and 7 left to do. I see that as failure when it should be felt as success.
I have noticed the tendency I have to kick myself when I’m already down. I have almost half of my list left to do, why didn’t I just work harder and get it all done? Why can’t I just focus on one thing and check it off? (side note: the most real “if you give a mouse a cookie’ scenario is a mom with hand vacuum) If I wasn’t so lazy or I was better at time management, I would be able to finish it, right?
If I’m this much of a “Debbie Downer” for seemingly insignificant things, can you just think for a minute the negativity I feel for my kids? Foster care in general is such a broken and overwhelmed system. It feels impossible to make a dent in it. My kids don’t make monumental steps day to day. They learn lessons as slow as molasses! It’s nothing against my kids specifically, your kids do the same thing 🙂 It’s not until I’m catching up with friends I haven’t talked to in a while that I realize it has been almost 4 months since our last violent outburst at home. 4 MONTHS, PEOPLE! So I don’t feel competent because I failed to complete my spring cleaning list, but I can work together with my husband well enough to help my kid cope with his negative emotions. (that’s a big win!)
The plan for your life far exceeds the circumstances of today, Friends.
This writing took a turn that I wasn’t expecting, but I feel it’s important to say. Determining your worth based on today’s circumstances doesn’t work. It leaves you with my negative thoughts of never being enough. So you can work hard, and then take a rest. Despite my self esteem and anxiety of the future, last night I sat and played with the dog and our chickens and talked with my husband while the boys built Legos. Because my worth and the plan God has for me far exceeds the situations and feelings I face today.