At a recent function with other adoptive/foster parents, I got a question...."What has been your biggest struggle?" Sounds loaded. Like today? Last year? From the beginning of our adoption journey? In some ways, I think which one? But on the other hand, I think, are there any worth mentioning? Things are good and status quo most of the time.
We of course have some normal struggles with having a lot of kids. Is everyone getting enough attention? Are we missing any major needs? Whoops, I took a kid to a soccer game he didn't even have!
And even bigger, more stereotypical things, like lying, and hiding food under the pillow. And those are noteworthy of course. But they make logical sense when a child has lived in an institution of any kind and built habits and doubts (like will I get to eat again soon?) that my brain can wrap itself around.
And my kids have had struggles. Learning a language in a hurry so they can be successful at school. One kid literally had to re-learn to walk. Another got thrown into college a little sooner than he was comfortable with. And the adjustment of my kids who were already living here can't be discounted either. I could write legitimate posts on these things. And maybe should so that we paint a very raw, real picture of this life.
But for me personally, not speaking for my kids which I can't adequately do anyway...for me the biggest struggle has been a huge surprise. It's as if as while God was writing this incredible story for us, for me, that I could never have imagined, Satan was getting equally incredible ideas on how to kick me in the pants.
And not that the enemy left me alone before. I've felt warfare and temptation like others. But I have always been so grateful that overall, I listened to God more than I listened to the lies. I have always felt fortunate and humbled that God would choose to lower Himself to speak to me and hear me. And even love me.
But these new ways Satan was trying to wreck me were hard for me to recognize. They came in waves of self doubt and feelings of failure that were so sly and wrapped in a way that I thought they must be truth. They crept in the most unguarded moments and deceived themselves as advice that I needed to heed. Failures that needed to be on my grade card and signed off by those that loved me. I believed them.
I believed that I was the wrong mom for this job. I believed that I was failing. I believed that I had been arrogant to think that I could handle this story. And the pressure was too great. I was ruining these little people God had entrusted to me.
I actually wrote an honest post over a year ago that was so sore I never posted it. It's been sitting as a draft for that long. I'm not sure why now. Because fortunately, I muddled through that season. And chose to kick the enemy off my front porch. I chose to remember what God had said over the years of adoption process. And even before.
But this last weekend when the question was posed, I couldn't help but think....this has still been one of the biggest struggles to date. Today, I might call it the biggest fight instead. The thing that I have to protect against. The thing that I have to have armor for. Not just because it knocks me down and makes me unproductive for God. Because that's important. But it also makes me a completely different mom than I want to be. It makes me insecure in a way that misrepresents how I feel about my kids. Because these feelings about myself get masked in impatience, grouchiness, tiredness and a lack of joy. It's really a misrepresentation of how I feel about me but it comes across as an attack on them. So I have to guard against the take down and fight instead for joy and truth and celebration of all that God has done and is doing.
Recently, I got the incredible privilege of God using something I spoke to students, to begin to change something inside one of my own kids. It humbled me to tears to think that God could use anyone but he used me. That couldn't have happened if I was wallowing in my self doubt and pitiful self. I wouldn't have heard from God and been confident enough to say exactly what He told me to say if I was worrying about whether or not God really spoke to me or if anyone cared to hear it. I wouldn't have fought off the warfare I faced even that day! What a gift we would have missed! I'll have to tell that whole story when I get permission some day to put it in writing.
For now, know this, women and moms. You're right, you're not enough. You're not perfect and you will never be. But God is. And He knew exactly what He was doing when He put the lives in your home that He did. He knows you. Like nobody knows you. And picked you out to be that woman and that wife and that mom. And he picks well! Cut yourself some slack. Breathe. Laugh at your mistakes. Sing some Justin Bieber, Never Say Never loud in the car with the windows down. Be silly. Choose joy. Because your God is enough and is writing a beautiful story for you and through you.
...I have set before you, life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live, and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him..
Hold fast. Hang on. But only let Him whisper while you ride.