“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”
(I Peter 5:7)
“How-to’s” are not my thing. I’m the one urging us to throw away the programs; pray and listen; trust our instincts; be gracious to ourselves and others; and run, as fast and as far as we can from the “shoulds” that seek to devour us. Why? Because there are no easy how-to-steps for our journey. But there is hope – and a God who cares and will never leave us.
Several years ago my family endured a season filled with drama and chaos; I lived in a war zone with my address. Maybe you do too. It’s scary but temporary. And we can fight back. Emotional healing is a choice; learning to let things go helps us experience it. I offer the following lessons I’ve learned the hard way as food for thought on your journey.
RESIST COMPARING: Adoptive parenthood is different than biological parenthood. Accepting this truth allows us to embrace the layered richness of adoption – grief, loss, redemption, love and grace. We’re all dealing with heavy issues, regardless of how we dress them up and present them to the public. But we can choose grace and to accept our children and ourselves where we are, without comparison to others or the latest parenting trends.
REFUSE TO COMPETE: Don’t even try - let it go; we’ll never win this one because we’re our own worst critic. We’re on the same team, each of us striving to raise a Godly heritage. It’s okay to take different routes. Bow out of the competition, take a deep breath, and allow God to lead you on this leg of the journey. Our goal is to help our children develop at their pace. Love and nurture them. Learn to quiet your soul, regardless of the pace at which others choose to live.
RELINQUISH CONTROL: Ouch! I like control. I’m the ultra-nerd who follows rules and plays nicely in the sand box. Just like water can’t help but flow to the lowest place to puddle, I’m hard wired to seek order and organization. But clinging to control tied me up in knots and fed a critical spirit. Especially when I tried to control the things I couldn’t.
…like the emotionally wrenching betrayal, in-the-pits challenge God recently allowed me to endure. Although the process strengthened my faith in spite of myself, it didn’t happen overnight. And it’s still not easy. But gradually, by God’s grace, I began to strip away the tentacles of fear that gripped my heart and surrendered; “not my will, but yours be done”. I had to let it go for my emotional and spiritual well-being.
We cannot change the compromised beginnings our children suffered, the wounds we endured, or the challenges we face. But we can refuse to compare, compete or control. We can let it go.