Thursday, May 30, 2013

Confession #48 - The Blame Game

I love to play The Blame Game.  Actually I've become quite adept at it.  No matter the severity or triviality of a situation, I always manage to point a finger.  Unfortunately that finger is ALWAYS pointing at the same person........ME!

I have become the worlds biggest and most critical person of my own faults and failures. Mostly I blame myself for every bad decision my child makes. 

In the beginning I just figured that I was the World's Worst Mother.  The expectations I held for my daughter were immensely high.  This was a result of becoming a mother of a two-year-old who was unbelievably articulate and intelligent.  Having never parented before, I didn't know what a reasonable expectation was, and so I assumed that she could understand and be responsible for things no two-year-old could deal with.  Add in that my daughter comes from a background of abuse and neglect.  She just needed a mother who could offer her love, protection, comfort, and understanding.  Instead she got a crazed yeller who thought her baby could control her emotions.  Frankly, I didn't see her as a baby, albeit she was in diapers, her intellect and vocabulary suggested otherwise, and my complete lack of experience led to severe incompetence as a mom.  Coupled with the sad fact, as I've mentioned in my post I Was Afraid I Couldn't Love Her, that it took over a year for me to bond with her.

As God taught me how to love her that changed and I stopped calling myself "The World's Worst Mother".  But it's not like I'm any easier on myself.  I become so frustrated when she makes bad choices and gets herself in trouble.  I feel embarrassed whenever she is disrespectful towards other adults.  I judge myself when she's not applying herself academically, and I take it personally whenever she can't manage to solve age-appropriate moral dilemmas.  Why????  Oh goodness, here comes the tears...

Truthfully, I really am doing the best job I can.  I know I'm not perfect nor will I ever be; that's Jesus' job.  Honestly, the growth I've made in the last 5 years has been tremendous.  I've fought so long and so hard to get her the help she's needed.  I've taken things off my plate so I can spend more quality time with her.  I've put things on my plate so I can become more involved in the areas that concern her.  I've kept myself from working a full-time job so that I can be here for her more.  I pray everyday for her.  I look for new ways to teach her and keep her engaged.  Although, I've invested all I have into being a good mother....I still feel like I fall so short.  Even with all those accomplishments I believe that I'm not doing enough, spending enough time, teaching her well enough, praying long enough, being a good enough example, etc....  And the game continues...

The name of my game piece is Fear.  Fear that she will grow up to be like her bio mom.  If your an adoptive parent you can probably relate.  This fear is fueling an insane need to control everything in and out of my power to make sure that doesn't happen.  But this Blame Game has got to come to an end!  My head tells me that all I can do is my best and leave the rest up to God.  But my heart tells me it's my fault and I'm failing her.  This way of thinking is parental suicide.  Non of us can live up to it.  Yet I remain a pawn in this horrible game because I think I can have control and I don't.  God is in control.  It reminds me of Twila Paris' song.  Click play on the video.  There is power in these lyrics and I promise you won't be disappointed:

God IS in control!  Isaiah 40:27-31 says, "Why do you complain, Jacob (Joanne)?  Why do you say, Israel (Joanne), 'My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God'?  Do you not know?  Have you not heard?The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary,  and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." 

If you're playing an endless round of The Blame Game will you retire your game piece with me and just leave it to God? 

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you Lord that you ARE in control.  That every detail of our lives matters to you.  Instead of playing the blame game you show us grace and grant us mercy.  Lord teach me to do the same for myself.  Please help me to destroy the Blame Game and replace it with a joy-filled peace in my parenting.  And where I fall short, teach me & mold me.  And great and merciful Father, grant the same to these wonderful and amazing moms who like me are doing the best they can.  In Jesus' name I pray.  AMEN.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Confession #47 - Joy is the Best Medicine!

If you've never seen the movie Money Pit and you're looking for a serious laugh, I highly recommend it, it's one of my favorites. 

Click on the play button and watch.  In this scene the main character, Walter, is so overwhelmed by the amount of issues going wrong with the home he's just purchased that he breaks down, not crying but hysterical laughing.

My life has been like this lately.  It's been chaotic, hetic, and exhausting.  But in the midst of it, I noticed an interesting change taking place in my heart....

I'll spare you all the details of the craziness itself, but suffice to say the straw that broke the camel's back occured on Wednesday evening after I noticed that my daughter's hair was infested with Lice.  If you've ever had a run-in with these nasty creatures you know all the work involved in getting rid of them.  It doesn't just take ridding them from the hair but you have to inhillate them from the home by washing and laundering EVERYTHING!!!

By Friday evening, I was in an utter and complete state of exhaustion.  I had torn apart my daughter's room cleaning, organizing and laundering everything I could find.  It took me from 8 am to 6pm.  After that I was did another treatment on Lexi's hair when my husband decided to tinker with our front door knob that was already in disrepair.  My husband is not a handyman in the least.   But he likes to think he can fix things, kind of like Tim-the-tool-man-Taylor, and you guessed it he completely broke the handle.  Later the waterheater cracked and the garage was flooding so that must have excited the dog who decided to start running around the house like a rabid animal knocking over laundry and junk along with Lexi deciding to play the drumset she forgot she had until I decided to donate it.  The house was a mess, and between my exhaustion, the wetvac noise in the garage, the drum playing and the dog running around crashing into everything and barking you might assume that I would have gone stock-raving mad.

But on the contrary, I started laughing.  Laughing like Walter in the Money Pit.  An uncontrollable insane laughter when my heart starting feeling this tremendous joy.  I was overwhelmed by the love and blessings I began to recognize around me.  I began thanking God for giving me a home with a front door to welcome visitors, and a hot water heater, and an amazing and talented daughter, a new dog to share our love with and a husband that was here to vacuum up the mess.  I thanked him that I had clothes to wash and food in the refrigerator, I thanked him that I had a job and friends, and family.  I was in complete awe of God and His amazing provisions. 

The laughter subsided but the joy remains as a continual reminder that I am truely blessed.  And I need to count those blessing every time I feel Satan coming around trying to steel my joy.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you again for all the tremendous blessing you have put in my life.  Thank you for filling my heart with joy knowing that joy is being content in the midst of whatever circumstances I may face.  I pray for my sisters-in-Christ today that they too will find the medicine of joy to bring calm in chaos and peace in the midst of panic.  In Jesus' precious name I pray.  AMEN!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Confession #46 - The Invisible Girl

Remember The Breakfast Club..."Don't you forget about me...."?  This was the quintessential 80's teen movie and most of us 80's kids can relate to it.  This movie had 80's high school pegged, you were either a Clair, the popular princess, a Bender, the burn-out, an Andy, a good-looking jock, a Brian, the brain, or you were like me an Allison; basically invisible.  See if you didn't fit in the other four categories, the other kids, well they just didn't see you, it was as if you didn't even exist. 

That was pretty much my high school experience.  The invisible girl.  Nobody ever saw me.  Oddly, I thought those days were behind me, but not so much.  It's been 25 years since I've graduated and sadly, nothing has changed.  Here's what I mean, yesterday I reached out to a former classmate on facebook, someone to whom I was friendly with until I suddenly became invisible when she somehow broke the barrier and made the "in" crowd.  Believing that 25 years had bridged the gap I made myself vulnerable and put out a friendly hello, which of course went completely  unacknowledged. Perhaps you can tell, I was a bit miffed.  All those feelings of being an outcast, ignored, and invisible came back to the surface.  But God is so good because He's seen fit to use it to help me embrace my invisibility.

The Bible says, "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Cor 4:18.  Me, you, and those who were a part of the "in" crowd, we're all temporary and one day we will all cease to exist in this world.  But God, on the other hand, He is eternal.  We need to fix our eyes on our unseen God and on the heavenly realms and not on our visible selves, our friends, or people from our past.  Because when we pass away, if we are saved, we will live with Him forever.   This life is only a few years of our lives in comparison to the endless time we will spend in heaven.

Additionally, God has reminded me that honestly, I'm happy to be invisible these days.  To tell the truth it's been my prayer to radiate Jesus so that when people look at me they don't see Joanne, they see Jesus.  I'd rather be invisible to the human world in order to Glorify God than to be what others may want me to be just to be visible or recognizable to the world.  I wonder just how many notable people in today's society really feel fulfilled by their notoriety? 

I used to hate the fact that I would blend into the scenery, but today I'll blend into the scenery of the glory of God and shine His eternal goodness with joy. 

Ever feel invisible yourself?  Ever wished you would be noticed?  Perhaps you should rethink that for a moment remembering that when we are visible God is not.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that I can embrace my past and deal with these stirred up emotions in a way that reminds me to Glorify you Lord.  I pray for my sisters-in-Christ who may feel similar to me and ask Father that they would glean comfort in knowing that if they are invisible you are visible through them.  Bring them a tremendous blessing for desiring invisibility in order to help others see you.  In Jesus' name I pray Amen.