Two Years Later

Two Years Later

Lately, I have a hard time falling asleep at night, and I wake up earlier than I need.

I recognize the obvious symptoms of stress, but I tend to keep going without processing through the emotions and their causes. Then, when I can’t ignore it anymore, I write.

As I sat down to write through some of the jumbled emotion this morning, I found the following draft from two years ago:

Can we talk for a minute about the thing that I don’t even know how to talk about?

It’s Mother’s Day tomorrow, and I am all kinds of messed up inside.

You see, I have been mothering a young man for ten months now. For ten months I have been the one to provide love, support, and boundaries. I have watched him cry, talked him off an angry ledge, laughed at his ridiculous theories on the government and the weather, and pushed him to go farther and achieve more. I have been mom in a time when his own mom could not.

But it is coming to an end, and I just can’t deal.

I am preaching out of Peter Scazzero’s book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality tomorrow as part of our series on that text, and my focus is on letting go of power and control AND surrendering your limits. I am preaching to me.

I am grieving the loss that has already begun as this child who became ours pulls away in preparation to return to a place where Jon, the kids, and I don’t really fit.

I wrote those words in 2019 when I didn’t know that young man would choose to return to us a year later or that I would receive a text from him this Mother’s Day that said, “Happy Mother’s Day. You are my mom.”

So as I sit to process the strains of running a church and mothering five teens through a pandemic season, I am struck by this opportunity to remember that even when I can’t always find the words, or choose not to because some of the pain is too complicated and intimate for the eyes of the casual observer, the story will write itself.

Each of the issues I lose sleep over, as difficult and real as they may be, will not improve or change because of my worry.

I can see in my words from 2019 that I have forgotten what I learned then: I have to surrender to my limits. And oh have I been ever so acutely aware of my limitations of late.

Did you know that I can’t control a pandemic’s impact on people’s desire to gather for church, a school’s failure to provide a healthy learning environment for students, or a foster system’s inability to provide options? You did. Hmmmm, I guess I missed the memo because I have lost a lot of shut eye over these items.

Surrendering to my limitation does not mean ignoring the pain of these situations or giving up hope. It means acknowledging the hurts and releasing the outcomes to God.

I don’t get to skip ahead two years to see how I (and everyone I care about) get through this season, but I do get to look back and remember that God has far more control than I do, and I can trust him.

Today, I will attempt to make room to fully acknowledge the emotional impact of each obstacle, take the steps in front of me, and release the rest to God. Then, I will try to do it again tomorrow.

“God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;

Enjoying one moment at a time;

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world

As it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make things right

If I surrender to His Will;

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life

And supremely happy with Him

Forever and ever in the next.

Amen.”

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