Monday, April 15, 2013

6 months and spring has come

Mihretu had his first sleepover last weekend with my friend and her family. I cried a little bit when Rachel's van pulled away with him in it. I was excited to have some me time and to see how the overnight went but was also just realizing how much of a big boy he already is and how far we've come in this journey together. It's crazy to think about how many years biological families would have had up to this point of a first sleepover for a 4 year old. It's been just 6 months for us since he came home - he's already 4, he already had a sleepover. What a whirlwind. I missed him like crazy and the house felt strange and quiet. The dog was confused and kept looking for him. I had almost like a flashback to life before him and the cool thing is - it didn't feel right. I would not want to go back. I don't want a quiet house. I missed my little man and his questions and hugs and silliness. It's nice to have moments like that to step away so you can really see how blessed you are.

It's been 6 months since we became a family. It's been hard and I've had to wrestle with issues I didn't know would rise up in me. And although I didn't realize it fully at the time, I really didn't enjoy being a mom at first because it was so overwhelming and unfamiliar. I only realize it now because I am experiencing joy in parenting now so I am seeing what that looks like and I can see now how it wasn't that way at first. It was almost like an out of body experience or a twilight zone episode. Like my life was so different that I didn't recognize my life or me in it. I remember feeling all kinds of unfamiliar, unexpected feelings. Like being resentful of how needy he was and how little personal space I had. I remember feeling guilty that I felt that way and thinking something was wrong with me. I remember feeling shocked that I didn't always feel like his mom or attached to him. I didn't know that could happen. I felt guilty about that too. It was so much pressure (especially from me) and such a huge jump from single life to wow you have a toddler life. Even though it was a 15 month process - it still kind of felt like I was an instant mom and as much as I prepared, I really didn't feel prepared at all once reality hit. I wasn't feeling very patient at all either. My junk was getting stirred up. Buttons were pushed in me that I didn't know were there. And quite honestly, I felt really awful and depressed about it. I started thinking negative thoughts about myself and thinking those thoughts and feelings meant I was a bad person. I felt alone, like no one would understand.

And then God spoke to me. I know He was trying to all along but I was so wrapped up in negative thinking and being overwhelmed that I didn't hear him. But the more I was honest with my friends and talked to other families, the more I realized I wasn't alone and that a lot of these feelings are ones many adoptive moms have dealt with. I have always been a believer that when we realize we need healing or something is stirred up in us and we have baggage we didn't know was there - that it's an opportunity to deal with it and grow. This is why James 1:2-4 has long been my favorite scripture: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.'

In that light, I did a few prayer ministry sessions with a friend from church and God really said some cool things to me in those times. Things like: "I don't condemn you. I love you. Choose joy. Experience joy. I have created you to be a wonderful mother. Keep your focus on me. Find rest in me. I will help you. I will equip you with everything you need." Over the past 2 months, there have been sermons at church, blogs I've read, things I've heard other people say, things that are coming up at work in the study we just started called Counseled by God and all of these things collectively are building on each other and reminding me that I am created in the image of God - therefore I am good. The other stuff - God will walk with me to deal with it. But it's not who I am. Thank you Jesus for that revelation and truth!!!! I also realized I need to be intentional every moment to take my thoughts captive too. And I need to choose love, even when I don't feel it. I think I would have learned this one a bit more had I ever been married. I've heard and I believe that it's true - love is not a feeling - it's a choice. But when you don't have anyone else living in your house with you - you don't have to practice it as much and therefore you don't really really know what the statement REALLY means. I'm seeing what choosing love means now and realizing now more than ever that my responses to my son need to be intentional, patient and loving... even when I don't feel that way at all. This is not easy. But the Lord is helping me.

I'm writing about these things because I believe the very things you don't want people to know are the things the enemy uses when you don't bring them into the light. But when you bring them into the light, God can use them. I have felt like the Lord has said many times since I started this process - that He was going to use me to connect with other single adoptive moms, including those praying about it or in process. I feel a responsibility to be honest because I feel like other single adoptive moms may experience similar feelings and thoughts and without knowing anyone else has been there - they might believe the lies of the enemy telling them they are a bad mom or that they can't do this or that they are a horrible person or whatever negative thing that gets stuck on repeat in our heads. I want you to know, my sisters, that it's not true. That is not who you are. God has a bigger plan for you and you are created in His image. Therefore you are good. He also has given us the holy spirit to live within us and therefore we have access to all His attributes. After all, the fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness, kindness, patience and self-control. We can't be those things on our own but with Him, we can.

The first 6 months were hard but I am happy to say that joy is more the norm now as I do life with my son. I find myself now feeling overwhelmed with love for him in just normal everyday moments. I find myself coming alive in parenting. I find him coming alive more as I come alive more. I find that we are sillier and laugh more and although he's still a toddler and has plenty of meltdowns or tantrums - I find that I'm becoming more and more patient and less and less overwhelmed in those moments. I find that I can't imagine life without him and when I am at home and he's not there - I miss him. I find myself thanking God over and over for bringing him into my life. I love his little personality and the faces he makes and how he loves to help me around the house and his cute little voice. I've loved those things all along but I finally feel connected & attached to him like I thought I would months ago. Thank you Jesus! It was hard not being there instantly and I didn't expect it so it was really depressing and overwhelming. But I can look back and see God at work and I really, really, really appreciate all the people who have encouraged and walked with me. I don't know how I would do this as a single parent without this amazing group of people around me. I'm not alone. I have the Lord and I have an awesome village of people investing in Mihretu and me. I am overwhelmed with thankfulness. God is good. God is faithful. And He wastes nothing. I'm a work in progress. Aren't we all? But He's with me in it and He's equipping me with all I need - moment by moment. I just have to choose life and allow Him in each moment.

I'm so glad we made it through the first 6 months and can move into the next with joy and excitement. It's fitting that it's spring because it really does feel like new life. That excitement that the weather is getting warmer and the sun is shining and all the beauty is in bloom on the trees and flowers and everything is green again. I feel that way. I feel like I was just going through the motions but not thriving. Not really alive. Even though I know God was working all along. There was life underneath but it's finally in full bloom. There is joy and excitement for the days to come. Spring has come. And I welcome it with open arms.








photos by Amber Beckham

3 comments:

  1. this post gave me goose bumps.

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  2. Mihretu is the sweetest and cutest little boy wonder! I have loved seeing him every Sunday and seeing how he quickly went from shy to curious of those around him.

    Thank you Autumn for your openness and honesty. You have been on a beautiful journey. I love the peak into what God has been doing. I pray that God uses this post to encourage others who find themselves in the same kind of place!

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  3. This post brought tears to my eyes. You have been on an amazing journey and God is using your journey to prepare my heart for mine. As I am still waiting I have printed off this post ( and a couple others :) ) so I can read them when I am newly home with my child and be reminded that what I am going through is normal and that it WILL get better. Words cannot express my thankfulness that I have found your blog. GOD is good!!! Even now I find myself sometimes trapped in that negative mentality that as a single mom I will not be enough or that people will think I am crazy. thank you for reminding me that I may not be enough.... BUT GOD is more than enough!!! And we are in it Together. :)

    God Bless!!

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Perseverance

By definition Perseverance is: steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, o...