|Photo image courtesy of 123rf.com|
I talk to you - a lot of you - so I know. I also walk the same walk as you do, so I see it in myself.
We parents raising challenged children never seem to be able to let our guard down. We live in a state of always being "ON." In a perpetually heightened state of alert, we lack enough self-awareness to even eek out tears half the time.
So many of you tell me things like, "I have to stay alert, so I can make the best decisions for my child," or "I have to be so on top of my game for my child that I can't even think about my own emotions." This hyper-focus on our high-needs kids can result in an interesting cluster of characteristics. Endless exhaustion seems to be a constant companion of parents like us. Flat emotional affect or an inability to cry is common. We stuff our emotions down so we can make critical decisions or carry out serious home treatment. Our own physical health and appearance can suffer because of this disproportionate amount of attention placed on our sons and daughters. Sometimes we struggle to discuss anything outside of our challenged child, because that's all we seem to work on - day in and day out. Isolation increases as friendships fade. People don't seem to understand us, and we're too weary to explain any more.
This isn't how God intends for us to live. King Solomon shares one view of the Maker's plan in Ecclesiastes 3, ascribing an appropriate season for everything in life. Our child-centeredness must be balanced by equal amounts of self-focus. We need to let down our guard, come down from our state of alert, and quiet our hearts for awhile.
In the stillness, we finally become reacquainted with our emotions, so we can process them. We hear God's voice, teaching and comforting us. We refill our tanks enough to go at it another day. And we preserve an identity beyond parenthood and caregiving.
Friend, join me in taking some time to wind down. Relax and replenish. Quiet your mind and soul for a bit.
We don't always have to be "ON." God has care of our children. He loves them infinitely more than we ever could. This means we can turn it off for awhile and let God be God. Both we and our children can rest and trust in His constant care.
PRAY: Holy Spirit, quiet my heart and mind. Help me to remember that You, who called my child into existence, are big enough to care for that same child's deepest needs. Refill and restore me, Lord, to step into the responsibilities that lay ahead.
~ Barb Dittrich