I’ve spent the last 7 days or so in a bad place mentally. Which really, is kind of bad because the kids actually had one of the best, if not the best, weekends together. They didn’t have any friends over or didn’t play with any of the neighborhood kids. They basically were on lockdown together at home by choice and they played and played and played. Very little arguing and lots of bonding and it was oh so good. We had family pictures and I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to see those. I even took them all out to eat and shoe shopping by myself Saturday night and it was actually fun. I’m telling you, things were good around here externally this weekend.
But internally, things were brewing in my mind. I got a random phone call last Tuesday. It was Jac0b’s Guardian Ad Litem that I didn’t even know he had. She needed to visit.
The visit went fine, wonderful, even. It turns out his GAL is a wonderful Christian woman who really, really cares about Jac0b and fought like a mama bear for him. Once again, I saw God’s hand in Jac0b’s life. And yet, I also saw more glimpses of his life with his birth family. I’ve figured out that this is always a trigger for me. My mind begins changing the narrative of this adoption.
My mind begins playing this story on repeat: this poor boy has endured so much and now he has been taken from his family.His family probably misses him so much and has no idea where he is. I am sure they are beside themselves in worry. Who are we to have their son/nephew/grandson? No wonder Jac0b hurts so badly. I want to fix the family and Jac0b and make it all right for them and we’ll just step out of the way. This is so depressing! I cannot fix any of this and it is so, so sad! It will always be sad and there is nothing that can be done to change the awful things.
I begin soaking up everyone’s emotions and then instead of being grateful and in awe of what has happened, I’m deeply sad and depressed.
Kay Bruner calls this being spongey.
It’s another boundaries issues. It’s a big one because I actually don’t know what their emotions are. And even though I do have an inkling of what Jac0b’s emotions are, that narrative is no good.
And not only is the narrative no good, once I’m sad and depressed about one thing, I begin being sad and depressed about so many other things. I had emails from teachers and texts from my kids with issues and no dinner on the table last night and all the sudden not only is this adoption sad and depressing, but I’m a terrible, absent mom and the whole world is falling apart. It’s no good!
As Glennon at Momastery explains, when we get into these head spaces, we have to change our narrative.
I feel like a lot of us get stuck in all sorts of bad narratives. We could be single or sick or hating our job or scared for our kids or hating our marriage. We tell stories about ourselves to ourselves and these narratives get stuck on replay and then infect all of our thinking. We need new narratives. Thank you, Glennon, for teaching us that.
The narrative I should be telling myself is something like this: bad things happened. His family didn’t care for him like they should have and no one stepped up to take care of him. But God knew in advance and began setting things in place for him to be rescued years and years ago. God was not taken surprise by this. He called us to adoption and he took Jac0b out of that family and has set him in a new family. We are a gift to each other. We should live gratefully and joyfully, making the most of what has been given to each of us. Just as God rescued him, the story is not over and God will continue to redeem.
That narrative is so much better because it recognizes that yes, bad things happened, but God is involved and there is so much hope already for what has been done and so much more hope for the future.
So here’s what I learned this week. I need to wring myself of others’ emotions. I am responsible for my emotions and that’s it. And I need to make sure my narratives focus on the positives of the present and the hope for tomorrow, all and only available through God’s love and plans.
So I’m back on track this time and being in awe and grateful and getting back to joyful. Thank you Glennon and Kay and Richelle and Mom and Heather for helping me get there.
What’s the narrative in your head right now that needs to change?