As a Christian, I feel a responsibility. I want to make sure that my testimony is strong. That my heart is shown to be pure and focused on that which is righteous..I want my joy to be in serving Him and I want my testimony to shine through my words and my actions.
And oh, I fail so miserably...and that sense of responsibility can feel like pressure. Pressure to measure up. When that sense of responsibility takes place of the genuine joy and privilege I feel as serving my Lord and caring for my family, I know that I have lost my way...
Add into the mix a child with special needs. To top it off, a child with special needs that you chose to adopt into your family. And to add another layer--maybe you have an extra large family. You stand out--people notice your family. Lots of people are trying to get a look into your world. Most of them have no idea how or why you do what you do...but many of them have opinions. The pressure is on. And sometimes, it is no fun.
I spend lots of time telling myself to look up and not around. If I had a mantra, that would be it. When I get overwhelmed, I tell myself to look up and not around. When I feel alone, I tell myself to look up and not around. When I feel like I don't measure up, I look up and not around.
And then I notice, that the pressure creeps back into my life. I get busy trying to tell myself that our family is not so different that everyone else's family...that we can handle all the special needs, we can make it to soccer and band practice and get to therapy and pre-op appointments without missing a step. I allow myself to look around...and I see others who are doing it better, others who may never understand or agree with the choices we have made for our family.
But the truth is, I am not a parent that can say that I have made it to every rugby game or even have made it to the sign up night for something great like baptism class. But, what is really sad, is how hard I have tried to do it all at times. I can't do it all and God never asked me to. I go along in my life, in step with my Lord, and then I take my eyes off of him, I stumble and instead of getting back in step with him, I look at the path I am on...I look at condition of the road...it is bumpy, it is rough, it is filled with potholes. I don't want my family to face such a rough road...I want them to just be kids. And so, I find myself in the "overcompensation" mode. I find myself rushing...to get to everything, school functions, doing all sort of "important" things.
I overcompensate because I want everyone to know that my kids needs are getting met. I overcompensate because I want to protect my kids from tough times. I overcompensate because I want my child to know that they matter...that even if their needs are not as immediate as one of our children who are sick, that there needs count. I want my neighbors and kids parents to know that I am an involved parent who steps up to the plate when there are volunteers needed, cookies to be baked and needs to be met outside of our home. I want them to see Christ in me when I serve.
And the kids who deal with their disabilities every day... I want to tell the world that kids with special needs are cherished, vital members of our world. That they have interests and talents and often want to be active and involved like any other kid...and even though they participate in sports, community activities, and Church activities, deep down, I grieve for them. There are so many things that they will not be able to do...and so I compensate.
I find myself losing my way at times. I respond to the urgent and not the important things in life. I concern myself with the way the world shows that they care...and that is not always the way God's is directing me. Truth is...looking up and not around, I will not have to worry about my motivation, or my testimony, or my children and their needs...God's perfect plan will be unfolded with every step I take.
It is time for me to look up again...and to let it go (that would be my back up mantra if I had one.). I'm going to let go of all the stuff that is cluttering my walk with Christ..
Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.