During my pregnancy with the triplets, I realized that my coping mechanism for difficult circumstances is information. For most of the first 30 years of my life up to that point I had coped with hard times by assuming control. As I lay in a hospital bed for 8 weeks with three souls in tiny bodies growing in my womb I knew I was unable to manage the outcome.
So, I dug in. The Internet was not nearly as accessible in those days. There were no iphones or ipads to be lightly held in hands. The Northside Hospital High Risk Perinatal Unit had only one laptop attached to a rolling media cart. It had to be reserved for small increments of time so 30 bedridden Mamas could have the opportunity to use it--and it connected to the Internet via dial up.
Despite all those obstacles, I tried to read as much as I could about preemie issues and possible outcomes for my pre-term babies. I knew it wouldn't change anything, except it made me feel like at least no news that came to me would be a surprise. Research allowed me to feel moderately knowledgeable and thereby prepared.
Of course, none of those websites, articles, etc. mentioned the real crisis I was facing--my own heart failure. (Touche, God, touche...)
You would think that experience plus the ensuing eleven and a half years of parenting would have taught me a lesson--and in many ways the layers have indeed been chipped away through life experience. Yet, this morning I read a post about Linus and his blanket in Charlie Brown Christmas, that God used to carve another chunk of my heart.
The faith of Christmas is proclaiming "Fear Not!" and dropping the blanket.
I took a quiet moment to really go back through the Christmas story and as I sipped my coffee. I really tried to put myself in the shoes of the characters the angels appeared to...the shepherd called to leave the comfort of his fields, Joseph risking public ridicule and Mary...oh, sweet, young Mary...her body, life and soul were to be transformed. She was along for the ride.
I am in an interesting place with the uncertainty and discomfort of foster parenting this week. My heart needed to ponder Mary. I feel inadequate, scared and tired--along for the ride on a journey someone else marked out for me. This is not my comfort zone. Yesterday I pleaded with God to bring me back some joy.
My community rocks. I am truly blessed beyond measure in terms of the support we have been given in this season of life. I can't even list the ways people have stepped up and leaned in to relieve some of the burden in the last few weeks--to make space for me and my bio family to just breathe--while bringing joy to these little girls who are also out of their element. But, honestly, community can't take the load our hearts carry of emotional exhaustion, guilt, fear and dread. Only God can do that--and I think He needs me to let go of the metaphorical blanket I am clutching in order to let Him.
As my girls walk into a different chapter of their lives, I need to model faith, hope and confidence to them. I am realizing that through the 'loss' of my family as I knew it, I am able to empathize with some of their feelings.
My blanket--aptly categorized as a 'security' item--has been my family, order, a peaceful home, having a timeline and a plan. Sharing all of that has been precious, growth producing and simultaneously scary and unsettling at times...but God has been faithful over and over again to remind me that He Sees and He Provides and He holds the future in His hands.
"Forget self confidence: it's useless. Cultivate God confidence...All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it."
As we march (limp?) towards the finish line of 2015 and head into the wild blue yonder of another year, I join Linus in proclaiming with open heart, head held high and hands free from clutching my own illusions of security "Fear not!"