Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Breakout Session Teaser: Expectations vs Reality

Joy in The Journey Breakout: 
Not What I Expected - Food for Thought

Have you ever wondered just how in the world you ever ended up somewhere?  For example, when you set out to find a crock pot recipe for supper using google and millions of recipes are displayed.  Click,click, and another click, and without realizing sidebar adds and pictures hijack your entire mission, and it's now time to pick up your daughter from school. Somehow you got derailed and lost in the abyss of cyberspace and the superhighway of information. You pick up the littles from school, run from dance practices to appointments, to the grocery store and you feel exhausted upon entering your front door. When you look up at the clock, you gasp, because you just remembered this morning's intentions for dinner. You remember that moment ten hours earlier when your mind was kidnapped by cyber-thieves. The frustration and haste sets in as you apply your least favorite pair of glasses... your hindsight bifocals.  

For just a moment you are able to replay the events through those awful glasses. You see it all through the two in one lens. The top of the hindsight bifocals play out the days events and display what actually happened. But, the bottom magnified lens reveals what could have been. All you can think of is.... NOT AGAIN!! You scramble around in an attempt to fix a nutritious meal for your family and the best you can do is grill cheese or PB&J.  Your family looks down at the food on their plate, dissatisfied, and the grumbling begins...."I don't like grill cheese."  "I thought we were gonna have a real meal mommy." "Why can't you make us good food?" Or my favorite, "I think I'm gonna starve to death cause I don't want that." 

Yep, and that's the moment you start feeling like you have to be the worst mother ever. It's one of those moments when you wish you could have a do over. But you just keep repeating the same old patterns and expecting something to change.  Because the greater the difference between your expectation and reality the greater the disappointment. And each day of disappointment regarding parenting your  adopted kiddo(s) becomes cumulative and the whisper of lies begin; and all you can hear is the chatter of shouldacouldawouldas.  

You're not good enough.  
Really, again..... 
Couldn't you just find a recipe and feed your family something fabulous for once?
I'm not cut out for this...
If only I had.....
Why couldn't I be more like....
You should have never said that..
I wish I would have known how hard this would be...
This is all your fault...
You're parenting just like...
There's a reason you were barren...
You're such a disappointment...

Your mind is reeling. It is then that you start to try to deflect those lies to make yourself feel better. And making yourself feel better is all you can think about.  You just want to escape the hundreds of lies that bounce from side to side inside your head.  You never knew it would EVER be this hard and on many days you are reminded of the hundreds of disconnected instances between you and your family.  You miss the mark again, and now you feel like parenting adopted kiddos is not at all what you ever anticipated or expected it would be. These are the days that strip you of who you are. You wear thin and your heart grows weary. And because you're weary you say things you should never say to the ones you love. You forget all about the teachings, the videos, the books and the conferences, and all the tools they had once equipped you with to parent your littles. You know the things that have come out of your mouth would cause Karyn Purvis to shriek in horror. You are more disconnected from your kids than you ever imagined or expected you ever could be.  You think about the videos and books and the moments you should be connecting with your children but all those resources are forced behind the curtain of a hazy blur.  You know the less frequent you use those tools you were once equipped with the more you forget you ever had them to begin with - securely attached to your belt. They become heavy and burdensome, so you decide to parent on your own - you take off the belt.  

But, when you decide to parent your way it feels all wrong. You know you have no healthy reference point, and you feel like God must have made a mistake in choosing you to parent. Our disconnected parenting hurts us, it hurts our families, and it hurts the hearts of the children God entrusted us to love, to teach, and to encourage. Your level of disappointment has far exceeded what you ever envisioned. Because what you envisioned were journeys full of colorful rainbows and flavorful lollipops. But your reality was more like Dark skies, constant rain filled clouds and buckets of lemons to suck on. Because of these two in such opposition (Expectation and Reality) your level of disappointment is greater than you could have ever prepared yourself for.  
But, I am so thankful there is hope and grace for the weary mommy.  The days are long and the years are short, so I'm welcoming the use of my Hindsight bifocals more often.  I believe there are lessons to be learned in the knowledge of our past.    

Someone once said that life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

This is oh so true.  I've come to realize that life is full of expectations, big or small, realistic, or way off the mark. I've learned so much by understanding what is behind me. I've learned over time that my backwards can help me live in the forward. 

Adoption has been a tool God has used to reshape my heart, change my thinking and broaden my view of His Grace. Because without His Grace, and without Him meeting me where my expectation and reality intersect into disappointment, I will never be the mother He has so graciously called me to be.  

My Hindsight view has allowed me to learn how to rest upon the wings of grace, a grace that I cannot earn and I did nothing to deserve.  Gods grace is sufficient to meet you in your daily disappointments, in your heartbreak, and in the moments you get it all wrong. 

"But He said to me, "my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me." (2 Corinthians 12:9)

What expectations did you have before your adoption Journey?  What do you wish you had known? Were your expectations realistic, or are you still trying to figure out how your reality could be so far off from your expectations? I can't wait to share with you what other adoptive moms wish they knew, and how we can learn from one another's heartaches and disappointments. Lets count them ALL as Joy, as we join one another in Missouri.  

My name is Sharon, and I'm honored to be one of the speakers at the upcoming Joy in the Journey retreat this month. I’m a Ragamuffin Writer, A Lyoness Heart; Chosen as a mother through the gift of adoption. I’m a wife, a mother, a nurse, a blogger & lover of Jesus. I love all things adoption both the bitter & the sweet. I am a Daughter of The King most High, who was chosen, adopted, forgiven, & redeemed, and because of His love for me ~ I am committed to defending the Fatherless.  www.lyonessheart.blogspot.com

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