I’m not talking about physical hats that I wear on my head, but the many different hats I wear as a person: christian, wife, mother, friend, sister, neighbor, daughter, niece, foster mother, school volunteer, church fellowship hostess, crafter, writer, photographer, memory keeper, homemaker, chauffeur. I’m so thankful that after an emotionally draining day, I was reminded that foster mother is not my only role in life.
While thinking about our immediate future with Midge, I hit the point today where I just cried out to God telling Him “I can’t do this anymore! I don’t want to do this anymore!” and He comforted me by reminding me that, No, I can’t do this. But He can. He has a plan and I am just along for the ride. There were many tears today from an overtired Midge and from an emotionally wrung out Linn. There’s nothing like a baby who won’t nap to make you feel completely inadequate as a mother and as a person. Then I was faced with finding a time to reschedule both of Midge’s visitations for this week due to conflicts in her mother’s schedule, several phone calls and typing out what was said on those calls. It’s not that anything was so terribly wrong, but for some reason it was my lowest day yet. But God was faithful in two ways today: that I hit rock bottom on a day when Greg was off work and could take over when I broke down, and that He had mercy on me and changed the course of my day so I could have a great evening.
Greg had a big political event tonight and I went along to provide moral support. I wore an a-line tweed skirt, navy and cream sweater and cardigan, pearl necklace and a chignon-type updo in my hair. With my “politician’s wife” costume (that’s how I think of it), I fit right in to the political crowd and enjoyed watching Greg’s “hobby” and seeing him sworn in to an exciting new position in local politics. It was as I got dressed tonight that I realized that I am more than a foster mother. I am a wife who needs to show enthusiasm for things that excite my husband. I am a biological mom who needs to be happy and healthy and whole and provide nurture for my two boys. And I am so much more.
As I’ve fostered Billy Goat, Athlete and Midge, I find the scales tipping WAY too far in the direction of foster mother at the expense of the other roles in my life. I need to find balance.
In week three with Midge, I’m constantly in prayer for our future. I’m hanging onto bible verses I learned when I was ten and bible verse songs we play in the car for the boys. Thank God for the scripture I already had hidden in my heart. It seems like the role of christian and foster mother have been overtaking the rest of my roles because I’ve been hanging on by a spiritual thread and because Midge has been so clingy to me all the time. But last night we had my mother-in-law over to babysit, and tonight our regular babysitter babysat for a few hours. When we tried this on Wednesday, Midge couldn’t calm down without me, but the extra few days of bonding and adjustment must have worked!
Now it’s time to FOCUS on some other roles in my life again, along with my fostering role. Like the first weeks of newborn parenting when all is a blur, the first weeks of each foster child run together and speed by. But I don’t want to let the paperwork and the worry of fostering take over the time I need to spend on other roles in my life.
Sister. Niece. Friend. Homemaker. Memory keeper. So many other hats have been sitting in the closet collecting dust for the past few months.
In Keri Wyatt Kent’s book, Breathe, she suggest drawing a tree where every branch is a role you play in life. Then on each branch, you draw a twig that represents all the things you do for that branch. My foster branch has gotten so heavy that it’s splitting the tree down the middle. I need to FOCUS again on the bigger picture. On the health of the tree as a whole.
The time frame for Midge’s fostering is uncertain. Whether we keep her or not is completely in God’s hands. I can’t do anything about it anyway. But I can come up with solutions to start evening out my branches and putting on some of those dusty old hats again. I’ve hit bottom and I’m ready to move forward again. Please, LORD, let this be the week when I can reclaim my emotional stability and my identity as a whole person.
Have I not commanded you, be strong and courageous? Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. -Joshua 1:9