Thursday, August 14, 2008

Overwhelmed With Ugly

I am not sure why this is hitting me now.... I don't get all the emotions that have been swirling around in me. UGH! Sometimes being a girl can be such a hassle. In the interest of keeping it real with you guys I am writing this confessional post. Plus, since I am sitting on the couch watching Olympics instead of being an industrious wife I might as well get this off my chest.

Before I went to China I was a woman on a mission. I was going on mission trips, half running
Red Letters Campaign, homeschooling Zoe and Kaitlyn, keeping the house reasonably clean and being a happy and engaged wife and mother. I felt like it was all coming together. I felt very purposeful and ready to go. I felt like I had FINALLY figured out my place and discovered what I was supposed to be doing. I had lots of energy and was so excited I could hardly stand it.

Now.... I suddenly can't get it together. I know you are thinking of course you can't- you just brought home a toddler from China. Still though- she is such an easy kid. True, at first it was crazy. I had jet lag in a major way and she was a disaster waiting to happen. She is a bit more to keep up with but I just feel like the issue is in me- not in her.

I don't know. This life change has thrown me for a loop and it's making me so frustrated with myself. I have so many emotions that have started to reach up and try to choke me.

I am angry at myself. I have a near perfect life. I have a wonderful family, plenty of food and money, beautiful children, a supportive family, an amazing husband and yet here I am STRUGGLING with feelings of sadness and frustration. Russ is in busy season at work as well as running RLC. I am learning to juggle 3 kiddos and life and help run a not-for-profit. So it is definitely a challenging season in life but nothing is WRONG! We have a life people dream about having and here I sit struggling. Why don't I just start whining about how hard it is to be a princess??? It makes me so angry with myself!

Looking around at the world and seeing the pain has begun to make me feel overwhelmed again. I have to get back on track. I felt this often during Zoe's adoption. I just felt so overwhelmed with the pain in the world. It made me feel hopeless.
Russ and I helped start RLC to help people find community to join them in the passions God has placed in their heart. We wanted to help people feel like they had a community- that they were not alone. We didn't want people to feel isolated and overwhelmed by pain and poverty. We know that Satan wants the church to feel hopeless and immobilized so that we will do nothing. Together we truly believe we CAN make a difference.

Ironically- here I am feeling immobile- like I can't do it.

I am not sure why my adoptions throw me into such an emotional adjustment. I wonder if the experience of getting to know these babies of mine who have gone through so much pain just leaves me more vulnerable. I don't get it but I despise the feeling.

I want to feel energized and ready to DO SOMETHING! I need to feel that way. I can't let myself be immobilized. Before China I was on fire. Since China I am fairly useless. At least that is how I feel.

I can't seem to keep up with my e-mail or phone calls. If I haven't gotten back to you please don't take it personally. I emptied my inbox before the road trip and now there are 140 e-mails in my inbox again. ACKK! :0) I get on top of things in the house and then they fall apart again. The laundry is never finished. I am doing pretty good about keeping up with the being a decent momma and having fun with my girls. I am feeling like it takes everything in me to be sweet and supportive of my wonderful husband who is incredibly busy loving on his girls, kicking tush at work and saving the world. He is also covering for me at RLC since I am doing a horrid job of keeping up. :0(

Things that should be so thrilling to me are overwhelming. I hear that RLC is going to be featured on the radio or that we are making a new advertisement and all I feel is stress. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME???? Things are going better than we ever could have hoped for. It's everything we prayed it would be. I should be on cloud nine right?

I hear about sweet babies like Abby who has Leukemia and I fall apart. The Chapman's losing their sweet baby just about knocks me over. The famine in Ethiopia- as I eat too much chocolate- breaks my heart and makes me feel so guilty. 100s of HIV orphans praying for a chance to live fills me with frustration.
Why do I have everything and they have nothing???? How can I not be happy when I have so much? How can I BE HAPPY when they have nothing?

How do I live in this nasty world and be filled with joy?????? HOW? I know I can. I was there before. I had purposed to focus on how I could make a difference and GO FOR IT! I was determined to make a difference. I felt like I had found a delicate balance and then POOF!!! It's gone.

Now all I want to do hide under the covers and take a nap..... or buy a villa on a white sand beach and pretend everyone is happy and pray the depth of the pain never finds me.

Isn't that what so many of us do in America? We feel powerless and sad. We just want to be happy. So we build our palaces and beautiful churches. We buy cars, boats and vacation homes. We try to forget about the ugly. After all- what can we do? We are only one little person.

That can't be me. I won't go there. Somehow I have to get back to where I was. I have got to learn to live in these different worlds. I have got to let go of my need to understand. I can't be better. I can only surrender more fully.

These feelings are why I knew we were supposed to start RLC... I just thought I was past this inner struggle. Apparently it will be a process for me.

Anyway- just getting real here... Anyone else struggle with these things? Angel


Melinda said...

Angel, you are definitly not alone. Same struggle here, just different circumstances. I was actually just thinking similiar thoughts this morning as I was cleaning. Everyone feels this way from time to time. some more often than other's, we just aren't always honest with ourselves about the struggles. I will have to do a post about my thought's on this topic, maybe I can get to it a little later after soccer practice for three of my kids. I will be praying for you and all of us that have the same struggles. And even when you think you are not getting things accomplished, you are.

Tricia said...

Angel, you are NOT alone! I found myself almost screaming at my kids for not putting their shoes away (again!) and then crying because I got so mand at myself for such a short fuse! These girls are my heart and I love them dearly - how could I get so upset over stupid shoes?!?!

We are ALL HUMAN and I am very hard on myself and I've learned that I have pretty unrealistic expectations on myself. Sadly, when I feel frustrated, I take it out on those I love around me.

Just sending you a cyber-hug and telling you to hang tough. You are a GREAT wife, mom, friend, daughter, worker, etc. Be easy on yourself, get some rest, and know you are LOVED.

Farrah said...

I'm going to have to think about this because this weighs so heavy on my heart and I'm going to have to try to put my heart into words..

This post brought streaming tears because I'm right there beside you and you can't see me!!!!

Dennise said...

Lots of hugs and prayers. I completely understand your frustration. Be compassionate with yourself. What you are going through is compeltely normal. I

Nikki said...

Oh man, do I ever know how you feel. I deal with something similar everyday... (((hugs)))

Katie said...

I understand exactly !!! Alot of days I tell myself if I can just try to be a good wife and mother that is my mission ..... and all else will wait until I have energy. These toddlers ZAP us !!

Becca said...

I totally understand. I try to be good and nice and, well just GOOD. And you're right - we are so blessed- beyond measure. Remember though - you are human. The Lord will be with you through this struggle. And as I always (try) to tell myself - struggles are good because we tend to lean more on Him. Give yourself a hug and a break. Thanks for being honest and real. You have the support of love of you buddies out here in blogger land. Hang in there, Angel!

Peace and Hugs,

Anonymous said...

Angel--Just remember that Joy and happiness are 2 different things. From what you said I know you have Joy but you are just not happy right now...hang in there...this to shall pass. You are doing a great job! Family comes first!

Anonymous said...

Boy can I relate to this. I could have written this myself. Thanks for sharing. You are SO not alone. I think when God burdens our hearts, sometimes it can be SO hard to live life here on Earth. That is why our focus must be heaven and not earth. This is just a moment.

nikki said...

Wish I had some wonderful words of advice, but I don't! Just a big old hug from NJ, and a cyber shoulder for you to lean on!!!

Billie said...

oh angel...don't panic. i soooo understand you. to be honest i am sometimes having anxiety attacks over my lack of balance. and for me it is over stupid things like keeping up with scrap books and picures...and when i do get everything done i haven't spent time with my kids.

i think as women it is hard to turn on and off the everything that needs to be done's always there in the back of our minds. i have been waking up after 8 hours of sleep and feeling like i haven't slept. why? because i am sooo stressed, but i can't pinpoint why. i know i have 3 young kids and 1 adoption in progress, but still...what is so stressful about tonight?

and i sooooo understand how you feel about your lack of passion. forgive me if that is not what you were saying. i understand completely because for over a year i prayed and dreamed and could hardly contain myself about starting an adoption ministry at our church. now that it is started and embraced and growing...i have somehow lost my luster. i think it is a combination of stress and attack from the evil one.

so here is my advice. pray that God will allow you to gain back your passion...pray about it. pray about your balance. and drink lots of caffeine. and don't set yourself so high@

and i am actually feeling better after your posts...i'm not alone!

Anonymous said...

My Dearest Angel Face,
I love you sweetie. I remember well these days that you described. I want you to know that from my perspective you are an amazing Woman of God. You are a tender, caring and wise mother. I have watched you with your girls...they are the product of you and Russ..they are wonderful children (human yes) but wonderfully made by God and raised by Godly parents. I just love being with you, Russ and your girls. Not all grandparents can say that...but I can without hesitation.
You are a beautiful example of a person that has a vision from God and yet finds themselves once again having to wait for the next "Right" timing to reach the world. Really, don't realize how much of the world you are reaching through your blog site. It is not so much your words but your character that shines through. I was just telling Chandler that we know our children and their character as little ones. I told him how as a child you didn't lie. You really didn't...I knew I could trust you. You are a woman of integrity and have been since a young child.
During these times when I would feel like you do...your father would say to me "Inch by inch it is a cinch...yard by yard it is really hard...mile by mile takes awhie...but inch by inch it is a cinch" I used this wisdom from your earthly dad to guide a lot of my life. I pray and ask God to see things from his perspective and then I concentrate on the inch before me and before long I find myself much further down the road than I thought. Now I am 56....a lot further down the road...and 31yrs of that with you! WOW...I am so grateful that I walked this road with very grateful.
I remember when I was home and I knew that God had called me into the ministry. I would struggle so much because I loved being a mother and at home with you but there was this struggle inside of me that I was called to be out there doing the work of the Lord. Each time I found myself in this struggle...I would hear the kind Spirit of the Lord speak to my spirit, "There is no greater ministry than that of your family."A lI knew this in my head but my heart would struggle with the reality of it. I am sorry to say that it took 10 yrs for that truth to settle deep in my soul to where I not longer struggled. Now< i look back and see how beautiful you are, spirit, soul and body. I see how Godly you are, and kind a heart you have. I see the radiance of the Lord upon you. Not because what you do or say but because of who you are. I have no regrets learning the lesson of true love and sacrifice... you my dear were my second assignment from God...your dad was my first....and the assignment was to to care for and nurture as He would.
I am sorry that life requires us to be content with the everyday routine..where it can get restless and oh well YIKES sometimes so mundane ...but in this time you will find once again the character of Christ developed within you.....that perseverance of taking up our cross and following Him daily.
My Sweet and Precious Daughter, I love you deeply and dearly. I couldn't be prouder of you. I know that I cannot take away this struggle. But I can certainly love you, pray for you and be one of your BIGGEST cheerleaders, and when I am in town :) spend time with you.
Lord of Heaven and Lord of Earth,
I pray for my sweetest Angel Face and all of her blogger friends. I ask Lord that you fill their hearts with the soothing balm of Gilead. I ask that you impart to them your wisdom, grace and your presence in each and every home. Guide these precious mothers into the way they should go. Uphold each one in the palm of your hand.
Embrace each one. In the morning may each one sense your fresh presence and your ability to run this race set before them. The call to be their children's biggest cheerleaders. May their children become those that will change the world. We love you Lord and we are grateful for your understanding and love toward each and one in the world that struggles with this same issue.
We praise and humbly revere your Name which is Above all Names...To You alone be Honor, Power and Praise.
In Jesus Name,
Amen and Amen

Anonymous said...

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture Reference: 1 Peter 1:7

A Faith Untried

"A faith untried is no faith at all," someone has said. Today I declared my faith before a hundred women and came home to a startling piece of bad news. Hopes were dashed, plans ruined, over a seemingly trivial thing. We did not know what to do. "Trust me" is always the word at such a time. "But Lord, we did trust You. You answered us and everything was working so beautifully. Now this. What shall we do?" "Keep on trusting me. That is my assignment for you tonight. Commit your way to Me; trust in Me; stand still and see."

Why, of course, Lord! I see what You mean. How could I be sure I'm trusting You unless You keep giving me "pop quizzes"? These are the exams in the school of faith.

"More precious than perishable gold is faith which has stood the test. These trials come so that your faith may prove itself worthy" (1 Pt 1:7 NEB).

Hannah said...

I feel this way most days. Some days I actually feel like I am a pretty good mom and wife and then other days I just see all the things I did wrong or didn't do at all.

I look at women like you who are actually doing something to make the world better and think wow and I didn't even get the laundry done today. I stink!

I feel like i fall short every second of every day. I would like to be less selfish and feel like I am doing more for my children. I know they feel loved but I still make so many mistakes.


Julie said...

So much of that resonates with me and some huge struggles I had with depression about 4 years ago. Post-adoption depression is not uncommon. It's hard to say what is just "overwhelming" life and what is truly a depression but based on past experience I would say maybe to seek help sooner than later!

I've got a few posts on my blog if you want to read more:

Stacy said...

You're totally entitled to ugly days, especially when the cause is because you want to do MORE in the world! Know that sometimes you need to take a break, your body is giving your mind a chance to gear up for something really big. You know I've BTDT, lots of days are still hard and there are times I feel like there's no way I'll make it through, memories of 2 years ago cloud everything for me too, but then I SNAP TO IT and manage. Give yourself some credit for taking time off to be "ugly." You're ALWAYS beautiful, just as He made you. :-)

Anonymous said...

wow....were you just floating around in my head and my heart? it's about 1:30 am ....and everything you just described is why I'm NOT in bed......a tad overwhelmed here as well!! :) At this hour, I think I'll just smile and remember that God's yoke is LIGHT...and hope that He will get me (and I'll say a prayer for you ) through another day!! his mercies are new every day right?! thanks for keeping it real....ohterwise I might be in denial over here!! Take care!

Rachel said...

You are definitely not alone. We adopted #2 and #3 last fall and I was amazed at how much harder it is with 3 kids. There's something about it that just makes everything more challenging.

Also, I don't know if this was the case for you, but I found that going to Liberia was such a different experience from Guatemala. Adoption from Gautemala is a very tame experience. You stay in nice hotels, eat delicious food and stay in the main part of the capital city. Liberia was another world with people starving on the streets, living in trash heaps and struggling every second of every day. Liberia changed me. I wonder if China did the same for you?

It is hard to find a balance between our compassion for the hurting in the world and our need to not let it immobilize us. Let me know when you figure it out because it's a struggle for me too.

P.S. I know your friend Amy in Texas. :) Very small world to see that you visited her recently!

Anonymous said...

Hang in there Angel...I think your post echos the feelings of pretty much all the people that read your blog. Thanks for keeping it real.
Keep the Faith...your fire is still in there girl and your strength is more than you give yourself credit for. DO NOT feel guilty for being priviledged in anyway, you give back and your appreciate the gifts you have. As for the laundry and housework, take advantage of your financial situation and hire some help to do the dirty work, give someone a job and in turn free up your time to spend with your amazing girls!!

Mindy said...

Don't beat yourself up. We are all human. You are a great mother & wife. I know it hard at times to do all the things you think you need to. Unfortunately I think we as mothers think we are meant to be Super Mom and do it all. Some days I break down b/c I didn't get the laundry done, the house cleaned or dinner is takeout. But then my husband looks at me and says it's okay if the house is dirty b/c we are all together, happy & healthy and that is all that matters. Don't forget you are not alone! We all love you!


Crystal said...

My sweet sweet dear Angel--my sister in the Lord can I have your phone number?

Live to love and laugh said...

You are not feeling anything that is unusual. We have all been there!
I think it has to do with hormones and adoption. I have also dealt with a let down type feeling.
You have just come out of a hugely stressful situation and your body is able to finally relax. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and get behind.
Hang in there and remember God has put you in your present place in life. He isn't going to leave you or allow you to stay down and out.

Michelle Riggs said...

I love your heart. You are right where God wants you to be, doing what He wants you to do. Don't let the enemy make you doubt your ability to acomplish what God wants you to do. When God calls you, He provides the way for you to obey. Remember too that there are different seasons when you are serving God. Even Jesus needed to take time away from serving others to rest and pray.

Thanks again for all you are doing and for praying for Abby.

Livin' out loud said...

Angel, FINALLY! Someone who can understand what I am feeling!! Oh we are so in the same place right now. Our Gwen is such an easy child, but for some reason it seems as if there is just not enough time in the day, and enough engery in me to even get through it!! I am here for ya girl and know exactly what your feeling!!!

student101 said...

oh u r definitely NOT alone! even though im not a parent i can assure you that everybody has those days but most of the time they pass and let you think of the happier times! time heals.

Tessa said...

I have been thinking a lot about this post the past several days, so I am sorry I didn't comment sooner! I have been considering whether or not I want to write a response on my blog - because I am also feeling like I am losing some of my "world focus" right now. Something that came to mind this morning is that even Jesus had limits. We studied this in a recent bible study - and it helped me put a lot of things in perspective. He could not heal everyone, and He needed to keep moving in his ministry ... so He had to say "no" and keep his primary goal in mind. Right now, your primary goal may just be to focus on your family, and adjusting to a life with 3 kids. The reason you were so on fire before you left for China is because that was not your goal at the time. Once that goal is complete, then you can move back to focusing more on RLC, etc. Does that make sense? I pray that God gives you peace and comfort right now! And I think I just might right a post about this ... hey I practically already did! Take care ... you are still inspiring all of us ... and don't forget it!

Wendi said...

Amen to all these precious comments! Especially that one from your sweet mama - wow! What a blessing beyond words! You are surrounded with love and admiration - hang in there! And when these days are gone, we'll sit on that white sand beach or lay in that hammock with no regrets!

Darlene said...

Sorry I missed this post earlier;have been on vacation.
Oh Angel!!!! Yes. Yes. Yes. Oh yes. Here is the thing. You are smart. You are not blind. You are compassionate. And on top of that, you see pain, feel empathy, and even want to DO something about it. Even still, you are a new mother. A NEW MOTHER!!!!!! And you are tired. Do you hear me???? TIRED!!!! You have a toddler (and I am sure she is easy..but, um, really?? She is 2!! Two is never easy, even the easy ones.) I promise, YOU WILL SET THE WORLD ON FIRE ... but it seems as though sweet Jesus wants you to just set a few special souls (i.e. your girls) on fire for HIM! That is where he has you right now.
When I get like this, there is only ONE explanation... and I don't know if this is it, but it often (ok, maybe always) means I am not spending enough time with Jesus. Allow him to fill YOU up. I think as women, we get so busy feeling useful and purposeful and giving... well, we forget that we are sinful, weak souls. We don't just love, work for, do for Jesus. No. We NEED Him. We need Jesus.
O.K. Long comment. Had to share, because I am soooooooo there sister. Me and you, girl. Drowning in the pure exhaustion that comes from little ones, and adding a new life to your family.Here is a post I did for the Dangerous Surrender book club. It definitely hits on some of this stuff:

One more thing: as Christians I feel we mustn't forget that there are just as many lost souls driving suburbans as there are that are starving or in poverty. Jesus loves us ALL. Jesus wants to be everything for ALL of us.
love ya, sister in Christ

Kristen said...

Oh Angel I can definitely relate to this. Adoption is emotionally draining. Parenting in and of itself is draining. But living day in and day out, being aware on a 24-7 level of the injustices that land a child in an orphanage, and the effects of that on a child . . . it's a lot to process. You are not immobilized, you are an amazing mom to your children and that may be all you can be today. And that's enough!!