Shedding the Weight of the Worry Robe

 

pier

Worry is like a second skin for me. I wake up each morning and slip it on without thinking. Before I’ve even stumbled to the coffee pot, or even before my feet hit the floor some days, worry has settled herself around my shoulders like a robe. She has worked her fingers like tendrils into my brain and started the hamster wheel of thoughts whirring like crazy.

“What if I can’t handle the kids today?”

“I already feel behind and I haven’t even gotten out of bed yet.”

“Will life ever return to ‘normal’ again…or do I just need to make my peace with constantly feeling like I’m running on empty?”

“I’m not doing this mom-thing right.”

“I need to add ‘take photos for sample sale,’ ‘pick up prescription,’ ‘get packing tape,’ ‘update inventory spreadsheet,’ and ‘get chicken out to thaw’ to my to-do list.”

I worry about what the next five minutes, the next hour, the next day will hold and whether or not I’ll be able to ‘get it all done’ and still ‘keep it all together.’ And I usually end the day feeling like the answer to both of those questions is ‘no.’

Even though worry slips on like a lightweight robe, she is anything BUT lightweight. I can feel the weight of her pressing down on my chest, constricting those deep yoga breaths that I try so hard to take each morning.

But I’m tired of wearing worry. I don’t want her to be the story of my life. As an Enneagram 6, I realize what a lofty goal that is. Fix it, Jesus. Fix it. Jesus. JESUS.

And then I remember. Jesus was the One who said, ‘Come to Me, you who are weary and heavy burdened. Come to Me, and I will give you rest.” Oh, how I need that reminder. I need to cling to it like oxygen, breathe it in and let it lift the weight of worry on my chest.

If I’m honest, I have done a pretty crappy job of coming to Jesus with my Worry Robe. I usually just snuggle down in it and try to take deep breaths that never really go deep. I tuck my head down and attack my to-do list with a vigor and damned be anyone who gets in my way (often including my husband and children). Which never ends up working out well for anyone.

And yet, that Voice still calls me. Come and rest. Let Me lift the weight of Worry…take my robe instead. It’s nice and light. You can breathe. Just keep looking at Me.

I reach out to take His hand and let my eyes rest on His…and I find rest.

And tomorrow morning, when I pick up my Worry Robe again (as I inevitably will), I will allow the weight of it to remind me to seek His face again, until His rest is the only garment I seek.

IMG_0482

 

Our New Normal

Because of COVID-19 and social distancing…

  • I have switched to black coffee. I need caffeine and I need it now. Don’t get me wrong, I still like my froo-froo coffee with creamer and honey and mocha and all that. But I’m much more interested in waking up as quickly as possible these days with small children who think 6:30 is an acceptable wake-up-and-start-asking-all-the-questions hour. As a matter of fact, just give me an IV please and thank you.

 

  • I utilize the lock on my bedroom door quite often. Because while we may be distancing from others, the kids are most definitely NOT distancing. They are quite literally following me into the bedroom/bathroom. #Ijustwanttopeeinpeace

 

  • Sitting in the car has become an ‘outing.’ We sat in our cars at our church parking lot for Easter Sunday and let me tell you, I have never been so excited to get dressed up to go somewhere…even though I never got out of the car. I may have also used the car as an escape when I need to get away from the chorus of ‘Mom, mom, mom’ inside the house.

 

  • Watching PBS Kids totally counts as schoolwork…and also makes me feel better about the amount of screen time the kids are consuming. #winwin

 

  • Fresh air and sunshine are food to my soul once again. I’m a homebody by nature. Given the option of a free day all to myself, odds are I’ll curl up on the couch with snacks, drinks, Netflix and a good book. But since we’ve been home ALL THE TIME, I crave the outdoors and sunshine and wind and trees and flowers like never before. Sometimes I sit on the back porch while the kids are playing and just breathe in the birdsong and warm air. So refreshing.

 

  • I crave routine. Something about knowing what’s coming each day on a small level brings me comfort. First, quiet time & yoga, then breakfast, morning chores and routine, lunch, then screen time if kids have finished their checklist, more creative play and outside play while mom attempts to work, then supper and family time and bedtime. This feels like a small anchor in the midst of all the things we DON’T know right now.

 

And speaking of all the things we don’t know, this video about the mental spiral every mom is on right now cracks me up:

This video on @kelly_bandas IG. Just go follow her account…she’s stinkin’ hilarious.

Be well friends.

img_0355

 

A Prayer for Messy Hopes and Dreams

I sat on the rug in front of our bathroom tub, knees pulled up tight, sobbing into the bend of my elbow. I was at the end of my rope. The kids had been fighting non-stop, I lost my cool and yelled at them, and my husband had patiently stepped in to smooth things over, giving me a chance to slip away.

As I heard him softly talking to them in Chinglish (our own blended version of Chinese & English), I thought how much better of a parent he obviously was and how I did NOT feel cut out for this parenting gig AT ALL. In fact, my one wish in that moment was for a return to our life pre-kids. The quiet, the lack of toys covering every surface, freedom to pee by myself or watch what I wanted on Netflix.

Those thoughts were immediately followed by an immense wave of guilt. After all, we had prayed and fought hard for these kids for four long years…and now I just wanted to go back to the way things used to be? How selfish was I??

Mom-guilt is for real, y’all.

nick-owuor-astro-nic-visuals-_kmabpL_cFU-unsplash

Photo by Nick Owuor (astro.nic.visuals) on Unsplash

What on earth do we do when the realization of our hopes and dreams doesn’t look like we thought it would? When it’s WAY messier than we ever thought it would be?

How do we grapple with FINALLY getting what we want…only to wonder if that’s actually what we wanted in the first place?

I don’t know the answers to these questions. But I’ve been asking them. And struggling with feeling guilty for asking them.

I mean, y’all. We prayed and prayed for kids and for this adoption process for so stinking long, sinking so much of our time and energy and resources into what we believed God had for us. I knew deep down that having kids wasn’t going to be easy, especially adopted kids from hard places, but I sure wasn’t prepared for just HOW HARD it was going to be. Of how tired I would constantly be – mentally, physically and emotionally – and how parenting these two that God gave us would wake up all the selfishness and anger and (dare I say it?) resentfulness lying asleep in my spirit.

I’m finding myself surprised that the garment of motherhood doesn’t fit as naturally as I imagined.

I’m also realizing there are a lot of things I don’t know. But experience IS teaching me that both the journey of hope and the realization of hope can be messy.

Sometimes hard and hope go hand-in-hand.

I like to personalize hope as this scrappy, tenacious character. She’s scrappy because she has to be…because walking hand-in-hand with her will take us down some scary-as-heck roads. She’s tenacious because she continually prods us to not give up, knowing the journey is worth it.

So while I still have a lot of questions, and often find myself crying on the floor in the bathroom, my prayer is that in the middle of the mess, in the middle of whatever journey you and I find ourselves on, that we may have eyes to see the One who is holding our hand. The One who is whispering, “I’ve got you. You are loved. This story is so much bigger than you can imagine.”

The One who will never let us go.

Miller, Party of 4

Hey there friends!

So, a lot has happened in the past two months…including this little thing of traveling to China and bringing home our new kiddos!

So many of you have been following along with our adoption journey over the past few years, and I can’t begin to express my gratefulness for your friendship, presence, prayers, gifts, and general encouragement. I have been reminded more so now than ever that adoption + parenting is NOT for the faint of heart, and knowing that we are not doing this crazy amazing journey alone, but have an amazing village of friends has lifted our weary hearts more than you will ever know. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

We’ve definitely been in survival mode over here since returning home a month ago (#hellosleepdeprivation), so for now I’m just going to drop a few photos here to introduce you to the two newest 8-year-old Millers – Zoe Meilin and Nathaniel (Nate) Kai. We’re obviously not organized enough yet to have anything resembling a family photo, lol.

This is what a morning at the park in China will do to ya
Nate swinging with Jerrel
Zoe’s turn on the swings
This is what jet lag looks like
Loved seeing Nate’s grin playing in the corn pit at nearby Mitchell Farms
Sunday selfies with Mama
Apparently ladybugs make great friends
Zoe’s first pumpkin carving at church

When It’s Easy to Miss the Forest for the Trees (adoption update 3)

“We are looking forward in hope.”

Our Chinese visas came last week.  An email informing us that the final piece of paperwork was processed came through on Monday.  I’m sitting at the dining room table covered by multiple stacks of documents, grant applications, recent mail, and FedEx envelopes.  My daily planner lies open next to me with a running (and growing) list of emails to reply to, travel webinars and reading material to complete, airfare quotes needed, and rooms needing to be prepped for little bodies.

It’s been all too easy to miss the forest for the trees.

Another email pops up, another check needs to be written, another decision needs to be made, and I keep running into these fat trees everywhere.  Because they ALL feel like gigantic redwoods basically.  Not a single small sapling among the bunch.

Isn’t that the way it is when major life changes are staring you in the face?  EVERYTHING feels huge and weighty.  I was in the car running errands yesterday and even completing those felt like a major undertaking.  I struggled to take deep breaths against my seat belt as people in cars passed by going about their normal business, and I wondered how they were all doing it and thought that ‘this was just going to be my life from here on out because once we bring our kids home then EVERYTHING will change.  And I will never be able to take a deep breath again.’  And those dang trees stared me right down.

nareeta-martin-sb_1-FAjD5U-unsplash

Photo by Nareeta Martin on Unsplash

I forgot I was standing in the middle of a forest created by Someone much bigger than me.

***

Thankfully, a few calming words from friends and some time with Jesus reminded me where I was and Who I belonged to.  Because the truth is that even when we lose sight of the forest for the trees, the forest is big and wild and still there.  It’s the bigger, miraculous story that God is writing.  It’s how God is turning our fear into faith.  When I step back and ask for eyes to see the forest, I hear His whisper above the trees…

There is Hope.

You are loved.

The story is bigger than you realize.

That whisper sounds an awful lot like my friend Jesus who has been walking every step of this crazy trail with me.  He’s actually been whispering it all along; it’s just hard to hear when I’m so focused on the bark and moss and size and branches of every. single. tree. in front of me.

***

Have you ever been there?  What are the trees blocking your view of the forest?  Do they look like endless bills to pay, constant chauffeuring of you and your people everywhere, or a loved one battling a hideous disease?  Maybe it’s the tedious job you thought would make you happy but it’s not, or the burden of being the sole caretaker for your spouse or parents.  Maybe, like me, it’s a major life change staring you in the face.

Whatever the shape our trees take, let’s not allow them to steal the show okay?  Because the forest, the story that God is writing with each of our lives is so much bigger and more beautiful than any one tree will ever be.

There is Hope.

You are loved.

The Story is bigger.

sebastien-gabriel-w7oxd0tzWWs-unsplash