On a Friday night, I was laying in my bed and UGLY crying. I wish I could say this was a rare event, but it has happened more times than either of us would have liked for it to since we have been married. Blended family dynamics have not been an seamless adjustment.
I finally caught my breath and said in a mumbled voice through sobs, “I am not cut out for this.”
My husband, with more humor in his tone than I wanted, said “You know…you’re really not. And that is really okay.”
Lots of sweet and gracious people have told me how much they admire my ability to be a step mama. A dear friend even told me that it completely made sense to her that I would marry someone with a child; that my personality was a good fit for it. Let me go ahead and dispel any misconceptions: in so many ways, my personality is an absolutely terrible fit for the particular situation I have found myself in.
I am terribly impatient. I mean, ridiculously impatient. I can barely write this blog and edit it. I edit it once and then I have to publish it because I am so impatient. I eat my dinner as I make it. When I am scooping ice cream, only 30% of it makes it into the bowl. Anyone who is a parent knows that this quality does not translate to having children. Also, the child has hair that takes TWO HOURS to brush. I cannot.
I basically worship control. In my little family, there was a court order written a long time ago that I had nothing to do with. There is not a single thing that I can do about it. Nothing. Nyra lives in another home too, which is the epitome of loss of control. I get very little say in plenty of things that affect me significantly. For someone who loves control, everything about our situation can feel painfully difficult.
Nyra is, across the board, a kind and compliant child. She is a great kid. However, she is a little human and of course imperfect. Her particular character flaws clash with mine so strongly it sometimes blows my mind. It’s like if I could make a list of the things that a child could do to drive me crazy, those are all the things she struggles with. I didn’t realize it was possible to want to “get back” at a five year old, but sometimes I REALLY REALLY do. Recently, she was being a pain and kept doing something she knew she wasn’t supposed to, and I said “GO AHEAD. Do it one more time. I DARE YOU.” #motheroftheyear.
And, for the cherry on top, I struggle with anxiety and a touch of OCD. Mostly obsessive thinking. You know what’s really fun? Obsessing about all the potential terrible things that could happen in ten years in your family. And then I try to reel my poor husband into the anxiousness so we can figure out how to “control” this possible thing that hasn’t happened yet. He, as the sane person, refuses to engage and try to “fix” the imaginary future problem. Sometimes it feels like I am in one of those nightmares where I am screaming but no one can hear me. It’s lovely, really.
I started to dig into the deep inadequacy I was feeling (common theme clearly) and I remembered Moses for some reason. In Exodus, Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt? … I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
Moses is voicing what I tell God regularly. I AM NOT CUT OUT FOR THIS.
The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”
When it is so obvious that we are weak, we are unable, that is where God gets to be God. My need for Him is never greater when I realize that I actually can’t do this. I can’t. He has to, there is no other option, no plan B.
Moses did not split the red sea, God did. Moses did not deliver the Israelites, God did. He repeated to Moses time and time again what He repeated to us in the form of His Son, “I am God and I am with you.”
I am no different. So here I am, trying to believe that God is desiring to use me and transform me. Promising that He is standing next to me, has gone before me, and is behind me. Trusting (very poorly most days) that the pain is a foreshadowing of coming joy. And saying, “Here I am. I have no clue what I’m doing. I really hope You do.”