3 Things I Learned About Myself in a Hard Time
My husband and I are foster parents. We went into it with more confidence than we should have. But both of us have a lot of experience helping kids with issues so we felt equipped to deal with what would come our way.
Our pride was our first mistake. Neither of us was prepared to meet a side of ourselves we didn’t know needed fixing. Once the vulnerable areas of myself and my life were exposed, I had three choices. I could continue the ugliness by defending myself and justify why how I was reacting was okay. I could spiral in shame and beat up on myself. Or, I could look at this as a chance to make changes and learn from this experience.
As hard as this time has been for me, I wouldn’t change it. I allowed my hard time to change me. I thought we became foster parents to change the lives of children; but, in reality, the children have changed ours.
Here are 3 things I learned about myself in this hard season:
1. I am selfish.
Of course, all people have some level of selfishness, but I saw a side of myself I didn’t realize I had. I like things to go my way and when something happens to shift that, it takes me longer to adapt than it should. I have had to remind myself that the world doesn’t revolve around what I want all the time. And I have learned to focus on having compassion and opening my heart and home to those in need.
2. I am a control freak.
I realized that I’m not as flexible and laid back as I thought. I get more annoyed than I should when things don’t go as I had planned. Caring for kids with trauma issues and dealing with all the last-minute changes that come with it has taught me I need to loosen the reins on my expectations and let more things go. I am learning to roll with things more than I had before.
3. I have a hard time loving people when they aren’t so lovable.
As a committed Jesus follower, this one slapped me in the face. At times, I have had to fight hard to not judge. When hearing stories about where our foster kids have come from, it is difficult to find a way to love their family and show grace. I also saw this ugly side of myself when I found it hard to love the kids when they have turned our lives upside down. My faith has helped me love when I didn’t feel like I had it in me.
When we go through struggles, we can become a victim to them or we can make it an opportunity for growth. [Tweet This] I chose to grow. Whatever your struggles are, I am sure you have seen a side of yourself you didn’t like. If you are an overwhelmed mom, here are some tips to help. Remember that when our weaknesses are exposed, it is for our benefit. If we hadn’t seen areas to work on, we might have continued thinking we are all good. It makes a big difference when we can see the hard times as more than just a struggle. The hard times can teach us more about ourselves and reveal areas that need changing.
When you go through a hard time, do you get stuck in a victim mentality or do you let it become an opportunity for growth?
Teri Claassen is a Jesus follower, wife to Dan, mommy to one boy and one girl, a foster mom to kids in need, and a therapist at Renewed Horizon Counseling in Tampa, FL.