Day 220: Stress and its Affects (August 8)

So, today was a hard day.  I generally hold onto a positive and joyful attitude, but today I kept getting calls from people about challenging situations that our family had to deal with.  There was no avoiding it, we had to stand up for ourselves and (truth be told) a contract we had entered into with someone.  That someone wasn’t holding to one of the very clear provisions, and our family would suffer if we didn’t address it.  So, long story short, we stood up for ourselves.

You may remember me mentioning this previously but standing up for myself and even my family is sometimes so hard for me because I’m a pleaser.  But today was a case of “right is right” and my justice bone took over.  I calmly stated our position to the mediator and they also agreed.  But the feelings of turmoil remained.  By the evening, we still had not resolved the issue.  I was worn out and I had told my kids I would take them to play miniature golf.  No part of me wanted to follow through on that promise, but I heard the Father say, “Don’t let this turmoil bog you down.  Keep walking out praise and joy.  That’s your greatest weapon against the enemy.”  So, I took them.

Now, here is the part of the story when you would expect to read about the great time we had and how it was so wonderful to go, but that would be a lie.  On the contrary, one of my kids lost their privilege to play mini golf before we even left the house.  Then another one of my littles spent the entire time spewing negative words on all of us.  The other two would try to maintain a fun attitude, but even adults would struggle with that kind of negativity.

The victory was there however because I remained calm the entire time.  That my friends, was a miracle.  When faced with exhaustion, both physical and mental, it’s so hard for me to remain calm and attentive, but this evening I was.  Praise the Lord.

Here’s where the greater victory occurred though.  When we returned home, I pulled said miserable child into a room alone with me and began to gently ask questions.  I questioned what was bothering them and how they were feeling, etc.  After literally an hour of patiently talking and feeling like we were getting nowhere, it finally happened.  The tears came and then the weight they had been carrying began to come out bit by bit and I saw that the reason that child had acted and spoken miserably was because of an overload of emotions bottled up for too long.

I don’t know about you, but I can totally relate to this.  Just because they are a child doesn’t mean the feelings aren’t just as real as mine.  I long to not cater to, but rather honor and respect these emotions and offer a gentle place for them to unfold.  I consider this one of my greatest callings in life.  To offer my children something I never experienced until well into my adult life.  A place to freely feel whatever it is they are feeling.  Not to dwell in them, but to walk with them through it.  To teach my babies how to process.  To teach them that some people just need a good cry sometimes and that’s totally ok.  Feelers feel, that’s how God made us.  It is my honor and privilege to allow my kids space to walk this out.

If you find yourself in a mood like my child was today, I encourage you to walk it out.  Find a place or way to process.  You will not regret it.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.  Proverbs 15:1

A merry heart does good, like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.  Proverbs 17:22