It has been a long time since I have added fresh content to this little blog. It is not because I haven’t thought about it. We have been through some recent transitions: We moved into a new home to be closer to our son, Liu’s new school. This Fall, he made the move to middle school.
These changes seemed to have many layers of meaning for me. Will I hear an added voice in our family within these walls? Is it “too late?” I had always wanted small children close in age in school together. Well…that ship has sailed. I don’t want to be done with the care and nurturing of small children. Now my only little one is not so little anymore and we are getting older. This makes me sad.
I’ve been filled with these thoughts and feelings and the normal fears that can envelope a parent’s heart when their child begins a new school. Sometimes the fear of our future and what it will look like masquerades itself in preoccupations with “this place is a mess” and “how will I get this place set up ‘just right?'” Because, well…anxiety is sneaky like that. When the mind doesn’t know what to do with some big, heavy life issues, it can cause you to hone in on another aspect of your life and OBSESS on it. And, yeah, it pretty much sucks. Depression sucks. Obsessive thoughts suck. And so does caring what everyone thinks if they know that you deal with these. And then there is the inevitable extra judgment I might get because I happen to also be a chaplain. But here is a news flash: Chaplains are humans, too. Pastors, youth pastors, ministers…all humans. And no one is immune to the possibility of mental health struggles.
Don’t get me wrong. Most days I’m doing well. I am in remission from full-blown depression from many years ago. But there are so many skills I must employ to ensure my continued health. I must watch my pattern of thoughts lest they stray back to the overly negative zone. I have to make sure I get exercise and don’t neglect self-care and activities that bring me joy or I could slide back into being depressed. Daily devotions and prayers help me focus my thoughts on HIM. There are many more pieces to the puzzle which involves caring for my body, mind, and soul.
The transition of moving was hard, but it is getting easier. The life transition…well, that is something I still grapple with. In the toughest days when we were moving and Liu was starting school, I had a few panicky, emotional mom moments. Not just about the “only child” issue, but about Liu in the middle school environment. I had thoughts like, “will he be okay? Will he be a target for bullies with his special needs?” I began making up a little poem in my mind to help calm me when I needed it. I designed it so that much of it would be easy to memorize, and then repeat over and over and over again. I found that it gives me great comfort. I hope that you might find it comforting or useful, as well. Without further ado, here it is.
Remember who you are.
Remember “whose” you are.
You are God’s. He loves you.
He made you. He forgave you.
Even died to save you.
He is with you right now.
His Spirit lives in you. His angels surround you.
Protecting, watching, guiding your mind toward Him.
He longs for you to be filled with peace,
with thoughts obsessed with only Him.
The chaos around you, it’s NOT WHO YOU ARE.
It is merely outside of you. It cannot hurt you.
Not with your eyes fixed upon His beauty, His glory, and His all-encompassing love.
It protects. It surrounds. It wraps you in safety.
Of you, He will never let go.
You are at peace.
You are okay.
Remember who you are. Remember “whose” you are.