Tuesday, January 8, 2019

2019 : Surrender

It's been a few months, y'all.

So first of all---hi. I've missed you. 

It is already the 8th of January and although I picked my word a few days ago, I've been enjoying my time with my three babies and all of our holiday crazy.

So here I am, ready to write an update for you that includes my 2019 word.

2018 was the year. It is the best year we've had since divorce.

It wasn't an easy year. But it was our best one to date. 

In 2018, here are some things our family accomplished: 

  • Andersen performed as a meerkat in a production of The Lion King and was absolutely adorable. 
  • I fractured my toe/foot teaching dance, literally just by being kicked by a 10 year old. Darn dancers and their strong legs. ;) 
  • Hayley landed her round-off, back-tuck like a freaking boss. 
  • I spent February to May in a classroom at Gilbert High School, observing and tutoring for over 20 hours. 
  • Leo. The brightest part of our year was getting a call on Easter Sunday, asking if I'd take a 2 day old baby that was being discharged from the hospital in 20 minutes. That "yes" has changed our lives for the better. And nine months later, he is still changing my life daily. I never knew I could love another human as much as I love Hayley and Andersen but Leo is so equally loved and wanted. 
  • I took a 3 hour test that certified me to teach high school English and PASSED. 
  • Hayley attended her first Nationals in California with her dance team and they were amazing, coming away with many high titles. 
  • Andersen tried out and made the Drones hip hop team at Dance Republic and now says dance is his very favorite sport and that he wants to do it forever, just like his big sister. 
  • I interviewed at 5-6 high schools, being turned down each time but learning more and more about myself and how to interview each time. 
  • I spent October to December in three different classrooms at San Tan Charter HS, observing, tutoring, and teaching for over 55 hours. 
  • I was offered a job teaching high school English and through lots of prayer, I turned it down because it was not what was right for my family at this time. As hard as that was to try and make sense of why I would turn down a job I've worked toward, I've only felt peace since that moment. 
  • I got a daith piercing that has significantly helped my migraines. And after doing that, I went off of caffeine and have done really well with that! 
  • Leo has accomplished rolling, sitting up, laughing, learning to make various sounds, and getting super chubby and pretty tall for his age---cause he's just an overachiever like that. 
  • I finished my very last semester of school and decided to postpone my student teaching for a semester while I figure out some big decisions for my life. 
  • Hayley got glasses and looks absolutely adorable in them. 
  • I got to be a guest on a podcast with my friend, Emily, talking about my divorce and co-parenting and my life now. 
  • Hayley turned 10. 
  • Andersen turned 9. 
  • I turned 31. 
  • Leo stayed 0. 
  • Andersen lost two teeth. 
  • Leo got two teeth. 
  • Leo had his head shaved and got a Doc Band helmet that he will be wearing for the next 4 months. 
  • Both of the olders are flourishing and doing well in school. 
  • And although this will eventually be it's own post, we are hoping to adopt Leo sometime in 2019 and are praying that God can carry us through whatever plans He has for Leo's life. 

There is so much more, I'm sure. I could continue to tell you all of the amazing things my kids are doing and accomplishing. They truly inspire me to be a better person. 

I've been pondering on 2018 and my word for the year---forgiveness

I really feel like this was a year where God worked miracles in my heart that helped me to see so far beyond what I thought I was capable of seeing. 

I have spent this year mending friendships and letting go of ones that can't be mended. I've spent a significant amount of time working through any resentment still in my heart from my divorce and our difficult court trial last January. I've also worked through a lot of healing with my therapist to forgive myself. 

It is not over. I don't know if it ever will be. I am continuously on this scale of hating myself, loving myself, and forgiving myself for my life decisions. In fact, I feel as though I am still somewhere on that continuum with my ex-husband or others who have hurt me in my past. 

2018 was my year of miracles. I look back on the mostly-smooth co-parenting and the fact that I was able to raise a tiny newborn while working two jobs and going to school full time. It wouldn't have been possible without all of the miracles God placed in our lives. 

It wouldn't have been possible without all of you. 

As I thought about what I want 2019 to represent, the first thought that came to my mind is my need want for control in all aspects of my life. 

I struggle with OCD and anxiety daily.

I like control because if I can stay in control of a situation, my brain tells me that I won't get hurt.

It's not effective. I still get hurt. And my need for control usually just makes me sick with anxiety. It doesn't actually change the things that are happening.

So I'm going to try something in 2019 that I think I'm ready for.


I want to surrender the obsessive controlling that I try to do. This is actually something I've been working on for a while but I need it to be at the forefront this year.

As I pray for the adoption of my Leo boy, I want to surrender the feelings of control and worry that come with each court hearing and caseworker visit. Leo is my second experience with foster care but my first experience with adoption. I've known from the beginning that he was different. Even when they told me at a week old that he would only be with us for a few more days or when they changed their minds right before the last two court hearings and decided not to change the case plan to severance. We have a connection unlike anything I ever thought I could experience with a foster placement. And as this situation unfolds and we continue to love our little guy, it is SO hard not to want to control all of the things. But the truth is, I can't control it. DCS could take him tomorrow and I wouldn't be able to do anything about it. But I want to stop prolonging my enjoyment of watching my baby boy grow up by being scared that I'm going to lose him. I want to surrender those fears to my Heavenly Father and just be Leo's mom right now, in this moment.

As a person who will forever be co-parenting with my children's dad and their step-mom, I want to surrender the need to control each situation that presents itself. Co-parenting is not easy. It is ever-changing as the kids get older and as our personal lives change. I've had two different babies in my home. Their dad got married. Our dynamics have changed many times. And I still feel threatened by his wife sometimes and her relationship with our kids. I hate that I do it but I do. I still get scared that somehow, they will like her more than they like me. I'm still completely overprotective and get frustrated with any little mistake I hear has happened at their other house. And that---THAT is why I need to work on surrendering to Heavenly Father's plan. Because his plan involves my children being loved by myself, their dad, AND their step-mom. And it is a beautiful thing that my children have so many people who love them and care about them. No matter what that looks like or how it is given, all three of us love these kids. And that is a positive thing.

Over the years, my faith has been so strong in believing that God was going to place a future spouse in my life. It is something that is on my mind often. Being single is not easy and I often feel like I'm drowning, trying to keep up on paying bills and making sure my children's needs are met and somehow finding a minute for myself. I'm emotional about this one---because it's the hardest one for me to surrender. Although I am never going to give up on the potential for a future spouse, I think it is time that I surrender the belief that it  will  happen. There have been so many times where I did not know how to make my paycheck stretch and would have the thought, "If only I had a spouse who could provide another income in our home, then we will be ok.". There have been so many times where I realize the kids have more than one thing happening at the same time and I think, "If only I had a spouse, then I wouldn't have to feel anxious about getting my kids places.". There have been so many times where I've wanted to make a decision that feels right or easy but I am not sure I can say yes to it---because how would I take that on without a spouse?

2019 has some huge decisions and changes in the air. Some of those decisions, I can guarantee I will be judged for, solely based on the fact that I am single.

I mean, it sure as hell doesn't make sense that I would turn down a job that would increase our income. And it doesn't make sense that I foster and will possibly adopt other children when we have such a crazy schedule.

I get it. I'd probably look at me like I was crazy too, if I were you. 

But what I wish more than anything is that people could look at my life and understand that I am trying my best and that my main priority is being a mom and raising my children. I'd do anything for my kids---which includes turning down a job that would greatly decrease the amount of time I'd be able to spend with them.

And maybe to some of you, foster children are not my children---maybe that's the part that makes the least sense---but I believe they are my children. In fact, I believe they are all of our children.

God has asked me to take on some huge responsibilities in my life, ones that feel right but seem daunting. I'm scared. But I am trying to surrender to His will---not mine or yours.

I made my castle tall
I built up every wall
This is my kingdom and it needs to fall
I want You and no one else
Empty me of myself
Until the only thing that's left is
More of You
Less of me
Make me who I'm meant to be
You're all I want all I need
You're everything
Take it all I surrender
Be my king
God I choose
More of You
Less of me
More of You
This life I hold so close
Oh, God I let it go
I refuse to gain the world and lose my soul
So take it all I abandon everything I am You can have it
The only thing I need is
More of You

All to you
I surrender
All to you my blessed Savior
I surrender all