|Art journal page - us women become fragmented with life's stress|
I keep thinking I need to update this blog with what I'm learning lately, but God has me learning so much I don't know if I can put it into words just yet. I'll simply add a glimpse here.
First, my daughter is getting married. Have you had children marry? Were you "on board" with the idea? Have you learned that old rules have changed? Anything goes?
Letting go of my daughter to make her own decisions and letting go of my ideas about how weddings should be has been a process. She and her fiance have made it clear from the start they don't want our input. They don't want strings attached to our gift of cash. It's been a wake-up call because I assumed as a mom I would have more input. I got the feeling her dad and I were to just show up. She said she didn't even care how we were dressed (not quite mother-of-the-bride thinking).
Perhaps banning us from the planning has to do with the angst we expressed over time to my daughter. Let me tell you about it.
The process of considering my daughter's choice of spouse whom she met at 19 and he 18 and have been together for 6 years makes me wonder about the longevity of their future together. They are 25 and 24 now, but knowing what they're up against troubles me. Seeing red flags about their relationship worries my husband and me.
She is a believer in Christ, he is not. We know the issues with that and plenty of Christians and relatives have also expressed their concerns as though they think it is within our means to march in and break them up.
I have seen so many similarities with their relationship and a previous relationship I had. It's laughable. It's like the enemy got in and gave my daughter exactly what I didn't want her to have. Situations triggered memories causing me anxiety. I never want my daughter to experience what I did and I worry she's headed for trouble.
Of course, having had a bad relationship in the past makes me extra sensitive to what I see. Projection is easy. Comparing my daughter's fiance to the person I was involved with isn't fair. But it happens. Since the wedding is going forward, I have to see this young man for the good in him and trust God to challenge him.
But in the meantime, their choices caused me to plummet into a pool of anxiety so much so I needed medication and signed on for mental health therapy.
During that therapy, I resolved issues I'd carried for over 30 years. They needed expression in a safe place. I went through a process called EMDR which was very helpful.
I had no clue something from my past would haunt me 30 years later! I had no idea such would cause anxiety affecting my health.
But the wedding is going forward, so I needed to decide how I was going to handle it. Here are a few ways I did:
a) My husband and I expressed a number of concerns to my daughter. Of course we had expressed such since we met the young man, but now regarding marriage and little change in what we saw, we needed to have our feelings registered.
We didn't necessarily express this well, thought. But moreso, it wasn't received well. Our daughter's generation of young people seem to act a little entitled. They balk the input of adults. My daughter had never known our disapproval before. So it didn't go well.
b) In spite of our warnings, it's going ahead. We love our daughter and decided we need to be supportive no matter her choices.
c) During therapy, I came up with a process the therapist hadn't challenged me on but when I told her what I'd done, she loved it. I wrote a list of my concerns and then reframed them into prayers. For instance, a concern was that this young man lacked career direction and had two part-time jobs and sometimes had gaps between work. We wanted to be sure the man our daughter married could support her even though she had a good paying job herself. I reframed my concern to ask God to provide him with career direction and the right job.
With this process, my need for control was challenged in healthier way. My faith is not in the young man changing, it is in God directing him.
d) I decided they are simply immature or naive in some ways and everyone deserves the opportunity to grow up. The question became whether I could support them while they navigate life and how I might do that.
e) I protected my health. I needed to step back from seeing them for a time while I dealt with the stress and anxiety. It's called setting boundaries.
My daughter pointed out a reason she didn't want me helping plan her wedding--that I'm too detail oriented. She's right. my perfectionistic need for control is high. God has been challenging me on this idol, habit, stronghold--call it what you may.
My decision making and stress is often tied to what ifs--what if someone thinks this or that isn't appropriate, what if someone's expectation isn't met, what if I feel left out, what if there's something better out there...
I am learning to set boundaries for myself and not care what others think. This is a battle because family members, neighbours and the like aren't short on expressing their opinions.
I'm trying to change my what ifs to what if it all works out, what if this is part of God's plan, what if I don't need to live in a pool of ongoing stress, what if God wants me to enjoy this time not stress about it, what if I'm not in control, what if I let others make their own decisions and face their own consequences?
So I'm being challenged in many ways. I never would have predicted all the new emotions I've had to deal with.
How about you? Are you going through a phase of on-going stress? Are you in need of therapy? Do you need to set boundaries for yourself? Is there something you could reframe? Do you need a mindset shift?
God is willing to walk through it with you. He may take you deep or rush in and give you supernatural peace you can't justify. Ask him to point out any areas of your life you may need to deal with.