The alarm rang and I finally turned it off. I had already hit snooze, twice. Then I rolled over and pulled the covers over my head again to disappear into blissful oblivion. This seemed to be a pattern lately. It was not even because I was exhausted – and I was exhausted. It was because I dreaded the day before me. Did I love my kids? YES! With all my heart. I would have done anything for them…except maybe get out of bed that morning, but we’ll ignore that for now. I just couldn’t deal with it, with them and their issues and all the pressures right then. So, if I just rolled over and went back to sleep, maybe they would just disappear or wait for a few hours? I was groggy and half asleep and was not really functioning in reality yet, so this just might be possible, right?
“I didn’t sign up for this.” “It’s too much.” “I have a sense of dread at returning home at the end of the work day.” Are all phrases I’ve heard expressed by parents. This special needs parenting stuff can be hard – really hard. It is unrelenting. The pressures are there and they will continue to be there, probably for our whole lives. Aren’t I just the harbinger of good news and joy to you today, sorry. But this is nothing you didn’t already know (insert big compassionate sigh here). So, what do we do and how do we manage so that “I didn’t sign up for this” doesn’t become “I’m out of here – for good” or we don’t just pull the covers over our heads never to get up and deal with our lives that day and the next and the next?
Obviously, practical matters like getting a break and resting is a critical physical need that must be met and is the first priority if you aren’t getting that, hopefully before you completely burnout. But, if you’re regularly getting your eight hours of shut eye and are still pulling the covers over your head or taking the scenic route home from work every day, then we need to share our cares, concerns and burdens with someone else. This can be tough. I know it’s not easy to share the most vulnerable, weakest parts of ourselves with another person. But, it can be so helpful. It’s important to let the pain, doubts and fears out, get some reflection and perspective from other people, whether that’s a friend, counselor or both. But, it’s also important to choose those people wisely so that you get wise reflections and helpful encouragement and advice.
Even Jesus who was, well, perfect asked for support from others in his darkest hour. Matthew 26:36-46 gives us the account. He goes to an olive grove to pray and takes his three closest friends, Peter, James, and John, to be near him and pray too. He was “anguished and distressed”. Can you relate to those emotions? Jesus is there to talk to his Father. He asks his friends to talk to the Father as well, but every one of the three times he returns to his friends, they are asleep. Jesus’ friends were not the best support to him that evening.
Even if you have great friends who are very supportive, I’m sure there are times when they aren’t available or when their advice or response misses the mark. Know that God the Father is always there. Always available. Never too busy. Never asleep. Never otherwise occupied.
In a sermon I recently heard, I loved a quote the pastor shared from Paul Tripp, “When we are God-forgetful, we tend to load burdens on our shoulders we cannot bear.” So when the load seems too much to bear, remember to take it to Him.
You weren’t designed to carry the load alone.
Written by Sarah McGuire Co-Founder of Hope Anew