When You’re Not Enough

September 12, 2017

Parenting is trying to kill me lately. So many challenges!  Sprinkle some grief (theirs AND mine) on top and we have the perfect storm going on here. Extra grace required has never been more relevant than in this house right now. Lord, have mercy! We need a helping hand! Sometimes you have to look around a little to find one, but they are there.

Even though we have plenty of problems going on right now, hating school is not one of them. My kids LOVE school. We are so fortunate to have teachers and administrators who seem to be on team EGR. They are working with me to help my kids do and be their best. They are helping hands.

This is so important, because Gman is struggling. For him, impulse control, inability to sleep soundly and emotional regulation are challenges he faces every day. It’s sometimes hard to know how much of this is ADD, how much of it is grief, and how much of it is typical 9-yr-old boy stuff. I’m so grateful for a caring mental health team of counselors to help me help him. They are helping hands.

However, the road to helping him is long and there are few places to refuel along the way. There’s no immediate remedy, but rather a series of trial and error. There’s so much frustration, impatience, disruption, anger and despair as we work towards finding the right solution. Although I know much of what’s going on is not something he can control on his own right now, it doesn’t stop me from yelling. It doesn’t stop me from growing impatient with him. I’m tired, frustrated, and very concerned…like a normal parent would be I suppose, but without his Dad to step in when I’m about to lose my mind over it all. Single parents everywhere are in the same boat. Parenting is not a job for one. It’s not even a job for two, really. It truly takes a village of helping hands and I’m working on growing ours.

Recently, Gman’s counselor suggested he needs “dude time.” Well, we don’t have a “dude” in the house, so there’s THAT. Thanks for the reminder though. So, I signed him up for Cub Scouts again (prime dude time), but his counselor wants him to have more than that. He wants him to have monthly time with a trusted guy, one-on-one time, doing guy things. I have men that my husband and I were friends with, but they have their own lives and their own families. They have their own projects, appointments and commitments. I can’t go with a hit or miss, well intentioned but only sometimes relationship. I need consistency and commitment because the last thing Gman needs is to feel like someone else left his life. The Big Brother/Big Sister program sounds great, but they are at capacity…beyond capacity really. Plus, forgive my mama bear paranoia, but I’d like to KNOW who is spending time with my son.

All of these things makes me hyper aware of how “not enough” I am. It isn’t that I’m doing anything wrong as a Mom, but there have been so many things to remind me of how truly not enough I am. And what Mom wants to feel not enough for her kids?

I can’t fix their grief. I can’t be a Dad for them. I can’t seem to muster up more patience, which they absolutely require. I’m in a season where I’m feeling overwhelmed with parenting. ALL parents go through this, for sure, but this is like overwhelmed on steroids. This too shall pass, I tell myself. God is on team G-man. He has a plan for his life. He is with us. But dang if I don’t feel really alone with this lately.

“Not enough.”  Unaccepted. Unworthy.  Ineffective.

I’m in need of reassurance and more helping hands.

I know the details of your circumstances may be different, but if you’re feeling not enough right now too, will you join me in soaking in these words? We really are the opposite of what we tell ourselves we are sometimes. I’m trying to quiet the negative thoughts and focus hard on what God says I am and also what He says about who HE is.

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(A helping hand!!)

 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Sufficient? That’s the opposite of not enough!

Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Phillipians 1:6

 “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” Phil 1:6

 2 Corinthians 3:5 (NIV)

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.

Philippians 4:13 

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Rest in this, friends. Soak it up and be reassured. Read it and re-read it until you believe it again.

This life is overwhelming at best even when all is going well. When you add in grief and loss, single parenting, loneliness, financial concerns, health concerns, or whatever it is that you’re struggling with, it can feel like a tidal wave of insecurity and fear. I’m here to tell you (and myself)…you are NOT alone. I know, because God says so!

We all need a helping hand now and then. Asking for it is the hardest part. I know we’d all rather be giving the helping hand instead of receiving it. But just look at this image again. Can you tell which hand is giving help and which is receiving it?

Offering a helping hand looks the same as grasping on to a hand for help. When we join together like this, both are safer and stronger. We aren’t supposed to do all of the hard work alone. We don’t have to pretend we are stronger than we are.

We were designed to need one another. And we were designed to need God.

Wishing peace, comfort and a ton of extra grace for all of us today, tomorrow and whatever comes after that.

Extra grace,

Jodi

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photo credit: bellmon1 Helping Hands via photopin (license)

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6 Comments

  • Reply Ruth Ellis September 12, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Look for an older gentleman in your church whose kids are grown and is also feeling “not enough.” As we all age, we can feel useless and it would be a boost to both of them to share time together. It could be the perfect solution!

  • Reply Robin murphy September 12, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    I too have a 9 yr old boy and he’s definitely a button pusher with me and his older sisters. I try to be patient with him but he can be a handful. He has uncles but they are busy and I hate to ask for guy time. Liam is always surrounded by girls and I feel like this guy time is important. I wish I had more hours in a day to give him but the girls are very busy in sports and activities. He is not interested in sports at all and wants to build robots and talk Pokémon…. I am no good st this, so I hear ya and I understand some of what you are going thru. Maybe I need to set a time for just a little mom and Liam time.

  • Reply Jennifer September 12, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Hi Jodi,
    After reading your latest post, I have to say my hearts breaks for your struggle. I have to say it sounds like you are doing everything possible to help your son and all your kids get through this grief thing. My kids are older, two are married in fact so loosing their dad has been a different kind of grief for us. But I just wanted to throw out an idea about your getting some more dude time. I know you said that you have guy friends who might be able to help, but you thought they were to busy and had their own families. Have you asked any of them, or even memtioned it to the wives, they may be willing to help but don’t know that you could use that dude time. Maybe one of your husbands best friends would be willing to step up , you never know it might really help them also knowing that they are helping their deceased friend son. The other thought I had was have you checked at your church and seen if there would be some dude that would be willing to help you out? I know how hard it is to ask for help it’s one of the hardest things to learn it’s ok to ask for help. Many times friends want to help but don’t know what they can do, so once you let them know they will step up to the plate. Trust me on this I’ve been through a lot since my hubby passed, and if not for faith in god and my friends I don’t know where I’d be now. Take care gods blessings are with you, jennifer

  • Reply Donna Wood September 12, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    As far as more dude time, when a lady in our church lost her husband years ago, the youngest was 2 (a girl) then there was the middle child a girl and the oldest was a son. If I recall he was younger than 10. Men in our church stepped up and taught him how to fish, took him and spent time with him, and it doesn’t need to be the same men, but maybe a men’s Bible study group could take it on themselves for one to do something with him every week or so, that would allow each one to commit one afternoon, evening or time on a weekend once every 2-3 month taking him to spend time with him, just for a walk, fishing, some kind of sport, etc. That way no one takes away from their family, and might even be someone with a son about his age, and include him on one event every little bit. Blessings to you. I have not lost a spouse, but have two friends who lost their spouse suddenly in the last year, and came across your blog (I would say by accident but we both know God planned it) by God’s grace.

  • Reply Dorothy J Wright September 12, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    I so feel for you! Even though my two children and 48 and 47 I still feel the need to help them grieve. I think that you might find help in the Church environment since BB&BS are overworked. I mentor with them and it is hard to find the info that I need for my Little.. I need a lot of he[p myself! I’m sure you feel that at this time also. I can only imagine what it would be like to be left alone with young children so I don’t presume to know what to do. My bible study last night was on Worry and it was amazing what people worry about. Give it up to God and it will be okay? I don’t think so today but maybe tomorrow.

  • Reply Dorothy J Wright September 12, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    Also, I want to say that this is my favorite blog. It hits home so much even at my age. I miss my husband and the touching and physical contact so I know that you feel that also. I have nights that I just sit and don’t do a thing to contact people and other nights that i spend the night on the phone. Please keep the faith and it will help you with you son.

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