I think it's safe to say that we women are never real great at accepting flattering words. For instance, someone says we look beautiful, & our first response is to tell them just what flaw they are missing. I have definitely been guilty of this over the years, but I have tried to receive more graciously, especially from my husband so as not to send him to the funny farm.
However, there's still one statement from others that literally makes me squirm (it's usually said when people find out we've adopted & are about to adopt again)... "You're amazing!" While I know these words are usually meant with the best intent behind them (so please don't feel bad if you're reading this & you've said them to me before), my first inclination is to say, "No!!! You don't understand!!!! I'm really a mess. I've done some really dumb things, made bad decisions, I've failed motherhood on more than one occasion, I've been a crappy wife at times, I have a temper..." and on & on it goes.
Why such a sensitive reaction? I think it's because up until several years ago, I was actually seeking such a compliment. I was constantly striving for approval in the eyes of others, burning myself out doing "good things" to justify my existence. Yes, I had a bit of a complex about being "just a mom" with no higher education except from the school of hard knocks.
The things I was doing were all good, but they weren't necessarily things God had placed before me. So, basically, I was relying on myself to accomplish good things to gain the approval of others. People, I would seriously cram 101 complicated crafts (which meant endless hours of prep) into a week of vacation bible school for 3-yr-olds b/c I didn't want people to think I bombed as a teacher. Fact of the matter is, I don't even like to teach children. I like outreach geared towards adults. But I didn't want to ever say no. There came a point that I was completely burnt out.
Sadly, it took tragedy hitting very close to home to shake me up a bit. On a whim, we went to a different church one Sunday. I guess sometimes when the pain gets so bad, you can't sit still & need to change the scenery. We ended up going to an adult Sunday school class at the church we visited, & it was the beginning of the end of me. I will never forget the teacher talking about Christians being burnt out b/c they're so busy performing. And then he looked straight at me & said, "Have you ever felt like there's got to be more?' Yes, I lost it. Moving on....
Over the next couple of years, I began to discover that my life is not my own. God has a purpose for every life, but until I was willing to trust Him & learn to "hear" His voice, I was going to continue on the hamster wheel I had jumped on.
But God. He is ever so patient. I love the song, "Mighty to Save". Some of the lyrics say, "Take me as you find me, all my fears & failures, & fill my life again. I give my life to follow, everything I believe in, now I surrender." Gets me every time. He has done just that...Where I saw a mess, He saw hope. Where I saw a temper, He saw passion. Where I saw failures, He saw possibilities. And so the transformation began. And IT has been amazing.
I think sometimes people think adoption is what my testimony is about. Actually, it is a result of what God has done in my life. Maybe that's why when people tell me that I am amazing, I get all weirded out. I didn't do any of this myself. God began a work in me that gave me the courage to look upward & step outside the box I had created for myself. I can't do any of this in my own power. There are days I could almost freak myself out if I thought about it too much!!! But then I remind myself again that my life is not my own, & I trust the One in charge.
Interestingly enough, a few months ago, my oldest daughter was asked by the parent of one of her friends, "What are your parents trying to prove?" Once upon a time, I would have been all up in that lady's grill defending myself. But the funny thing was, I had this overwhelming peace because for the first time in my life,
I'm not trying to prove anything.