As I sit here in front of my computer attempting to narrow down what I want to write, my mind is spinning. These delicious Muddy Buddies next to me are disappearing quickly and my thoughts are an unorganized mess. I have a dog at my side, a cat at my feet, and another cat being chased down the stairs by a pregnant teen because he stole her hair tie.
Everyday is an adventure and I have learned to expect the unexpected.
Though the adrenaline rush of my ever-changing life usually excites me, I have found myself very distracted lately. Through a culmination of heartache and challenge over the past few months in many facets of my life, I feel as though I have lost my sense of direction. Everyday I am harboring an immense amount of guilt and distress that I just can’t seem to shake.
It’s not unusual for me to be hard on myself or to second-guess my decisions, but lately it has escalated to a point where I am just not myself. I am quick to forgive my foster children when they make mistakes and remind them that even good people make bad choices; but I can’t seem to offer myself that same mercy.
When I try to understand why that might be, there’s only one explanation I can come up with: I don’t feel like I deserve forgiveness.
The children that I encounter through foster care have been through more trauma, grief, and pain than I can fathom. I am so impressed by their resilience and strength, that I often use that to excuse them from mistakes. In fact, I do the same thing with adults in my life. The more difficult their past, the more apt I am to forgive; despite how that might adversely affect me.
But when it comes to me and my past, I don’t feel like I have a crutch for poor choices. I can’t justify any of my mistakes because I’ve never been through anything that bad.
However, during a clarifying weekend to myself where I spent time reflecting, evaluating, and understanding, I realized that I don’t need a crutch. I can validate the difficulties I have been through, but I don’t need to use those troubles as excuses for my actions.
I am human. I am going to make mistakes. When that happens, as it inevitably will, I have to forgive myself; that is the only way for me to overcome these faults and mature from them.
When I redirect my focus towards how I can improve in the future versus continually beating myself up over my past, I can move forward and fulfill my purpose. And right now, my purpose is to care for a beautiful little boy and a wonderful teenage girl who desperately need my support and attention. I’m not going to be selfish and let my self-doubt hold me back from being the rock that they need. I am strong enough to overcome this because of the inspiration they give me.
I’m asking for forgiveness, from others and myself, for the mistakes that haunt me and I am turning my guilt into more gratitude for the blessings in my life.