I Have It All Together – NOT!

I grew in the 80’s and 90’s, and if you are around my age, you will remember when it was cool to say the opposite of what you meant and then add “NOT!” at the end.

“Yeah, you’ll win the game… NOT!” 

Yes. It was annoying then and it’s still pretty annoying now, but today it seems to sum up my thoughts about life.

I absolutely DO NOT have it all together.

At night, when I lie in bed thinking and praying over my day, sometimes I fall into the trap of comparing my life to the alternate one – you know, the one that only exists in my mind. Do you ever do that? Think things like these thoughts?

“If only I hadn’t made this choice, my life would better.”

“If this one thing hadn’t happened, how much easier my life would be.”

“Life would be perfect if only (fill in the blank).” 

For me, often my ‘one thing’ is our adoption. Don’t get me wrong! Little Man is precious, beloved, and a joy to my heart every day. I wouldn’t change his adoption even if I could, but that doesn’t stop me from comparing what I imagine my life would be like without the hardships brought about by purposefully allowing trauma and sadness and grief and fear into our everyday routines.

In my imaginary life, my house would always be clean and sparkling. I would have time to exercise every day. Our school days would be longer and more enjoyable, and I would have the time (and mental capacity) to gracefully guide my children through handmade Pinterest crafts and complicated science projects.I would have home-cooked meals on the table for all three meals and would never forget to provide at least two healthy, nutritious snacks to my children.

If you have read to this point, you are probably thinking “Is this woman crazy? Does she really think everyone’s else lives are actually what they appear to be on Facebook?”

And of course I don’t. I know as well you do that other people – whether they have adopted or not – struggle with the same things I have listed above. But somehow, in the dark of the night, that reality doesn’t occur to me.

All I can see are the hours I spend ministering to my beloved son, who hurts and fears and is anxious.

I see my failings.

My impatience.

My frustration.

My selfishness.

My cluelessness about how to reach my child’s heart. 

My house which I don’t have enough time or emotional energy left over to keep as clean as I would like. 

My stress eating. 

Then I compare my real life difficulties to my imaginary life, and it’s easy to get discouraged.

But  – always- God is good! He doesn’t leave me in despair. As I poured out my struggles and weakness to Him in prayer last night, He comforted my heart. Who was I focusing on in my thoughts?

Look at the pronouns I used – “I, me, my”. My focus was all on myself. But God turned it around.

Who has brought us through three years of growth and successes and triumphs? Who has brought us to the point where Little Man voluntarily says, “Mama, I love you”?

Where he comes over and gives me kisses and hugs and let me return them?

Where Little Man can tell me he is feeling scared because I am sick and can let me comfort him? 

God did.

When I was weak, God was strong.

When I was impatient, God nudged me with His patience.

When I was sapped out of all the love I had to give, God breathed His never-failing love through me into my son. How else could I be crying angry tears one minute and then the next look into my little one’s big brown eyes and say, “Come to Mama, Little Man,” when all I wanted to do was run away?

That is NOT me, folks. That is God.

And don’t get me wrong. I have run. I have yelled. I have sinned, but through it all, God is there.

Every minute. Every day.

What God called me to do He has enabled me to continue.

Honestly, without my adoption, I probably would look like I have it all together. My bio kids, by the grace of God, are pretty easy kids to raise. But if my life was coasting along, easy-peasy, I shudder to think where my soul would be. Most likely filled with the great sin of pride.

“Look at me! I’ve got this. I can do this all by myself.”

Thankfully, God spared me that temptation.

While I still struggle with pride, there is no possible way for me to think I can live my life without God. I need Him desperately, more every day. Each new moment where I once again reach the end of my rope, I am reminded of my utter dependence on Him.

And for that reason, I can say with gratitude:

I have it all together – NOT!”


* If this post blessed your heart, please consider sharing. There are many people hurting silently all around us, and we never know who may need encouragement. *


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