Friday, June 7, 2013

Stewing and Fretting

I’m a teacher, so I have June and July off.  That could be either a blessing or a curse, depending on my frame of mind.  I am glad to be relieved of the pressure of meeting curriculum guidelines and the new Common Core Standards, but I tend to obsess about things when my mind isn’t occupied. It was the last week of our school year when I heard that my son had relapsed and been arrested again. I love teaching, but the end of the school year is one of the most stressful times of the year for most teachers, with the pressures of completing assessments and report cards, end-of-the-year paperwork and duties, and kids that really just want to be outside having fun instead of sitting in a classroom, it’s just pretty hectic.  I’m sure the only way I made it through that week with even a thread of sanity left was through the grace of God. 

The light at the end of the tunnel after the last few stressful weeks is that I get two months off to relax, sleep in a little, and refresh my mind.  Here’s the really crazy part.  Have I been relaxing and enjoying my time off so far?  Well, not so much really.  Instead I find myself obsessing over my son’s relapse and it’s consequences.  The simplest thing can trigger my obsessive thoughts, a song or a band we both liked, a Bible verse we talked about, a man wearing the exact same shirt that I bought my son for Christmas. The insanity of these thoughts that keep invading my peace is that there isn’t a single thing I can do about my son’s dilemma. I can be there for him emotionally to encourage him and pray for him, but the decision of the judicial system is out of my hands.  What’s done is done.  However, my mind doesn’t take kindly to powerlessness, so it fights back.  I’ve been praying that the Lord help me stop thinking I’m in control, leave my worries with Him, and surrender my son completely into His loving arms.  The only time I find true peace is when I can accept the situation, and trust that the Lord will bring good out of what was meant for harm. The Lord is good and is leading me inch by inch to surrender.  He keeps leading me to scriptures that speak of the futility of worry, and how He wants us to live peaceful, joyful lives.  So, I read them, and I meditate on them, and each time I do, a little bit more of His wisdom and strength seep into my thick skull.  I know He’ll be patient with me until I get where He wants me to be.

My mom calls my tendency to worry “stewing and fretting.”  So aside from praying a lot and reading scripture I’m trying to keep my mind occupied.  I’ve been organizing closets, cleaning out junk drawers, and reading a mind-challenging novel.  Something else that is helping, as I’ve mentioned before, is when I slow my thoughts down long enough to find things to be thankful for.  In the midst of this storm, I still have much to be grateful for.  My gratitude list for today:
  • ·       God’s unending grace, mercy and forgiveness for my human weakness and tendency to “stew and fret”
  • ·       My health
  • ·       My son is alive, I know where he is, and he’s in recovery (even if it’s forced, it’s still recovery)
  • ·       My supportive husband who has patiently put up with my recent mood swings.  Really, he’s practically a saint.
  • ·       My daughters, who love the Lord, and are beautiful inside and out
  • ·       My Alanon group who help me keep things in perspective and give me hugs
  • ·       My fellow POA bloggers, who understand, and whose insight and wisdom give me great comfort
  • ·       Having the time to sit on the deck in the mornings, drink my coffee, listen to the wind whisper through the trees, and the birds sing their morning “cheer up” songs to me

I found this the other day, and it’s definitely food for thought.  I have my work cut out for me as far as doing everything on this list, but progress not perfection, right?


  1. A fellow POA emailed me recently and mentioned, ever gently, that it seemed I was doing an awful lot of thinking lately. In her subtle way, she made me realize how obsessive I was being. It's so hard not to constantly be dwelling on this "stuff"...but really, what good does it ever do. I have days where I can throw up my hands and say "here God, just take it" and other days where I'm wrestling to take it back because I must know better than God, lol. It's exhausting!

    I mentioned on another blog that I try to do something everyday that takes my mind off my troubles. Sometimes I bake, plant flowers, grab a Starbucks and take a drive. Today, I'm making a meal for a friend's mother who is in the final stages of brain cancer. It's these precious moments, that I'm learning to take, that help center me when I start to feel off kilter and out of whack.

    I'm continuing to pray for you and your son. He's alive and he's safe...hang on to that, okay?

    Hugs to you,


    1. Me too, Summer. I keep handing him over to the Lord, and then taking him back. If I can just remember that we're talking about God here, the guy who created the universe- I'm pretty sure he can handle our problems. The hard part is just getting out of the way and letting him, and then staying out of it. It's a process, and you're right it is so incredibly exhausting.
      Like you, I'm finding that helping others is a great way to take my mind off of myself and my son. I'm helping deliver Meals on Wheels to the elderly and volunteering with some church projects too. I'm glad you're able to help your friend's mother, you'll be so glad that you did. Thank you for your prayers. Blessings, and peace be with you.

  2. That's an impressive list of things to be thankful for. You're blessed in many many ways. It's hard not to focus on the negative things, but you have so many positives.
    I know - easier said than done. You have a great mind -set though. Just making the list shows you're really trying to focus on the positive. And keeping busy and productive helps a lot too.
    I love the 15 things we should give up to be happy. I need to work on all of them, especially #4.
    Keep your chin up. Keep praying, keep encouraging. It's going to be ok.

    1. Thank you for the encouragement. I really do have much to be thankful for. When I look around, it never takes long to find somebody who has more pain and difficulties to face than I do. I just need to be careful not to get caught up in my own little world, because that's when I cause myself more suffering.

      That small phrase you wrote, "It's going to be ok" has great power. For some reason it almost always makes me feel better. You said just the right thing. Blessings and peace to you.