Karyn Purvis is amazing and I learned so much from her, but when I tried to do what she did it was falling flat. I learned all her phrases and I now say them as if they were mine.
"Let's try that again with respect."
But something wasn't clicking for me. I felt impoverished and frustrated.
I was scheduled to speak for a women's retreat and our theme was "Flourish", a theme I helped pick out. In the back of my head, a voice kept telling me I couldn't speak on flourishing when I wasn't flourishing. The more the voice spoke, the more I started to fall apart. But I kept studying, because no matter how desperately I was falling apart I was determined to speak.
One day as I studied Psalm 92, I saw it clear as day. I saw the fault in my thinking, at least one my faults.
The question then became, why do we flourish like a palm tree? Palm Trees were considered the most useful trees of the ancient world, they provided materials, to build homes, make rope, feed cattle, and their fruit feed humans. They can bend and sway in a storm without coming down. I am supposed to be flourishing like this tree, bending and swaying in the storm without falling apart. It is also the storm that causes them to flourish, it is the storm that strengthens their trunk. It is my storm that is causing me to flourish. It is parenting kids from hard places that is causing me to flourish.
To care for kids from hard places and flourish we must engage in soul-care.
When Beth Guckenberger is speaking about caring for kids from hard places, she says things like, "There is not enough Diet Coke in the world for me to like you past noon."
Can I get an AMEN??? For me there is not enough coffee in the world to make it to bedtime without tripping a trigger.
We need SOUL-CARE to get us from morning to bedtime.
I have watched mamas and daddys and siblings and teachers do this journey and come out the other side joyful and I have watched some come out of it devastatingly bitter. Let's not be the bitter ones, let's be the joyful ones.
Cristine's Guide to SOUL-CARE:
1. You are a SOUL and you must commune with the one who made your soul.
You must pray and meditate and read the Bible and create sacred space in your heart.... if you want to change your mind-set, if you want to be joyful, if you do not want to grow bitter. I know its hard. I know everyone wants a piece of you. I know there are a thousand reasons why you don't do this, but can I suggest that you don't do it because it is vulnerable and painful. It is painful to lay out the hurt and frustration. It is painful to let go of your dreams and expectations. It is painful to say to God, "Whatever you will my story to be, I am okay with that."
2. You must create a SACRED SPACE.
A place to rest, a place to think, a place to feel, a place to be safe. Kids from hard places are notorious for crossing all our boundaries, manipulating us and taking away our safe spaces. What if you had a space that for a designated period of time was just yours to be safe and vulnerable, a place to think and feel and ponder? This summer that space for me was on the porch before anyone else opened their eyes. Now it is in front of our little, space heater that looks like a fireplace. I pretend it is a fireplace, I pretend I'm in the mountains and I make that space sacred.
3. You must offer yourself GRACE.
You have to have grace with yourself when it comes to soul-care. I do NOT make it every morning, some mornings I have early meetings and sometimes I have late nights and early mornings are not a good idea. The goal is not perfection, the goal is soul-care and inflicting shame on myself is the opposite of soul-care.
You also MUST have grace with yourself as you deal with your kids. There are hard moments and most of the time there doesn't seem to be a perfect solution. I had one of these moments this morning. As I was reflecting on this interaction, I realized that my response was probably not the best solution. It was a solution and it wasn't a bad one, but there were definitely better ways to handle it. I chose grace and then I chose practice. I replayed the scenario and I practiced doing it better. I practiced having more empathy (which we'll talk about down the road in another post) and redirecting and choosing my words more carefully. And I practiced GRACE.
4. You must have FRIENDS.
Friendships are a big part of soul-care. As souls, we were made to be in communion with other souls. I love deep conversations over coffee, long walks, learning new things and moments of hilarity. All of these things bring life to my soul. The best friendships not only encourage me, but challenge me. It's in these friendships that I have gained the courage to face another hard day and found new wisdom for the hard places. You must find a friend you can laugh with, because laughter is good medicine. It is as important as finding a friend you can cry with.
5. You must take care of your BODY
There is not enough coffee for me to like my kids at the end of the day. There is also not enough coffee to provide the energy my body needs. I'm a little like a plant, I need sunshine and exercise and lots of water. I have to have people around me that also value this, and I follow people on social media that remind me to drink more water and go to the gym and not to eat doughnuts on hard days (it's a thing).
6. You must do something you ENJOY
I set aside time everyday to read. Reading creates a space for me to slow down, engage with an idea and maybe relax a little bit. Quite honestly, it is a sacred space for me. It is where my ideas are stretched and my world is broadened. It is where I started to learn what it would be like to walk in my kid's shoes by understanding our cultural differences and how their background has changed the way their brain responds to the world.
There is no way to shift your mindset from "I'm going to fix this child" to "I CANNOT FIX THEM" without soul-care. Take some time to take care of your soul and next time we are going to jump into how to grow in empathy for your child.
1. Karyn Purvis is the BOMB. I still watch her, hoping someday to be as gentle as she is. She challenges my parenting and quite honestly, she nourishes my soul.
2. I mentioned a quote from Beth Guckenberger, check her out! She will challenge you to care for your soul :)
3. This podcast helps me rethink my perspectives and make the mind set changes I need to make. Honestly Adoption Podcast
4. If you want to hear more on flourishing, this is a video of my Mother's Day Message at SONrise, Flourish: Made to Be Flourishing