Stress is a funny thing. You don’t always know you’re feeling it until it’s more than you can take. It’s all around us, there’s no way to avoid it entirely, and even if you could you wouldn’t necessarily want to because it’s often caused by good things like laughing children and fun evenings with friends.
Two and a half years ago stress dealt me a blow I’ll never forget. Too many years of overextending myself resulted in serious burnout and the unpleasant symptoms that go along with it, like panic attacks and general anxiety. Over the course of the following months I made serious efforts to reduce the stress in my life, and those changes played a major role in my healing.
And then we decided to adopt. In light of my recent struggles, I was afraid of introducing the stress of adoption into the mix. It took a lot of prayer and discussion to convince me to take that leap of faith, and in His faithfulness God has provided me with every bit of emotional stamina I’ve needed since the day we signed our adoption application.
That doesn’t mean it’s been easy. I praise God for sustaining me, but it would be dishonest to say He’s enabled me to soar like the eagle every step of the journey. I’ve done a lot more walking (or crawling) than flying.
Waiting has become a second skin, but no matter how thoroughly it envelopes me or how familiar it feels, the fit will never be comfortable. Sometimes the weight is unbearable. Other times I barely notice it, but even then, under the radar, it slowly saps my strength and transmits that dim but steady hum of stress.
I am so weary tonight. The best words I know to describe this sensation are Bilbo Baggins’ in The Fellowship of the Rings. “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter, scraped over too much bread.”
My heart is divided. I long for deliverance, but I also long for what I know to be far better – whatever God has planned. Perhaps this is why He lets the stretching continue. Perhaps it’s the surest path to true submission.