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Come to the well… (preparing to leave your families as you retreat)

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

I have never experienced fatique and the weight of burdens more in my life than after we brought home our newest son. Would he be okay? What would he be like in 10 or 20 years? Would he experience healing? Both physically…emotionally…mentally? Could I really do this??? Was I going to fail? What would the world think when I did? The unknowns compiled–and my shoulders would grow heavy…and again–I would come to the conclusion…that NO–*I* could NOT do this on my own. I truly needed His strength, power and miraculous life-giving transformation in EVERY area of this calling.

I realized that I probably wasn’t alone in my need to COME TO HIS WELL…daily, hourly…minute-by-minute. You have to help me Lord…my cry over and over again. There are times in our mommy lives–times in our new stages and callings where we not only are called away daily…but there are times where we need to come away to be refreshed, rested, restored…and retreat. As moms of new ones who have attachment issues and special needs–it can be especially hard for us to feel the FREEDOM to retreat. BUT–just as God is able to BE ENOUGH for us–God is also able to be enough for our husbands and children when we need to retreat and be refreshed…to do nothing other than come to HIS well.

As I write–I can’t help think about what Jesus had at stake when he retreated to be with the Father. By the world’s view, “Are you serious? RIGHT NOW Jesus??? You are just gonna scoot on to a quiet time and pray??? In my opinion Jesus–you should either be running for your life OR fighting back…fighting for us Lord. What in the world are you thinking?” I am sure many of you moms will be struggingly in a few weeks preparing to leave your family’s for the weekend to come to the Created for Care retreat—and maybe some of you are reading this months after it is written and you are struggling with a need to come to His well and feeling guilty for the need to get away. One, let me say this–guilt to come to retreat to be with the Lord is never from the Lord. Two, the Lord is able to be enough for your children and husband–and begin praying now that they, too, experience healing and restorement in miraculous ways as you come to Him to be restored. Three, the Lord desires for you to come to Him…come to His well–and be filled with more of Him…and for your children to see mommy doing this–is the greatest healing power of all.

I asked one of our speakers from the weekend for some insight on this as she retreats often to be with the Lord. She had adopted a handful of little ones–who are now big ones…but they came home as both children and teens. I consider her one of my adoption mommy mentors and I wanted a second voice from this godly momma to share with you all as you plan to come…a word from Beth Templeton about getting away during your first months or year/s home with a newly adopted child…

“I would say to these moms that in going to this retreat they are modeling something very important to their children and that even though, of course, their little ones don’t want them to go (a normal and healthy response of any child), their going will speak good things to each little one.

Firstly that mommies need God and sometimes do things especially just to be with Him. It is a good thing to go away to be with God and something that people who love God do. And also, the child will see that when mommy goes and when she/he feels so scared about that, it all turns out well because mommy comes back–despite the fears that she wouldn’t or that something bad might happen. The only way for a child, especially an adopted child, to know this for certain is to face the fears, feel the lack, and find out that all is well after all.

With the children old enough I would suggest that the mothers show them the website, tell them in simple terms about what she will learn, show them where on the map she will be, pictures of the hotel….. show them on the calendar when she will be home. Possibly make a special count down of some sort. Also, leave little notes (drawings for the child too young to read)/gifts for each day she is gone. If the child doesn’t already have one, a little photo album with pictures of the mom and the rest of the family together is a good idea–this visually establishes the sense of belonging and safety. For the babies I think talking to them about these things even though they won’t understand the words will make the mom feel better about leaving and will communicate something to the child beyond the words themselves.

I also met with and talked to an attachment therapist and asked on a personal level–what her thoughts were about me getting away. She affirmed that one of the best things we can do is teach our children HOW to take care of ourselves and specifically our spiritual and emotional health by retreating and taking time to rest. By modeling this–we are teaching our children HOW to care for themselves. If we are spent and drained–then we are teaching them that this is how you live and care for yourself.

I love how Dr. Karyn Purvis in “The Connected Child” writes about the need for adoption moms to REFILL their bucket. (Maybe I especially love this because one of the talks given by Dr.Susan Hillis at the retreat is about being “women of the well”!) Dr.Purvis shares how “many parents who come to [them] for help–come suffering from emotional and physical exhaustion. It’s as if their fuses are blown. Over time, coping with at-risk children has eroded their social support, familial support, and marital support systems. Everyone is tired and the resources are diminished, so the challenges seem greater…On a basic physiological level, parents need to replenish themselves. It’s essential for the entire family’s well being. Without refilling your own bucket, you can’t effectively offer healing to your children.” (p.230-231).

I love this picture of refilling your own bucket–and how amazing is it that the Lord pressed Psalm 84 on our hearts to over and over again press on these 250 adoption moms’ hearts?! Go read Psalm 84–in how the Lord wants us to live…AT HIS WELL…to go from SPRING TO SPRING…and WHERE does He want us to build our nests?? “near YOUR alter, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God” For many of us–we are just plain tired. If you are like me–you haven’t even been to Sunday school in 6 months because you last only through the announcements because you have a toddler on your hip you aren’t ready to leave in a nursery setting. YET–you feel the Lord saying…”Come away with me…I will give you rest.”

Truly–as Psalms 84 says, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere”. I believe God wants to do something SO BIG in the hearts and LIVES of the 250 women (253 to be exact…our cup overfloweth just a bit;) who are coming. I believe He wants to meet each of them in a REAL, PERSONAL way. I believe He wants to restore, heal, bring rest and to simply BE WITH EACH WOMAN during this retreat…with no distractions of Cheerios being poured on the floor or diapers being changed (lest I also remind you that this, TOO, is worship!)–but I believe He has called 253 women to be with Him in a new way–so He may change her. He may equip her. He may love her in a real…WOW…and “I have longed for this in my weakness” kind of way. SO…that He may use her EVEN MORE for His glory.

We are praying for each of you as you prepare to come. He who calls will always equip…and He is always waiting at the spring of life…to fill your cup and even let it overflow.

sara just - January 19, 2011 - 1:24 pm

your posts are always so encouraging! thank you so much for your research and heart! i am also checking because i ordered a t shirt i believe before xmas and haven’t received it yet and wondered if there was a mistake, i know that my card was charged though. thank you andrea. Very grateful, Sara

Jamie Gumieny-Fink - January 19, 2011 - 2:34 pm

Thank-you for sharing such a beautiful post… I am so glad to have stumbled upon your blog which is also beautiful! We have three littles (2 bios babes and 1 Ethiopian princess) and we are in the process of adopting again from ET… twins this time… I look forward to reading along on your blog!
Many Blessings,

Elle J - January 19, 2011 - 4:20 pm

Praying for you, and all those involved in the making of the retreat, as you prepare in these final weeks. =)

Kelly Johnson - January 19, 2011 - 10:54 pm

Oh this momma’s heart is just so excited!!! Can’t wait to “go to the well” and refill!!!

Kim - January 20, 2011 - 10:10 am

Another beautiful post.