Monday, May 17, 2010

Living on Your Knees Part 2 -- Grace Under Fire

I wrote yesterday about Marianne Williamson’s lesson about living life on her knees. My fourth child, my foster daughter Grace, taught me once again that life on my knees is life lifted up.

Grace joined our family when she was 14. She was beautiful and funny and good hearted, but she was in foster care for a reason which meant that she had “issues.” I called Grace my alpha child because she was used to being in charge. Although she was not the oldest, she was the most forceful, and she quickly dominated the others. I was often saying, “Grace, that is not your job. I am the only parent in this house.”

I have written before about Grace’s conflict with Mia (Kindness Pays). I would now like to share my own inner struggle.

I believed that with a safe and stable home, Grace would flourish. I believed that she would be integrated into the family. What I really believed was that I could make all this happen. By using excellent parenting methods. By sheer force and consistency of will. By unconditional love. Any experienced social worker is laughing out loud by now.

Grace had her own spiritual agenda in coming here. The details are her own private story. But I realized over the years that Grace lived with us that I could not control how this story played out. If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you must be wondering why I still thought I had any control. I could not fix James’s autism (Who Knows if it is Good or Bad?). Mia was beyond programing (Man Plans God Laughs). And Dan was... Dan (Game Change). But I am a stubborn and determined problem solver, and I still clung to the belief that I could control my world.

Grace was a one person 12 Step program. I finally had to admit that I was powerless and that my life had become unmanageable. I made a decision to turn my life over to my higher power. “Please take it!” I sank to my knees in surrender and stayed there.

Miracles happen when you are not in control. Grace left our home and I had to let her go. But she came back. She is a loved and loving part of the family. And while I am certainly happy for us, I am especially pleased for her. Seeing her healthy and happy is truly a miracle. All I really had to do was get out of God’s way. As a friend of mine often says, “Thank God I’m not in control of my life!”

On my knees. In gratitude.

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