When You've Hit Your Limit
“I just don’t think I can do it anymore.”
I whispered to my husband Kyle over our kitchen sink as my hands scrubbed supper dishes left too long in a dirty sink.
We’d been foster parents for our local county for a little over five years and spent much of that time fostering kids and accepting the praises of others for all the work we’d done. And work we had. Most of the time I enjoyed what we did, there were moments of hard, but overall I felt a sense of accomplishment over helping kids through traumatic circumstances.
But this fall felt different. I was tired. Too often at the end of what I knew I could handle. I was angry more often than I cared to admit, and found I didn’t even like myself all that much anymore.
I knew I was at a breaking point when we’d agreed to take another sibling group in to our home and that night I tossed and turned, unable to sleep, as tears slipped down my cheeks.
The next morning, my husband looked at me, concern in his eyes and said, “I’m calling the social worker, we can’t do this right now.” I nodded agreement. Too ashamed to give words to the moment, engulfed with the feelings of shame that I’d somehow failed.
As I spoke to a good friend later that morning she reminded me gently: “Sometimes we’re meant to act and help, and sometimes we’re meant to support others through prayer. It is not a failure if you are unable to do it anymore, it simply means you are human.”
Her words, along with my husbands concern, were what led to my admission that night at the kitchen sink. I was done. I had hit my limit.
The next week, after many discussions, we made the painful decision to stop being foster parents for our county. And although I knew I needed to do this, for my own sanity and to focus on the four kids in our home, I still felt a bit like a failure. Like I quit because I just couldn’t quite handle it. And the lie that I was weak whispered across my soul.
As life continued to go by, and the days turned to months and now years, my view of that experience has somewhat shifted over time. My ability to accept that I am human and have limits is freeing me from a once perfectionistic, I-can-do-anything-without-little-help attitude. It’s allowing me to love myself and the people around me easier than before.
I am finally coming to fully understand and embrace the idea that I don’t need to be a superhuman, and neither do you. I now find myself turning to God more quickly, understanding so much more my desperate need for him to fill in my gaps. Unashamed of what I once thought was weakness in me because I have relationship with a God who fills every gaping hole.
And because of it, I readily acknowledge my own weaknesses and limits, realizing it’s often in the middle of them that I find my strength. My God. My Savior.
For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10