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I’m a mother of six. Some are biological, and some are adopted. I homeschool most of them. I’m a “trauma momma” with my own mental health struggles. My husband and I together are raising children who have their own mental illnesses and special needs. Not all of them, but many of them. I battle thoughts of anxiety and OCD daily. I exercise, eat decently, take meds and supplements, yet I still have to go to battle.

The new year has started slow and steady. Our younger kids who are going to public school are doing great in their classes and getting a lot of their needs met through special programming. The kids here are doing wonderful in their second semester.

Yesterday, though . . . yesterday was a different story. One of my most mentally healthy, stable kids made a destructive decision that was hard on this momma’s heart. We got through it. I held her, we prayed together. I didn’t lend her one moment of shame. She was hurting, and my husband and I sat with her in it.

After some time, she became her normal bubbly self. She’s a bounce-back kid. She doesn’t carry things long, and I’m so grateful for that.

RELATED: Hug Them Anyway: 6 Tips For Connecting with Your Teens

Near the end of the day, God gave me an idea. I sat down and wrote out big, negative, overwhelming feelings we feel in our home. I also wrote down healthy and unhealthy ways we can deal with those big feelings.

Some of the unhealthy ways included hurting others, hurting ourselves, screaming that is disruptive, over-cooperating (fawning) out of anxiety or pride, calling others names, etc.

Some of the healthy ways included screaming into a pillow, journaling, writing a note, or calmly talking to Mom and Dad, praying, throwing or squeezing something soft, deep breaths, going on a bike ride, etc.

We had a meeting and the kids helped me come up with the list. We talked, once again, about how their feelings were important and that we were always here for support. We took the list and put it on our wall.

In big families, especially families with trauma who are inherently close, overwhelming feelings can be picked up quickly. Not to mention how one person’s overwhelm spills over quite regularly onto someone else.

This is what happened with our precious child yesterday. She already had her own big feelings, and then the loudness, disrespect, and attention-seeking of others pushed her over the edge. I praise God she’s okay, but I do believe these are the wake-up calls He puts in our lives to which we must pay close attention.

RELATED: Our Teens Need Jesus and We Can Show Him to Them

Even as adults, we feel big things and those things pour over onto our kids. Last night, after everything simmered down, I wrote my husband a list and announced to the kids, “Your dad is supporting me in giving me the rest of the night to myself. I’m going to do some work in my bed, journal, read a little, and go to bed early. This is what I’m doing with my overwhelming feelings tonight, so they don’t spill out onto anyone tomorrow.”

A little later, my precious child climbed into bed with me (I secretly told her she could after such a rough day). It was such a peaceful night, which has led to a very peaceful school day. There is grace in overwhelming feelings. There are mighty lessons learned. All we have to do is seize the opportunities.

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So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Crystal Fulmer

I am a mother of three biological children and an adopted sibling set of three, a homeschooler, a pastor's wife, a former teacher, and a group-home houseparent. I am a trauma and mental illness survivor. I love to write for encouragement, and I've been finally been convinced to write and publish a book, The Grace of Getting Up, now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble online, and Westbow Press online bookstore. Please join me on this journey on FB or insta @thegraceofgettingup.

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