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Forgiveness- a key ingredient for a joyful home

January 29, 2018

I have been dying for a new puzzle to work for-ev-er!   With four kids, a lot of my "wants" get put on the back burner.  Anywho, a very sweet friend loaned me this 1,000 piece puzzle that was just beautiful.  I was so excited about working it with my girls.   The only problem was, I have two toddlers in the house.  Toddlers and puzzles...not the best idea!  I sounded something like this, "MOVE AWAY FROM THE PUZZLE!  No! No! Hands off!  Back away guys.  Go and play with your toys.  This is a grown-up thing."


Lukey was not impressed!  Maybe a tad jealous that we were all having fun and he and Ella were feeling a little left out.  


So I was working the puzzle with my sister and our girls and one of their friends.  One particular section of the puzzle looked IMPOSSIBLE, but Lilly's friend persevered and got that section done right before dinner.  


As we were cleaning up the dinner mess, I saw Lukey in the dining room and I quickly shoo-ed him away, but then realized it was too late. He claimed  that he was just "helping to clean up" but I think it could have been, let me break this puzzle apart that is keeping my mommy's attention from me.  


The IMPOSSIBLE section had been pulled apart.  And you would have thought someone set the house on fire by my reaction.  A burst of anger came over me like nobodies business.  I was so stinking mad!!!!  


"How could you do that?  I have told you and told you to stay away!  What were you thinking???  Don't you ever do that again.  Do you know how hard our friend worked to get that puzzle together?!?!"


It's embarrassing how much I lost it with him when we claim, "In our house, people are much more important than things."  If that is one of our family mottos, nothing about my actions showed that I really believe it.  


He was sent to his room and disciplined for his actions.  I calmed down and we got the puzzle back together.  When he came back downstairs, I hugged him and kissed him and told him he was forgiven and that I knew he wouldn't rip anymore puzzles apart while people were working on them.  For me, it was done.  Over with.  


But not the sisters.  They had been promised a trip to DQ with their aunt, and when it was time to go, they both were, "he should NOT get to go.  Make him stay home.  He ripped our puzzle apart.  He undid all of our work.  He doesn't deserve to go."


A great reminder to me that we still have a lot to learn about forgiveness in our house.  About letting go of our anger and putting people over things.  About recognizing that we are each full of sin and mistakes and that we want to be forgiven.  It's so easy to want to hold other people down for the mistakes and "Make them pay," but do we really want the same for ourselves?   Of course not!


"Girls, I know you are angry with him, but he gets to go.  He had his consequence.  He's said he is sorry, and now we get to "choose" to move on.   Let's all choose to forgive him and we can go and enjoy ice cream together. " 


As momma's how do we know when to be over it?  To let them go for the ice cream, or not? I'm trying to be more calm in my discipline.  To think before I shell out consequences. Sometimes that means we have to say, Go to your room while we decide on your consequence.  Take a bunch of deep breathes and decide on a something that matches the "crime" and that you can really live with and feel like your are being "just" when following through with it.   Once you say, "If you don't eat your dinner, you can't go to the school skating party, you've gotta stick to it, no matter how bad it breaks your heart to leave a child bawling at home. (Don't ask me how I know!) 


Once you decide what a reasonable consequence is, and you make it happen, don't forget to have a discussion that says, "You are forgiven.  Your slate is clean.  You are loved even when you make a mistake.  I have been in your shoes.  I have made the exact same mistake, or one that is similar.  I trust that you won't make that same mistake again.   Next time, I know that I can trust you to do _______ instead."  You can give hugs or kisses, whatever the age, stage, kiddo is comfortable with.  But don't forget the last step.  


Forgiveness in big things and little things is so important to have a joyful home.  Forgiveness for the offenders, and forgiveness for yourself when you act like a crazy person over a puzzle!  Sometimes I have to say to my kiddos, "I let my anger get the best of me.  I'm so sorry.  Please forgive me." It may sound silly to ask a child for forgiveness, but it could be the BEST gift you ever give them.  The gift of "humbleness" will give them LIFE! Teach them to restore relationships.  To overcome shame.  To live a more peaceful life.  The more you model it, the more it will sink in, and hopefully they'll learn to be humble in their own lives.  


Even when we are long gone and our time here on earth is over, our children and grandchildren will still carry our voices around with them wherever they go.  Our words are POWERFUL.  Make them count.  Make sure that they convey a message of LOVE and FORGIVENESS. EVEN when we make mistakes.  




If you'd like to read more about this, Elizabeth George wrote a great book called, A Mom After God's Own Heart.  She talks a lot about forgiveness and how to forgive.  Angela Thomas has great books about this as well. I LOVE when people share their stories.  I think it is so powerful to humble ourselves and admit our mistakes. I love to take God's words and try to apply them to my own motherhood.  Hopefully my silly puzzle story will inspire you to extend forgiveness and to teach your kids to extend forgiveness in such a way that your home feels like a safe place to make mistakes even if your mom is a recovering perfectionist. 




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