I’ve had "Cancel WIX" on our to-do list for 2 months. I keep telling Mike, Please cancel my blog. Get a refund. I'm not cut out for being a writer, but he never seems to check off that box.
Today Ella and I went to a MOPS group at church. We've been to story- time at the public library a few times and are trying to do "normal" things to feel "normal" again.
Writing was a "normal-ish" part of my life in Kentucky, so maybe I need it here in Georgia too. Maybe not. I love to write, I hate sharing the writing. I should be free to write, but honestly, I worry far to much about stepping on someone's toes, unintentionally hurting someone's feelings, sounding too prideful or too pitiful. I am 100% certain I am not qualified for the task. I way overthink it, and worry that it's a poor use of my time.
But here I am, so let's do it.
Our sermon last weekend was on forgiveness. We watched clips from the movie Unbroken, which I honestly hated. My heart is way too tender for movies like that, but I have been thinking a TON about forgiveness.
In the book of Matthew, it says, to the extent that we forgive others, we will also be forgiven. I want 100% forgiveness for my sins, so I think that means I need to forgive 100%. But how do you forgive others?
It's not fast. It's not easy. It's the exact OPPOSITE of what our flesh "natural instinct" wants us to do. I don't know why, but most of us are wired to want to hold on to anger. To be bitter. We want justice. We want other people to pay for their sin. Their actions.
If we aren't careful, and intentional, we can let it kill us. It can rob all of our joy. Steal all of time and energy. We can let it ruin relationships that have nothing to do with it. Have you ever been mad at your spouse and snapped at your kids? See what I mean? Me, too.
This is how I forgive. I think of how I have been offended, and then I can almost always quickly recall a memory of a time or a zillion times "I" have been the offender. It's the Holy Spirit saying, "Girl, I know you are mad at so and so for such and such, but you've done the EXACT same sister." And I'm like, "Oh yeah, thanks for the reminder." It's humbling.
For example, one of my kiddos will say something mean or hurtful to one of my other kids out of anger and it makes me fuming mad. It doesn't take long for the Holy Spirit to nudge me and say, "You do that too. You speak harshly out of anger even when you know the Bible says, Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. If you type, "What does the bible say about anger? in your search engine, a ton of verses will come up. As much as I pray, "God, PLEASE let me be GENTLE, KIND, and PATIENT today, I am SO guilty of letting a certain 3 old and her temper tantrums bring out ALL the anger in me! If it's not her, it's one of her siblings and sometime Mike gets the fiery side of me. If you are living with breathing, walking, talking humans, chances are they are ruffling your feathers in one way or another.
So when my kids are angry, I must remember my own anger.
When they are prideful, I remember my own pride.
When they are unloving, I think of when I chose not to love well.
When they are ungrateful, I think back to my own ungratefulness.
When they are selfish, I can easily remember when I didn't want to share.
When they are rude and self-centered, I think of my own rude, self-centeredness.
When they are lazy, I remember the times I have cut corners.
When they gossip, I think of my own gossiping mouth.
When they lie, I remember my lies.
When they are jealous, I can remember my own jealousy.
When they are impatient with each other, I remember how I've been impatient with them.
When they use potty language, I know they heard it from me. #thesadtruth
I know when they wallow in pity instead of gratitude, I've done the same.
When I consider my own sin, and my desire for forgiveness, I can "usually" quickly forgive others. Sometimes it takes me a minute. Or ten. Sometimes much much much longer. But the Holy Spirit ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS nudges me with a gentle reminder that either I've done the same thing or something equally as damaging.
I am usually quick to point our kiddos to the truth. To a better way. If I cook them scrambled eggs for breakfast and they don't say thank you, I feel angered by their ungratefulness, and then I remember my own ungratefulness, and say, "Don't forget to say "Thank You." Or “thanks mom!” And usually they’ll repeat it. I don’t need praise for making my kiddies eggs, but i need them to remember gratitude for who/what they have. Sometimes I’m more gentle about it than others, if I'm honest.
We are constantly redirecting them to gratitude, gentleness, patience, truth, humility, kindness, generosity, and love, but it's a lot easier when we think of our own flaws in each of these areas.
If I can humble myself and remember my very own need for love and forgiveness, I can love and forgive others easier.
The burden of not forgiving robs us of our joy. It's a boulder that we carry that needs to be released. Sat down. The greatest gift you can give yourself is to say to some else, "I forgive you." or better yet, "I am so sorry."
Giving and getting forgiveness seems like a daily, sometimes hourly, minute-by-minute choice in our house. We can honestly drive each other crazy at times. We have ample opportunities to say Sorry with our words. We say it with our actions. "I'm sorry. I was wrong. I know I hurt you. I know I hurt your feelings. I should not have. AND I forgive you. I love you EVEN WHEN YOU ___________. Nothing you can do will change my love for you. I give you grace. I love you more than I love the thing that you broke or the calendar that I worked so hard to make that you scribbled all over. (True story!)
We are going to get angry. We are likely to sin in our anger. But we can pick ourselves up. We can ask for forgiveness. We can pick other's up instead of holding them down into a pit. We can remember that we are not perfect on this side of Heaven and forgive ourselves. We can grant forgiveness to others when we remember that we are sinners too!
I promise you that by the end of this day, someone, probably someone in your home, probably (you!) are going to need forgiveness. Give it freely. Give it like you want it given to you. Teach it to your kids. The BEST BEST BEST gift you can give them is teach them to forgive others. Just think of how much less stressful, burdened, easy, freer their lives will be if they are taught to let go. To forgive themselves. To forgive others. To use your own flaws, mistakes, and short-comings to help you understand how and why other people could make the choices they make.
I want you to have JOY in the Chaos of your home. I know that choosing forgiveness will increase your JOY!
***** And this is why I worry.... I am talking day-to-day annoyances. I don't want to be insensitive to anyone who has suffered from trauma or abuse or abandonment. I'm NO expert on any of those areas and don't want to even kind of claim to be. I would say if that is you, talk to someone safe. Bring it out into the light. Never ever ever carry a burden like that on your own. Let other people help you carry it until you are ready to release it.
****** sometimes it’s okay to take a break!!! When your people are driving you nuts, if you can, step out. Get fresh air. Go for a walk. Allow yourself some distance. Sometimes at night I’ll say, Mike! You’ve got to take over on this one! I’ve forgiven all I can forgive today.
Know your limits!
I love you guys! Thank you for reading.