I have been putting off typing this post for months. I think because it’s a lesson I have to relearn every single day. I’ve procrastinated long enough and tried to get this topic off of my mind but it’s eating away at me. WRITE ME, it yells. I have a slight pit in my stomach as I think of what I want to get out and say but I know that God is prompting me to say it because someone is going to read this and (hopefully if I don’t mess it up!) understand God’s love and forgiveness through it.
(Conveniently my mother-in-law just came home with the twins from a trip to the grocery store. I get to put this off for another couple of hours…) ((Aaaand back. Most of the kids are napping so I guess I’ll write this out now. ))
My kids forgive me wholeheartedly multiple times a day. I fail them over and over again and they keep on forgiving me and show me how to love. It’s amazing. I get frustrated and yell, I lose patience and wave them away, I’m in a hurry and rush them, I want to finally be alone so I push up their bed time, I feel lonely and I blame them. Does anything this sound familiar to other moms out there? Sometimes I feel like I’m so far from being the mom I want to be. I try and remember that we don’t have to be perfect people and cut myself some slack but it’s really the hurt in my kids’ eyes that make me want to be the version of perfect they need and want me to be.
When I mess up my kids are right there ready to forgive with their gentle little hearts and sweet smiles. I can’t shake the feeling that it’s exactly how God wants us to forgive those that hurt us. As adults we (I?) become hard-hearted and cynical. We’ve lived, we’ve felt pain, we’ve had troubles. But that shouldn’t hold us back from feeling the freedom that comes from forgiveness.
Holding on to anger will only hurt you and feed a cycle of self-pity, rage and blame. What a different thing it would be to raise kids if they didn’t forgive so graciously! I know I talk about my hardships when it comes to raising 4 littles a lot, but they bring me so much joy and happiness. Would that still be the case if they couldn’t forgive me for my mess-ups? I believe that God places His spirit of forgiveness on our children to be examples.
They wake up happy to see me, a fresh start. They understand the true meaning behind forgive and forget. They don’t bring up the past, they are excited for the possibilities this new day holds. I wish I could forgive the way they do. Sometimes I think I’ve forgiven people for past hurts but then I realize I’m still holding on to that one argument. Feelings of “I know I’m right” or “If he/she could just own up and apologize”. It’s in those moments that I know I haven’t forgiven.
I’m not saying that we can treat our kids without respect and it won’t matter because they’ll forgive us anyway, but we need to seek their forgiveness. When my kids act out and hurt one of their siblings, or are disrespectful to me or another adult, I make sure they apologize, hugs and kisses included! Being a positive example to my kids is so important to me. I realize that they want to be like me and repeat things I say or do. When I know I’ve messed up I ask them to forgive me just as I ask of them to do when they mess up. They start to understand that they have to take responsibility for their actions or hurtful words.
But more importantly than all of this is that if we forgive then God will also forgive us. The heavy burdens we carry will be lifted! Knowing that someone has wronged you but you see them as the wonderful people God made anyway? Accepting that God loves them? That takes a humble heart, something I’m striving for every day. I’m thankful that God placed these kids in my life, He chose me to be their mother because He knew I’d need their example to draw me closer to Him.
Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.