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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

An Object Lesson On Forgiveness

Yesterday was a bit of a fall apart day after a huge weekend and one week post surgery for Erika.  To say that I'm exhausted would be a bit of an understatement. :)
But, we press on!  Because that is what we moms do.

Well, It wasn't just Miss Alli's fall apart day, but it was mine too.  I'll start with her and then move on to me.

She was just being snippy during school, and struggling to remain in control.  It wound up being one of those, "You may not  talk LIKE that to mom. It is not ok, use your tools, and more sorta day." 

I asked her, "Alli, if you were a mama, what would you do with you?" (I could NEVER have asked this a year ago)
She said, of course, "I don't know!"  So I asked her to think about it. 
Our day went on and she finished all her school work, and then asked if she could go outside to play.
I told her, she could, AFTER she answered my question. 

(I had thought up this object lesson and wanted to use it to help her understand grace and mercy)

So she sat there for a minute, and wanting to go outside helped her come up with an answer.  It was also very telling for where she is in her heart, towards herself.

She blurted out.... "I would punish me by taking away computer for a year!"  Wow!
So, I said, "Is that what you think you deserve?"  She said yes.... and then added , "But I don't really care about computer."
So I  asked, "Is that all you think you deserve?"  She looked puzzled and thought about it.


"I think I shouldn't be allowed to go outside for a year!"   "Really?  Do you know how long a year is?"

I just wanted to make sure she understood how harsh she was being with herself.

She said she did.

And and then I said, "Ok, that will be fine." And I turned around to read something.  She was standing there in disbelief... She had just sentenced herself to a year of no going outside to play and a year without computer!   The reality started to sink in, and little tears started to flow.

I asked her what was the matter?

She said, "I like playing outside."  I said, "I know you do. I'm sorry you were so hard on yourself." "Just remember, Mama didn't give you that punishment, you gave it to yourself. "   I waited about another minute and she was still standing there feeling the weight of her impending doom.

And then, I turned to her and we talked about all of the things she knew and understood about the gospel.  How she knows that Jesus took the punishment for sin, and we do not have the penalty of sin, but walk in His Grace.
The next thing I said was, "In the same way that God forgives us, I am going to forgive you. Your punishment is gone, it is covered and is no more." 
Tears streamed down her face as she listened to me speak words of love to her.  I told her, to be very careful not to take advantage of the grace given to her, and to remember that even though we deserve punishment, God gives us grace and mercy, and mama is going to do the same thing. 

WOW...what a light bulb went off for her.  She could see things very clearly.  I could also see just how hard she is on herself.  She still bears deep shame and believes she is deserving of harsh treatment. :(    Was she trying to create a situation where she would get what she felt she deserved? Yes. Many kids do this very thing. 
It is hard not to fall into the "shame trap" that our kids can set up.... but oh so important not to.
HOWEVER... there is the human factor.

Our sweetie went outside and played and did really great after that..... and then MAMA Happened....

Did I say I was exhausted?  It doesn't matter. That is an excuse.  Last night right before bedtime, Daddy smelled fingernail polish remover coming from Sarah and Alli's room.  Sure enough, there was a mixing thing going on in there. Alli had mixed some things together to play and put it in a shampoo bottle of all things!    He brought it to my attention, and we both went in to inquire about what in the WORLD they were thinking.  (they were cleaning barbies??) 

Well, I didn't handle it so well.  I came in blazing..... "Don't you know that somebody could have mistaken that for shampoo and could have been BLINDED???"  "If you aren't mature enough to use things for what they are meant for, then you can't have them! blah blah blahh..........
Yep, this came out of my mouth....
What I was saying wasn't necessarily wrong.... the DELIVERY was VERY Wrong!

Accusing isn't the best way to handle things. Both girls started feeling defensive .
Mike, graciously said, "Mom and I need to go in the other room"..... "Dear, you are not handling that very well".   
OUCH...and he was RIGHT.

I regained myself as best I could.... and then we went back in  and finished talking with the girls. We gave them opportunity to explain, and then we explained that they cannot use those things for what they wanted to use them for, and everything was better understood.
It was time for bed and all contraband had been handed over.  We let them know we would talk more about it in the morning  and then we retreated back to the kitchen.

Guess what?
Both of our girls came in on their own and apologized and said they were sorry.
I said I was sorry too.
And I received grace and mercy back, from my husband and daughters.  Because that is what families do. They forgive.



2 comments:

Team Bedzyk said...

Love this post. I learn so much from you. Thanks for sharing!

Kelly said...

Weird that parents are not perfect. Sounds like a great recovery and good team work between you and Mike.

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