Do you find it easy to forgive? For the most part, I do. I know that’s strange, but I consider it one of my spiritual gifts. Like other people have received the gift of writing, teaching, etc., I truly consider it a gift to be able to forgive others (or perhaps better stated — not take offense) without a huge amount of effort on my part.
That being said, there is one area of forgiveness where I struggle, and that is forgiving myself. I have particularly noticed this since becoming a parent — it is probably not news to anyone but me that this experience gives you a lot of opportunities to make mistakes.
Parenting a toddler has been a true test for me. Once my crying, pooping, little blob of a baby morphed into a walking, talking ball of free will and erratic emotions, my role changed from caregiver to a teacher, nurturer, and disciplinarian (AKA “mean mom”). I realize it’s necessary for me to be Mean Mom now, so my child doesn’t turn into a selfish megalomaniac of an adult, but wow – it’s hard.
I never know when I’ve drawn the right line in the sand, or if my punishments “fit the crime,” so to speak. But the absolute worst is when I lose my temper. I am really not a hot-tempered person, but somehow a tiny little human can drive me into a white-hot rage. I generally console myself with the thought that plopping your kid in his room while steam rolls out your ears will not land him in therapy, but I still dwell on it for hours afterwards and I get extremely frustrated with myself for not handling the situation better.
Luckily I’ve been reading a Psalm a day most days (part of the one-year bible reading plan, which I mostly try to keep up with) and it really has brought me some peace, which I guess is what forgiving yourself feels like. I’m sure God is having a good chuckle about these poems written about great hardships like war, famine, and death giving me comfort in my epic struggle of wills against a 3 year old. Here’s a little snippet from one I read recently that I really liked:
I cry out to the Lord;
I plead for the Lord’s mercy.
I pour out my complaints before him
and tell him all my troubles.
When I am overwhelmed,
you alone know the way I should turn. Psalm 142:1-3
I hope you continue this conversation by reading and commenting on other perspectives on this topics with my other Sisters in Spirit, Kelli, Bianca and Rhonda.
Kelli is a United Methodist. She is a writer and public health advocate. An Arizona native, she and her boyfriend recently moved to the woods of New Jersey. Their dog, Willie Nelson Mandela, runs the show. She blogs at: www.africankelli.com
Bianca is a Navy wife from the great state of Texas (where she coincidentally currently resides), and she and her husband welcomed their first child in the fall of 2012. She has a passion for serving others, asking hard questions and sharing The Gospel with both her words and actions. Bianca loves Jesus, her hubs & her son, authentic friendships, traveling, making lists of all kinds, and trying new recipes which she blogs about on BecomingBianca.com.
Rhonda is an attorney and native of Missouri. She is known for being overly-emotionally invested in her three, elderly dogs and dabbling in a ridiculous amount of hobbies, including sewing, music, and writing, while mastering none. She was baptized in her late twenties and is amazed and grateful that Jesus continues to put up with her. She blogs at bigsnafu.com.