Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Forgiveness: The Fits and Starts

There's a picture on my fridge of my mother and step-father, and honestly, sometimes when I pass by there, I have to cover it up. Not a day goes by that I don't struggle with boundaries--with the neighbor kids and their problems, regarding church work, regarding almost any endeavor. I hate getting involved in endeavors that weren't worth my time, or that are worth my time, but end up stressing me and my family because I can't decide where the boundaries should fall. I hate constantly wondering how much of my efforts are from God, and how much from my dysfunction.

I hate that my children don't know a loving grandparent, and when I read picture books about grandparents, we all get a far off look in our eyes, and a tear in our hearts. It's always been that way.

I hate that when one of the kids wakes me up in the middle of the night, I can't get back to sleep because of stress--often caused by boundary confusion. I then think of my mother, her drinking, her denial, her making me the villain, and my step-father, her chief enabler, making me the villain.

And next, I experience an awful thing: a bitter heart. And I hurt for the millions in my position.

The picture of my mother is there as a reminder of the commandment to forgive: forgiveness is for God, and for me, and I must do it. I must look at the picture of the elderly, pretty woman, and imagine her as a young child, still incapable of hurting me. I must let go of the notion that I deserved better, and remember that somewhere along the line, she felt that same way. 

I must remember that each time one of us, as children of God, chooses something other than God to spend our allotted devotional time on, that God himself feels the same way...I deserve better.

One of the reasons we have Compassion children is that I believe children deserve to live in dignity. They deserve a childhood. I grieve for the child I once was, and for the childhood that never was. Like Miss L, our twelve year old neighbor, I was mature beyond my years. Life took the child right out of me, and the way I experience everyday life is different because of that.

There's no method to redo a loving, healthy family. We get one chance.

Forgiveness, I'm learning, is never done. Having a clean heart, one free of bitterness, is a life-long endeavor. Because I denied these issues for so long, I'm late in peeling away the layers. Maybe some day I'll be able to pass by that picture, which I will always keep there, and quickly transform the woman into the little girl, and have a genuine love for her. Someday maybe I'll never have to cover it again. I get there sometimes now, to a feeling like love, but then the roadblocks in my life that her choices set up hit me again and the love is gone.

Love is a journey--one we all must diligently continue.

In Christ, all things are new, but the fullness of our glory as Christians won't be here. The last layers of our pain won't be removed here.

I ask you, Jesus, to let your glory shine on my weakness, on my hurt. I offer it up; let it work for you here, and thank you that someday it will be no more. I will be as a child in your perfect arms.

I beg there to be a day my extended family claims you as Lord.

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