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In a nut shell : I'm a full time working mom, a Star Wars geek, comic book nerd, Disney enthusiast, hockey Mom, a breast cancer survivor of almost a decade and oh let's not forget such a happy, sassy, southern mess!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Well of Forgiveness




Forgiveness is one little word, simple yet so wrapped up in turmoil and trouble. Forgiveness carries so much doesn’t it? Just the thought of forgiveness and we are wincing, too many bags, baggage and burdens go with it. Most of us don't even want to get within 10 feet of the flashing caution sign forgiveness has attached to it do we? In fact we generally dance around it, poke at it with a stick or tread lightly with extreme caution.
For me personally, in my crazy life, I sometimes feel I am a magnet for drama and all its un-pleasantries. 

Seriously I wonder if our family has a bull’s eye on our front door inviting trouble in with a capital T. I can be minding my own business, just trying to care for those around me and BAM; I am knocked to my feet, looking up from where I have landed with a black eye and a sudden, unpleasant and unexpected blow out of right field somewhere. No matter how hard I try, I always seem to find someone somewhere who can't stand me, the optimism or the way I see this grace I have been blessed with. To be completely honest over the past 12 months our family has been through a really rough, tough, very trying time. In fact at times to say we have felt battered, bruised and abused is giving the year far too much credit.

True, breast cancer, other various health issues and just adapting to so many changes at one time has played a apart this year but it's not the whole story. The truth is I have had to reach deep down, to keep turning the rope until I hit the bottom of my own personal well of forgiveness. My heart has been shaken, there’s no denying this truth. I have fallen to my knees, crying out perplexed, frightened, feeling the earth beneath me tremble with my cries. I have had to face living in the land of the overwhelmed, betrayal, insecurities pounding against the walls of my very faith. I have felt the air sucked out of my lungs, while literally watching the ocean water rise and wash over us, crashing in on our securities. But you know what, the one thing I can tell you has always been true no matter what’s surrounded us, He was there. I can't tell you how many times I have felt less than capable, trapped and crushed under the weighted fears I was not the mother I wanted, needed to be, facing my own worries, the callous whispers in my ear, pushing away the slander trying to undo me and the tender, beautiful, amazing relationship I have with my Lord.

I’ve had to go to battle on my kids behalf more this last year than ever before. Being honest, I have to admit it has not been easy learning to surrender the battle to the Lord and the fight to my kids. Oh how it has tried my soul to let go, watching from behind the battle lines as they’ve taken up their own swords. It’s been tough watching from the sidelines, watching my son grapple with slander, whispers of malicious intent, and the knowledge a pained, hurting and deeply wounded soul was out there, desperately longing to completely undo him all because he chose to do what was right in the face of what was wrong. We bring our kids up to do what is right but then when our kids chose to live it out loud, life gets messy doesn’t it? Seriously as parents, as a mom, how do you deal with this kind of wound, damage, defilement, harm and hurt in your child’s life and stay sane? The honest truth is I have had moments of complete anger and days I thought I was coming undone, ready to pull every last hair out of my scalp, but instead of going down in a cold ocean of un-forgiveness I have found myself more and more on my knees, before the One who sees all, knows all and who fits each and every puzzle piece together just where and when the time is right.

I don’t know how He does it, how He takes all the broken pieces in our life, making such beautiful stained glass from each and every shattered piece but He does. I had given myself over to doubt, wondering what did this woman have that I did not, how could I lack so much, how could I be such a failure, a disappointment? I was told time and time again, I was not enough. It was a lie, meant to undo me, undo my family but just when I reached my darkest point, it was as a baby's breathe across my heart I heard these words: You lack nothing, what do you really think you are missing? I have covered you, Christina. You have my love, my hope inside you, do you trust me? Do you believe I have a plan? From this still, small deep place within my heart I heard these words, this song ringing out from inside me somewhere, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, amazing love, now flowing down... His grace flows down and covers me.”

Forgiveness, just like grace, is a gift and we must be willing to give and receive. Is it easy, no way not in a million years, BUT even as we watch the attempts on our families come and go we have to remember they are not only hurting us, they are hurting themselves. Forgiveness offers us freedom, and if they are willing redemption as well. The sad truth is many times people will not accept your forgiveness, instead they will allow resentment to dig deeper, to be torn apart by torment and upset by things they don’t even understand themselves all while continuing to violate, impair and injure you. Oh the times I have hurt, when I have wanted to scream, to shout and to honestly tell someone off yet in those times He has been the healer of my overreactions, valid or not. I know without a second thought I can trust the Lord to oversee the healing of my scars. He knows my everything, the inside and outside of who I am, what fears control me, what joys fill me, He knows my heart, and He is patient, merciful and forgiving, so why shouldn’t I forgive? I have had to come face to face with understanding He will NEVER forsake me, that He is for me, not against me and that I need to trust His tender mercies above everything else. Let it go, speak the words, I forgive and let His beauty shine, burst forth from my life, in the life of our family, live in peace and know He is here, to know I am are NEVER alone.

I can’t tell you honestly I have chosen to rise above the hurt each and every time another offense has come forward but I can tell you I am allowing forgiveness to flow each and every day in my life. I start my day, with my sons in prayer and together we say those three words, I forgive you. I have had to face the truth, this hurt could keep me in the depths of despair, keep my family from flourishing or I could allow God to reach in and let His light shine through me. I had to make a decision to allow the pain, the lack of understanding, and this mom so ready to disgrace me, to allow her child to raid the playground, to bully, to agonize, taking her best shot at damaging my son’s spirit, putting him under distress, all by disturbing, harmful and resentful means to go free without holding my resentment and compassion captive. Yes we were afflicted, punished for a wrong doing that never existed, my son and our family put down with malevolence, mistreated for misdeeds the offended party was responsible for, and yes those violations, those flashes of wrongdoing on their part could have destroyed us but God spoke gently, with compassion and yet firmly to my own heart. I needed to lead my son by example, with compassion for those who mistreat us. How could he learn to forgive if I could not? By forgiving the source of his pain, the offense to his spirit, the pollution of his soul, the violation of his heart, and the wrongdoing against him, the hurt could truly be lifted away and released. 


Believe me being the first bat up to forgive was not easy. Seriously God and I have had some fairly major chit chats, playing tug-o-war over this forgiveness thing. How do you love folks who are determined to destroy you, to lie their way into the right and undo your child with no clear reason, except for the need to pull others into their own suffering, tortured, unhappy, warped and wounded souls? But wait, what did I just say? My answer was sitting right there in front of me; standing in the middle of a wide open door, shouting the agony was not just my own, it was theirs too. This family had been hurt deeply somewhere along their journey, they needed someone to cast their cares on, but sadly they were looking in all the wrong places, lashing out at anyone and everyone they felt stood in their way. Man, this was the answer I had been looking for all this time, somewhere between the whisper and the roars, after the back stabbing, leading to this back lash of pain was three words, waiting on me to say out loud, I forgive you.

Can I just say wow, what sweet release, not only have I found, but my son and our entire family has been able to embrace harmony in one simple, complicated word: forgiveness. We have come together, through the ups and downs of this crazy ride, in prayer, talking the hurts out and through, reaching for resolution as a family, asking our Father to enable us each in forgiving the hurt done not only to us, but to heal the grief and the hurt festering inside the hearts of our offenders also. Knowing our boys are growing into men of valor, of integrity amazes me, humbles me. Seeing our son, forgive and let go, to walk with courage and a greater thirst for life, a hunger for God, has opened my eyes, enabling me to wrap myself around this forgiveness thing calling my name, pleading with me to quiet myself, to allow the One who loves me more than I can ever imagine to comfort, heal, remedy, and soothe my broken heart. The pain, the hurt and the betrayal left us broken, for a time anyway, but the Lord, in His grace, brought so many more blessings into our lives out of the tears and the sleepless nights we first had to push through.

At the end of the day, life is hard, our messes can seem far too unruly to navigate an actual escape from, the worry can get under our skin but if we chose to forgive and embrace the grace forgiveness brings with her we WILL find happiness and thankfulness at the end of the tunnel. This year as a family we have seen God’s hand working in our lives, becoming a light unto our feet, holding us faithfully despite the turbulence surrounding us. Yes, we’ve had to keep pulling and drinking from the well of forgiveness during times of both joy and suffering many, many times but this I know, because of God’s grace the well has never come up dry!

~Christina


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