Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Grace and Mercy is Not Just For Others

I've noticed, throughout life, that when someone exhibits bad behavior, falls from grace, or hurts my feelings, I'm quick to say, "I forgive you."  I'm also the first one to step up when someone feels that they have done something they feel is very ungodly and say, "God's grace and mercy will cover you and He can make you white as snow, clean again."

Why, then, if I actually believe that, do I not extend the same grace and mercy towards myself, when I'm feeling badly about something I've done.  If I really believe that God forgives you when you ask Him to, then I should believe that for myself, as well.  I learned a very valuable lesson about this many years ago.

Brian and Stephen
Almost thirty years ago, I gave birth to my first child.  I was pregnant at the same time as my pastor's wife and we became very close.  She had her daughter, Elysa, a couple of weeks before my Brian was born.  When Brian was about a week old, my husband and I headed out to my in-laws so that they could see the baby.  It was a cold snowy day and they lived in a condo where there were very few parking spots up front.  I was wearing high heels so my husband pulled up to the door to let me and the baby out.  But I saw a parking spot just a little ways down from the front door, so I told my husband to go ahead and grab the spot before someone else got it.  He wanted me to get out at the door, so that I wouldn't fall on the ice, but I insisted that he hurry and park.  

Stephen and Brian
So he parked the car, I got out, picked up my brand new baby and promptly fell on the ice.  I had cinders in my knees and hands but even worse, my baby had a large hematoma on his head.  We immediately took him to the emergency room where he was admitted to the hospital.  I could hear the doctors talking outside the door.  One of them angrily said, "How the hell does something like this happen to a newborn baby?"  My heart sank.  Here I was, a new mom, and it was my fault that my baby was hurt.  If I had just listened to my husband and not been so bossy, this never would have happened.  For 3 days, I never left his side.  I fed him, bathed him, changed his diapers and in between, sobbed, wracked with guilt.  What if my child had brain damage? What if he didn't recover, and all because of my stupidity and stubbornness.  I knew I could never forgive myself.



Brian & I, Easter 2012

Then, my pastor's wife, my dear friend, came to visit.  I told her what happened and what a terrible mother I was.  I told her that I could never forgive myself.  I'll never forget the way that she looked at me with eyes full of love.  Very quietly, she said, "Erin, if this was me sitting in this hospital room and that was my baby, Elysa, in that crib, would you be sitting here judging me?  Would you be asking me, 'How could you do this, Kathy?'  Would you be saying, 'God will never forgive you for this, Kathy?'"  I looked at her in horror and said, "I would never say those things to you."  Her answer..."Then why would you say them to yourself?"  Wow, that was a powerful moment for me.  If I knew that God would forgive her, then I should know that He would forgive me.  If I would extend grace and mercy towards Kathy, then why wouldn't I extend it towards myself?

No one person is more worthy than the next to receive grace, mercy and forgiveness.  We all make mistakes, we all sin, we all fall short of the glory of God.  But if we believe in the power of forgiveness for others, then we must believe it for ourselves.

Dear One, if you are struggling with sins of the past or you are involved in destructive behavior and you think there is no turning back, no redemption or forgiveness for you, you are wrong.  We serve a God who is compassionate and full of mercy.  All He wants is for us to say we are sorry and turn from our bad behavior, whatever that may be.  He is faithful to forgive and to walk us through whatever consequences we have brought about through our shortcomings!

And just to let you know, my Brian was fine.  He recovered quickly and the doctors said that I was a wonderful mother and that they were impressed with the way I cared for him.  We still tease him when he does something silly, telling him it's from that bump on his head all those years ago!

From His Lap!

36 comments:

  1. What a great example, Erin! The Lord has blessed you with a wonderful way to relay and impart His wisdom and mercy to others. I'm so proud of your blog - and very proud of you! Love you!
    Jenn T.

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    1. Thank you so much, Jenn. That means a lot coming from you!!! You always bless me.
      Love you!
      ~Erin

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  2. Reading this I was struck by the words "No one person is more worthy than the next to receive grace" SO POWERFUL!

    Stopping in with vB

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    1. Pamela,
      Isn't that powerful!!! God loves no one any less because of their sins. It makes you look at people through God's eyes!
      Thanks so much for stopping by!
      Blessings,
      ~Erin

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  3. Oh my goodness Erin, this is so awesome and it's so funny how you and I think almost alike. I just wrote on this very subject of grace yesterday, and it's scheduled to publish tomorrow. :)

    Hugs,
    ~Rosann

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    1. Rosann,
      We are SISTERS!! I can't wait to read your post. Thank you for visiting here!
      Blessings,
      ~Erin

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  4. I think this is an awesome story! The big question!! So – do you still have cinders in your knees!!??

    PS – amazing photo of Brian giving his sweet mommy a kiss!

    Dianne

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    1. Thanks, Dianne. Not only did I have cinders embedded in me, but I also ripped out the stitches from my episiotomy. I think that is the only reason why the doctors believed it was an accident!
      ~Erin

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  5. Absolutely beautiful! And boy did I need this today, a little reminder of God's Grace and mercy. Thank you. Now, I feel bad that you might be reading my funny little irreverent blog post today. Yikes...I have some good ones about God in there, promise. :)
    xoxo
    Andrea

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  6. No worries, Andrea! I love your blog! Thanks so much for stopping by!
    ~Erin

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  7. Erin... your words sincerely touched my heart. They hit very close to home. Your words were very touching, gingerly written. Thank you for reminding me of the obvious! "If I knew that God would forgive her, then I should know that He would forgive me. If I would extend grace and mercy towards Kathy, then why wouldn't I extend it towards myself?" Powerful words. Thank you. Blessings to all!

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  8. Carla, thank you for your kind words. They really blessed me. I'm glad that this post ministered to you. Somehow, we are always so much harder on ourselves than we are on other people.
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  9. Thank you, Erin, for writing this just for me. (I really did need it.)

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    1. Well, Brandee, I thought it was just for me! :0) I'm so glad this post blessed you. I think it 's something we all need to learn over and over again!
      Thank you so much for stopping by!
      Blessings,
      ~Erin

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  10. Really enjoyed this piece Erin! We actually had a lesson about Grace and forgiveness at church on Sunday. It's amazing how we are so quick to forgive others, but not so quick to forgive ourselves. We are all works in progress.

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    1. Amen to that! Every time I think I've learned this lesson, I screw up and get so hard on myself. Work in progress. Work in progress! Thanks so much for stopping by!
      Blessings,
      ~Erin

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  11. Feeling a failure as a mom is one of my worst faults. It's easy to blame myself for my kids short comings...if I'd done this or that differently, then they would be better kids. This is not true, everyone is responsible for their own salvation. Thanks Erin for sharing this with me. I needed this reminder. Happy Tuesday Sweetie!

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    1. Oh Becky, we moms are the worst! Guilty, guilty, guilty! I'm glad that my post blessed you! Thanks for stopping by!
      Love you,
      ~Erin

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  12. It is wonderful to read your warm, caring words again.
    Isn't it sad that we can carry some mistakes within our hearts, needlessly chipping away at our self-worth? Thank God that He always knows our value and forgives us. Last time I heard, He's pretty smart and we should follow His lead. :-)

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    1. Patti, what wonderful advice! We should definitely follow His lead. It's so unnecessary to carrie those mistakes in our hearts! Thanks so much for stopping by and giving us a nugget of truth!
      Blessings,
      ~Erin

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  13. Erin, I have so missed you! The mention of your post in FB jolted my fibro-fogged memory! I'm so glad I got to read this. I did something a little similar and always kicked myself for it. Such a great post! Bless you, dear one!

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    1. Lynn, I know I've been away for a while. I'll write about that some day. I'm so happy to be back and I'm glad that my post blessed you!
      Love you!
      ~Erin

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  14. Great post Erin. Your vulnerability adds power to your words of truth. God is teaching me that his love consumes me and burns away the sin and guilt. He unites me to his heart in love, making us one! How is that even possible?! I don't know but I love it!

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    1. Beck, you are right! I don't know how He does it, but does unite us to His heart! I'm glad you stopped by!
      Blessings,
      ~Erin

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  15. What a great teaching moment Erin. thanks for posting this. I am hard on myself and you have forgive. I'm thankful your son was alright from the fall.

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    1. Thank you. It was really a scary time! But he came through it perfectly and I learned a valuable lesson!
      Thanks for visiting my blog!
      Blessings,
      ~Erin

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  16. It's good that nothing serious happened to Brian.
    Thanks for the loving reminder that we should learn to forgive ourselves. I admit that oftentimes, I am too hard on myself. Come to think of it, I don't think I ever really forgave myself for mistakes I've done in the past...

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    1. Oh, Pepper! I'm so glad that you realize you haven't forgiven yourself for mistakes of the past! I'm glad my post blessed you and I hope you stop by again!
      Blessings!
      ~Erin

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  17. Something I struggle with as well. Thanks, I needed this encouragement today.

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    1. I'm glad you stopped by, Kari!
      Blessings,
      ~Erin

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  18. Erin, your message is so true...thanks for reminding me. As a teacher I'm always teaching this to my students, but find myself often second-guessing my actions at the end of the day.

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    1. Jennifer,
      I know how that is! It's tough to be confident that we've acted correctly in every situation. I bet you do a great job of teaching it to your students, though!
      Blessings,
      ~Erin

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  19. I am sharing this post with our MOPS mamas. God recently opened my eyes to my struggle - I feel that I need to earn God's love - that Jesus's blood wasn't enough. Thankfully, He is right there to lovingly remind us of Truth and lift us up.

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    1. Audra, I'm so glad you visited my blog and joined vB!! Let me know how your MOPS mamas like the post. I hope it blessed you!
      Blessings,
      ~Erin

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  20. Hi Erin! I'm so happy to read your words! I've missed you and when I receieved your comment the other day, I got a big smile on my face. Thank you so much for all your love and support throughout my journey. You're an amazing woman and I truly admire you.
    What a wonderful post about the power of forgiveness. I so often beat myself up over things and have to stop myself and remember to not be so hard on myself. The photo of you and your son is precious...you are so loved.
    Sending love to you!
    Xoxox
    Maria

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  21. Hey Mom,
    I have never heard that story from that perspective before. To me it was always something that was comedic and amusing. Hearing the struggle you went through really touched me. I have always felt the power of your unconditional love. Just imagining my 22 year old Mother,
    so distraught over my well-being, has brought my to tears. They are powerful, comforting tears. I believe this story is amazing evidence of the fact that we all have our own curriculum for God. A time when you thought everything was lost just ended up being a way for you to deliver a powerful message from God almost 30 years later. This, and other tribulations have allowed you to be a conduit for the power of God's Love. For me, this is true evidence that God has a perfect plan. Whenever things seem bleak, with faith and love, we can create miracles. A true miracle, is a shift in perception. This shift has allowed you to bless others. This is Love. This is God!
    Your Loving son,
    Brian

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Thank you for giving us a little nugget of truth from your heart!

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