My heart's desire is for you to realize how valuable and precious you are, to know that you are a dream of God come true. While raising six children, I have had to depend on the Lord to give me certain nuggets of truth and insights into being a child of God. I would love to share these nuggets with you, hopefully bringing you closer to Him and a life filled with joy and peace.
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!