Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.
Why is it so humbling to have to ask forgiveness from my 3 year old? Maybe it’s because I’m supposed to be the one teaching her about forgiveness instead of asking her to extend it. Maybe it’s simply that my pride is too large and when her big hazel eyes fill with tears and her lip quivers I feel like such a failure at my “job.” Then I get on her level and tell her mommy screwed up and I’m sorry, will she forgive me, and I can see relief flood her face.
Forgiveness is so necessary if I’m going to repair the damage my words can cause and not just with her but with any relationship. As a Christian I always knew it was my job to forgive others but in parenting I learned it was even more important to ask for it as well. Will you forgive me takes ownership instead of giving an excuse and so often when we are hurt we want someone to own their piece of our pain. It doesn’t make it all better but it does build a bridge over a conflict. It frees us up to move forward in the relationship.
Ben and I had a hard first two years of marriage, there was lots of stuff going on back in Atlanta and I was angry that I wasn’t closer to help. I was also 22 and had to grow up fast. We didn’t have friends for a long time (and I didn’t have a job) while we were in Houston and instead of being a mature adult and making the best of it I lashed out at him and was pretty awful. I regret so many things I said and he was patient and loving in a really hard time.
I recently realized that I had never asked him to forgive me for handling this time in our marriage so poorly. There wasn’t any residual damage for the most part but something was pulling at me to ask him to forgive me. I just wanted him to know I regretted the way I treated him. So on a date night maybe a month or so ago (you know 5 years after the fact) we were sitting in a dairy queen (because I’m prego stop judging) parking lot after dinner enjoying our blizzards and I let go of my pride and just asked him to forgive me.
I think he thought it was a little silly but he said later it meant a lot that I would simply ask. I knew he didn’t really need it but I needed him to know I was sorry and I wanted him to have the choice. I am a pretty passionate person (read dramatic) so I can get fired up about things pretty quickly. One time ben told me that I wasn’t always great at holding my tongue but I was great at apologizing. I’m trying to be better at holding my tongue but until then I will keep apologizing and asking forgiveness.
Motherhood requires a lot of forgiveness, both in extending and asking, to our spouse, our kids and ourselves. It’s tiring, thankless, emotional, and beautiful. I have found though that with my kids, especially my tenderhearted oldest, when I will look into their eyes and admit my wrong and ask for forgiveness we can move forward. It sends the message that we are all in this together. This messy beautiful life. Just like there are no perfect kids, there are no perfect parents as well. Extending grace is a learned skill, luckily my kids will get plenty of practice.
“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight.