Forgive Yourself

Soaking up the precious moments without mommy guilt

Mark 11:26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your father which is in Heaven forgive your tresspasses.

     I was talking to a dear friend today. She mentioned that she was feeling horrible because she had let her temper and frustration get the better of her in parenting moments with her children.

     I knew exactly where she was coming from. After all I have completely lost my cool once or twice...or a million times (the actual number is definitely scarily high). I tried to sympathize and give words of encouragement. 

     So I messaged this:"Love hurts! Being a flawed human is the only thing we know how to be. And that means we'll make mistakes. Forgiving yourself is the only way to deal with being human. Forgiving yourself and giving yourself the grace to do better next time. God gives us forgiveness and grace though we never deserve it. Who are we to withhold forgiveness then? Even if it's forgiving ourselves we have to forgive. And memory is a funny thing. If your kids can remember screaming mommy, I bet they could also remember the apology and love part too. Having a mother who is sorry and apologizes isn't the worst thing in the world."

     Later, I thought about the words I had passed on I realized that I could use a heavy dose of my own advice. 

     It is incredibly difficult to forgive others. I feel hurt, angry, undeservedly wronged, and mistreated, when others offend me. And that feeling of injustice and bitterness can eat away at me. Holding onto offense hurts me not anyone else. Its like trying to punish someone by serving their prison sentence myself.

     But the guilt of my own mistakes that I carry around can be even more debilitating than hard unforgiveness of others. And I carry guilt, guilt, guilt! Guilt for all of the times I could have been a more supportive wife. Guilt for the instances when I could have been a stronger or softer mother. Guilt for  when I fell short of a goal or an ideal. Guilt for all the epic fails. Guilt for times when I have hurt or offended others. Guilt and lots of it. When I fail to forgive myself, I not only hold onto the actual offense but also the guilt for the offense. Double trouble.

Guilt means my heart still works and I need to make a change. That is where guilt serves its purpose and where it must stop. 

     I always knew that if I wanted God to forgive me then I had to forgive others. I am coming to terms with the fact that to be forgiven I also have to forgive myself. I have to let go of the guilt that hangs around with such ease. I must give myself enough grace that guilt cannot stay. With guilt change is stunted. With grace I can grow.

     Be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, human being simply by granting yourself grace and forgiveness.