The Freedom in Forgiveness

Forgiveness Lewis Smedes

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you” Lewis B. Smedes

When you hear something repeatedly, you think you have a good grasp of the concept. However, some things you have to learn for yourself, no one can teach them to you! I once heard someone say that forgiveness is for you, not for the other person. I also heard it said when you hold unforgiveness in your heart, it is like drinking a bottle of poison and hoping the other person will die. It made sense to me, but did not become a reality for me until this past week.

The other night I told our girls to do something the next morning when they woke up. We had somewhere to go the next morning and I knew we would be gone all day so I wanted them to get something done before we left the house. I woke up the next morning to find them on the couch watching television and the assignment I gave them undone. I asked them if they had forgotten what I said and they had not. They just chose not to do it. I reminded them of what I said and they got it done, but I was still upset because they did not do it when they woke up as I instructed them. I spoke to my husband about it and he told me to grace them because after all God graces me. That comment just made me even more furious about the situation.

The day progressed and we continued with our activities as planned. The girls were having a great time but I was not. I was still fuming. Instead of enjoying myself and talking with the other moms at the activity we were at, I sat with a frown on my face. The girls had forgotten all about what happened that morning, but I had not. I was still fuming. My husband’s words to grace them echoed in my head but I thought, I am not God and I do not get over stuff that easy. As the day continued, they smiled and I frowned!

On our way to the next activity for the day, KSBJ played in the background. I did not pay attention to what played on the radio until I heard these words:

“It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those that don’t deserve

It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real
It takes everything you have just to say the word…

I thought, No, Lord, no! I’m mad and want them to be miserable for making me mad! The song continued….

“It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying ‘Set It Free’

Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness”

“It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you”

Then the words I heard about forgiveness echoed in my head. “Forgiveness is for you, not for the other person.” “When you hold unforgivness in your heart, it is like drinking a bottle of poison and hoping the other person will die.”

Okay Lord, I get it. I forgive them. In that moment the imprinted frown on my face and wrinkle in my forehead slowly went away. Instead of missing the beauty that was happening in the day, I could now enjoy myself.

Later that day, I spoke with our girls about forgiveness. I talked to them about how God forgives us and how we have to extend forgiveness to others even when we do not want to. I did not excuse them from the consequences of their disobedience, but wanted to use this as a teachable moment.

I would like to think I was a perfect child and never did anything wrong, but that is far from the truth. I have to extend forgiveness and grace to my children just as my mom extended it to me.

Are you a prisoner today? Are you drinking poison hoping the other person will die? Forgiveness is for you, not the other person. I encourage you to free yourself today! It is not always easy. Even as I write this, my husband just ticked me off. I can be miserable the rest of the night because of what he did, or I can forgive him and let God deal with him for his actions. Do I want to do it? Heck no! Was he wrong? Heck yes! Is it the right thing to do? Yes, and as I meditate on the words of this song and with God’s help I will do what feels like the impossible and forgive.

Whoever it is? Whatever it is? Let it go! There is freedom in FORGIVENESS! Ask God to help you to do what seems impossible – Forgive!

“Help me now to do the impossible

I want to finally set it free
So show me how to see what Your mercy sees
Help me now to give what You gave to me
Forgiveness, Forgiveness”

View the story behind the song “Forgiveness” Part 1

View the story behind the song “Forgiveness” Part 2

Photo Credit: Personal Excellence

Have a blessed day and remember to find the “jolly” in every “moment” life brings your way!

~ Keishawna

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Too Fast, Too Soon – Our “June Bug” Turns One!

“If you are always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you are in? Enjoy the ride!”

A friend of mine is visiting from Luanda, Angola. Last night she gave my husband and I a rare gift – a date night! This was only the second date my husband and I had since having my son, partly because of my reluctance to leave him with others. Although I functioned as a mother before having him, he is the first child I gave birth to. However, when I left last night my son did not cry, actually, I do not think he noticed that I left. My husband and I went to dinner and then to see Too Fast, Too Furious 6. As I sat in the movie, I thought about the title of the movie and then I thought about my son’s response when I left and I realized I was living my own “Too Fast” moment with my son.

A year ago on June 5, 2012, I gave my birth to my son. Initially I was not excited when I found out I was pregnant because it was not a part of my plan. I wanted to wait at least two years before we had a baby, but God had another plan. During my first ultrasound when I saw this little blur move on the screen I shed my first tear for him, fell in love, and suddenly my plans did not matter.

I remember bringing him home from the hospital and thinking, “what am I supposed to do with him?” and just like that, I blinked, and he turned one. It is as if he went from sitting, to rolling over, to sitting up, to crawling, to pulling up, to walking over night.

For the first 10 or 11 months of his life I was so consumed with living up to others expectations, that I did not always enjoy the little moments with him. I had the voice of so many in my head saying stop holding him so much, put him down, quit spoiling him, and so on. Then a friend said to me, enjoy your son, hold him all you want because one day he will not want you to hold him all the time, one day he is going to grow up. What I did not know is that the day would come so soon. He is walking now so he wiggles out of my arms a lot to go enjoy his new freedom and independence.

So yes, I may hold my child more than you think I should. Yes, I may have nursed him longer than you think I should. Yes, I may hold on tighter than you think I should, but I finally realized it is okay because I am his mother and I am going to slow down and enjoy this ride with him.

So enjoy your children. Stop saying, I can’t wait for them to walk, I can’t wait for them to talk, I can’t wait for them to go to school, I can’t wait for this, I can’t wait for that. Please wait and in your waiting enjoy what is happening now because one day you will look up and wonder where did the moments go? After all, it feels like just yesterday when I brought him home and already we celebrated his first birthday.

What moment will you purpose to slow down and enjoy?

Cake Credit: Pamela Sim’s with Sweetie’s Treats

Have a blessed day and remember to find the “jolly” in every “moment” life brings your way!

~ Keishawna

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You Are Not Alone!

“A friend loves at all times” Proverbs 17:17

It’s been almost a year now that I have been home with my son. I can honestly say that I spent the first ten and a half months of this year trying to defend my decision, purpose and place as a stay at home mom. There were times when I felt like people in my life did not understand my decision so I withdrew and sometimes isolated myself from everyone but my immediate family. At some point I found myself drowning in life because I was keeping so much inside and trying to figure out this new place in my life all on my own. I was like a suitcase that was clearly overflowing, but yet I was still trying to stuff more into it rather than pulling some things out and dealing with them. But, thank God for a friend who saw me in ten feet of water and threw out a life line!

The reality of it is that some people will not understand your reality until it becomes theirs. When I was single I “thought” I knew what it was to be a wife and said what I would and would not do and then I became a wife. When I didn’t have children I judged others on their parenting skills because I “thought” I knew it all. After all I was a Licensed Masters Social Worker and had a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development…… and then I became a mother. Were some of my “thoughts” valid? Yes. Were some of them wrong? Heck YES! This is simply because some lessons in life can’t be taught; they are learned as you experience them.

The good news is that you are NEVER alone. No matter how much we try to convince ourselves that we are the only one experiencing something, there is always someone who can relate. A lot of times we just don’t know this because we don’t reach out. After that friend threw out the life line, I realized as a stay at home mom she experienced some of the same struggles, thoughts, doubts, etc as I did. Then I begin to open up more to another one of my stay at home mom friends and she experienced some of the same things as well. Here I was thinking, “poor little me, no one understands me” and all the while God had some amazing women right in my face. Grant it, their situation may not have been completely the same, but the concepts and principles were the same.

If you think there is no one, pray and ask God to send you “a friend who will love at all times.” After all, “iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17). We need someone to walk this road with us that can “sharpen” us and help as grow as a woman, a mother and friend.

Have a blessed day and remember to find the “jolly” in every “moment” life brings your way!

~ Keishawna

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