Friday, May 22, 2009

Forgiveness

So a month or so ago I had written a comment on a good friend's blog about forgiveness. She was struggling with the idea of forgiving the hospital staff responsible for her son's trauma and eventual passing away. I can say that I cannot for one minute pretend to know her heartache. In our case we have really been treated like gold by the medical professionals around us. We have been blessed with great doctors and nurses, in OUR case the health of our babies has been completely out of our hands and the hands of any human. I can't imagine the anger and frustration she feels, knowing that because of one person's irresponsible actions her life will never be the same.

After offering her my advice I got to thinking..."Wow! Kristy that all sounds great but do you take your own advice?"

Here is the advice I had to offer:

I am so sorry . I cannot imagine the anger you feel. All I can say is that it is okay to be angry, and though this is for some unknown reason part of God's plan it is ok to tell him you think it stinks and that you are angry, it is ok to scream to the Heavens and ask Him why. As for forgiveness. I think sometimes we mistake what forgiveness is. Forgiveness is for you. It is not for those who caused you this intense pain. It is not in any way condoning what was done to your family, it is NOT saying it is ok. It isn't ok. It never will be.The word forgiveness actually means to untie. Your anger and disdain toward those who are responsible tie you to them. When you forgive you break that tie. You choose to let go of the anger and the hate, because ultimately those feelings will never hurt those who hurt you, they will however destroy you. You can forgive someone and that is not saying you are excusing the act or that they should not be held responsible for their actions. Forgiveness is a gift you deserve to give yourself, though it may take a long time, it will lessen the grip that the negative feelings have on you and will release you to embrace the blessings in your life.

I hope this doesn't sound preachy or anything, I think you need to be gentle with yourself, the way your son's birth story played out is beyond my own comprehension and you have every right to be angry and it might take you a LONG time to get to the point of forgiveness, but I do pray that one day you will be able to forgive, not for the irresponsible neglectful person who caused you this pain, but for you. Love you ! I am so sorry you are hurting and I pray that very soon God will grant you the desires of your heart. I am here for you if you need ANYTHING at all!

Now, I am here to tell you that I firmly believe every word of that comment I left for her, and yet as I examine my own life I have found an area where I too have been unwilling to forgive. I have been a hypocrite. As humans it really does feel like forgiveness is saying "it's okay." or "the wrong thing you did has been forgotten" and that is just not so. Forgiveness does not make the offense go away. It doesn't suddenly make the person who did wrong not guilty. It frees us. It unties us from the anger and hate that will ultimately only bring us down.

So as I think of my own life, I have struggled to be able to forgive my mother. She took her own life in 1988, I was nine years old. She made a choice that affected my family in a way that has been devastating and I have held onto the anger for a long long time. I have been unwilling to forgive because no matter what, no matter how bad things were, no matter how sick she was, what she did changed the course of MY life and the lives of my family in ways I never imagined and that is just not ok. Her act, in my mind is not excusable. Though my story is hugely different from my friend I spoke of at the beginning of this post, I have also struggled with forgiving and continue to. I have felt that forgiving my mom meant that I was condoning what she did and I could never do that.

So, I am making the choice to forgive today. I am letting go of the anger that brings me down. I will never ever say that what my mother did is ok. I am just not going to let it tie me to her with anger and hate. Now this is not to say that ok, today I make this choice and suddenly like waving a magic wand and the hurt and anger are gone. I expect that this like many of my other hurts is something I am going to have to lay down at the foot of the cross regularly. I am just going to have to give it to God. Those feelings I expect are going to sneak back in and when they do I am going to have to just hand them over. The bottom line is that we have been forgiven and God expects us to also forgive. He understands our hurts and he wants to comfort us but we have to be willing to hand it all over to Him to allow him to heal us. Forgiveness is a gift we need to give ourselves.

Is there someone in your life that you have been unable or unwilling to forgive? If so, give this some thought. I will be glad to pray with you or for you as you walk the path to forgiveness. It is a freeing feeling

22 comments:

Laurie in Ca. said...

Beautiful Kristy. I am praying for you as you are making this CHOICE today to forgive. I can tell you that it will creep back in and you will be laying it back down at God's feet, but you WILL break these chains that have bound you for all these years and free your spirit to experience the joy that waits to flood you. I have done this with my own mother and father years ago, and it is such a blessing to not be dragging it around in your heart. I am so proud of you!!!!! You will see how blessed you feel to acknowledge what happened but not have the pain stabbing you. I know this to be true because I have lived this truth. I am here for you anytime you need me. I feel like you are a daughter anyways:) I love you girl. This is the time that God had intended for you to make this choice, not a day sooner or a day later. I am praying for you for this very thing.

Love and Hugs, Laurie

asplashofsunshine said...

We need more people like you in this world.

I've been on a forgiveness journey for about 18 months now with a family member who hurt me and my family so deeply. I think I have come to the point of forgiveness, then I creep right back into anger. Ughhh, I'll get through it one day. I know I will.

ReadyAim said...

Kristy, I will pray for you as make this choice. I can tell you from personal experience that it truly is liberating. Once I was able to forgive my mom, I saw her and her life in a whole new way. I pray the same happens for you.

Lisa

Melanie said...

What a fantastic post Kristy! and so true...forgiveness is for us not the other.

Cathy said...

Kristy, This is so beautiful and so is your heart. I can't say I understand what you went through, but I can pray that you will and can continually lay this at the cross and continue to feel so free. Praying for you as you bring your special little girl into this world.

April Swarthout said...

Thank you!!! This says so much too me and I want to thank you for opening this door for me.

April

stephanie said...

I have never, heard anything explained so beautifully. What wise words to your friend.Thank you for putting forgiveness in a whole new perspective for me. I will pray for you, and your decision to forgive your mother and allow peace to surround you.You are truly remarkable.

Devin said...

Kristy,

Right now, I am reading a book by Jill Savage called Real Moms, Real Jesus. IT IS WONDERFUL. She just did a chapter last week on forgiveness, and it really hit home for me.

A couple of things she said:

Christ's last words on the cross were begging the Father for our forgiveness for the pain and agony that he was suffering right then. What an example to follow.

Also, we have a tendency to treat people as they deserve--rather than treating them the way God treats us: with grace, and mercy. He certainly isn't giving us what we deserve each time we sin, but rather offers us His unconditional love and forgiveness!

And, each time we come up against a situation, we are basically facing a "Y" in the road. Are we going to forgive, or are we going to choose not to? We make that choice, and when we truly let go of the situation and place it in God's hands, we are not only doing what He asks us to do, we are doing what He modeled for us here on earth. It is difficult, but Jesus truly does understand how hard it is, because He lived it too, and made that same choice when he came to that "Y".

I am so glad you are making this difficult choice....as you know, you are always in my prayers!

Rebekah said...

Like your friend I've struggled with forgiveness of the ob I had & you're right, it is a choice and it is something we need to do for us.
It struck me just now that I don't deserve God's forgiveness but He gave it anyway & I need to freely forgive even if their actions seem unworthy of forgiveness- just as God forgives me. In His eyes I am just as unworthy and yet He still felt I was worthy of His life.
It's easier said than done though. I wish that it were an easy prayer and our hearts suddenly felt lighter but most days I feel I'm making progress in the right direction. Thank you for the reminder to work on forgiveness in my heart.

Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace said...

Kristy,

Thank you for this beautifully written post... FULL OF TRUTH! Forgiveness is for the "forgiver"...and it is a freeing gift! I understand the need to lay some of our struggles at the foot of the cross daily, forgiveness and other things as well. I am so sorry for the journey you were forced to walk because your mother's choice affected the course of your path. It is a brave, wise, and beautiful choice you have made to forgive. And, it is a gift to yourself, as you said, dear friend. I will keep you in prayer as you seek to lay this at the foot of the cross...and I know He will strengthen and bless you to be able to do this. May the sweet freedom of forgiveness wash over you...

In His Grace,
Kelly

Ang said...

Wow what a profound post. I think we ALL struggle with forgiveness on one level or another and you are right, it is easier said than done. I have areas in my own life that I have held on to for too long and it has crippled me sometimes with my walk with God. Thank you so much for these words today I needed them:)

Allison said...

Oh this is so cool what God is doing in your life right now. Preparing your heart and life for your new relationship between you and your new daughter, soon to come! Now you are free to love this little girl and be the best mom you can be to her. So awesome to see God work...He is so good! He delights in doing good to us! Good post Kristy!

TNKerry said...

You don't know how much I needed this post. I am not ready yet. I still need my anger right now. But I will remember your words for my struggle and I do hope that one day I will be able to forgive the person who has hurt me more than I ever thought someone I loved could do.

Rebecca said...

Thank you for the wonderful words on forgiveness. I think I *do* tend to view it as something for the 'other person' instead of a gift I give myself. I like the visual of being 'tied' and forgiveness as the 'untying'. Thanks for the reminder that I can tell God that I'm angry and scream to the Heavens and ask Him why....

amy said...

this is a beautiful post. one of the best posting i've read recently.

i cannot wait to "meet" you new baby girl.

prayers for your family in colorado,
amy

Debbie said...

Thank you. I wish my grandmother and aunt could have done just that before her passing this april. You are such an example to me. I thank God for placing so many paths to help me heal and get back on the path.

Anonymous said...

I hadn't spoken to my father in months--even though he lives 1 mile away--because he chose a MUCH younger girlfriend & her kids over me & my kids.

I was getting out of my car at Wal-Mart (of all places!) one day & it hit me & I said it out loud (I was alone!) "I'm done being angry." That was it, it was that simple & that unexpected.

It didn't mean I hurt any less and it didn't mean I was going to pick up the phone to call him. It just meant at that very moment, I was done with the anger part.

It took a couple of months before I actually reached out to try to mend fences, and today, nearly a year later, we are speaking again. We'll never get back the father-daughter relationship that we had, nor will we ever have the relationship I want to have. But it is what it is and it's not going to change because he's so stubborn.

Your situation is somewhat similar in that your relationship will never be what it once was, nor will it be what you want. But the moment you decide to stop being angry, you take back control and you learn to make it what you want it to be from here on out.

I am so sorry you lost your Mom at such a young age and in such a tragic way. Your heart will never be the same, but I hope you're able to heal a little more each day.

God bless.

Mirna said...

Very well said ... I think I had to hear that again. Bless you! :)

Anonymous said...

I have been thinking of your experiences since reading them on Mother's day and somehow hoping that i could find the courage to respond. I hope this helps in some way because i am feeling compelled to do this.
I have lived with depression and suicidal thoughts and have been so low as to really and truly believe that suicide wasnt the answer for ME to end MY pain, but to end the pain of those around me who had to live with me as their mother, wife, daughter, etc. To be so low to believe that your death would be a relief to those you love is about as low as you probably can feel and im not saying this right but - ugh. i just want you to know that it isnt always a selfish feeling or act. its sometimes a feeling of so much love that it is the only way you think in your sick mind that you will let others live better. It is sickness and I am very thankful that i have a plan for when those overwhelming feelings come over me, and I pray for those who dont..that they may somehow see the pain left behind and not some fantasy life of how much better loved ones would all be with them out of the way.
I obviously don't know your mother, nor you. I only wanted you to know that there are other thoughts that go through a suicide mind. And while anger and unforgiveness are natural, maybe this perspective will help in seeing another side.. and in turn help with that anger.
God please let these words be read in the manner intended.
Thank you for helping me see forgiveness as a gift i can give myself..a choice that isnt for the one i am angry with- but for me - i hold the strings and the power to untie. Thank you and God Bless.

connie said...

I love you, Kristy.

Heather said...

Coming to you from MckMama's blog.

This is a beautiful post. What a great perspective and way to explain forgiveness. Before I became a Christian, I was blindly proud of my ability to hold a grudge. Though it sometimes is a struggle to forgive, for the very reasons you listed, it is very liberating.

And if God can forgive me all of my transgressions, who am I to deny that of someone else?

Beautiful blog!

Sara said...

Hi Kristy,
I found your blog when Hope was a newborn, just days old, I think it was a link from Patrice's blog. I had bookmarked your blog, and read several times a week. I came across this post way back then, and it has since stayed with me. Then my computer crashed; I lost all my bookmarks, and since I had so many I couldn't remember them all. Well, today a friend was talking about how hard it was to forgive someone in her life, and I thought back to this post. I so wanted her to read your words!! After a good hour searching the internet (I couldn't remember the name of your blog, sorry!) I finally found it!! And to my surprise, it was so easy to find the post I needed! I just typed in "forgiveness" into the blogger search field, and VOILA!
My point being, the words you wrote to your friend about forgiveness have resonated in me for over a year now, and since then, I have realized what forgiveness really is. Hopefully my friend will see it that way, too. I honestly feel like God was speaking through you, and right to so many of us out here who read it. I feel like I'm making a mess of my words and not adequately relaying my gratitude, so I will just stop here. Thank you so much!!

xoxox~
Sara K.

P.S. WOW Hope got so big!!! She is beautiful!!! God bless you and your sweet family <3