Forgiveness brings healing, and Perfect Peace

Author’s note: I have started writing this post, and stopped several times…it sort of ended up taking it’s own direction

Been a while since I wrote anything, about 10 days. A Lot has happened since my post about my husband coming home. It is amazing how so much, so many moments, so many ups and downs, can happen in one day much less 10. I do not even know where to begin…Denial, IEP meetings, celebrations,  pain, anger, the rollercoaster.

An incident occurred on Mother’s day that sent me into a tailspin, emotionally it was devastating, but it was also enlightening. There is a person in my son’s world, in my world, who for whatever reason, can’t accept that autism is a part of our world. Denial is a dangerous reaction, especially when it is in the face of a diagnosis such as autism. In this case, denial can do devastating damage to a family. When denial comes into play, statements like “oh that child is just spoiled” and ” You are just a bad mother/father” are heard, and are the LAST thing a parent raising a child on the spectrum needs to hear. Most times, they do enough 2nd guessing themselves without your help.

To hear the above mentioned statements cut deep, especially on Mother’s day. For the span of 9 years since we heard the words “your son has autism” this person has been anything but supportive.  Time and again, forgiveness and patience on my part, along with lots of heartache and tears, have followed family gatherings. This time I asked myself  when was enough enough? How many times does this person have to stomp on my heart? Having escaped a physically and emotionally abusive relationship before I met my husband, finding myself in this emotionally painful, verbally abusive situation has been REALLY hard.  Thanks to my Husband’s love, and patience, and a LOT of prayer, the healing from 3 years of prior abuse has come a LONG way. The part that is still healing, because the wound keeps getting re-opened , is me doubting myself, that nagging voice that says “you can’t do anything right” . I KNOW that voice is wrong, but I can’t silence it. The difference is, now when I hear it, I fight BACK. I get my Bible out. I pray. I remind myself that Jesus Loves me, that he died for me, and when He did, He not only bore my sin, He also bore rejection, pain, heartache, abuse, and as a result, in HIM, I am free. HE gives me the strength to go on each day, to love even those who continually hurt me. As I cried, As I prayed, The song “You are more” by Tenth Avenue North came on the radio, and the lyrics to the chorus JUMPED at me…

“”You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade. “

Last week, I asked on Facebook “How does one forgive someone who continues to cause pain? How does one not let their heart get hardened after repeatedly getting hurt? at what point is enough enough?” I was more venting than anything. I was struggling, my attitude was NOT where it needed to be, and I knew that. I was crying out for help, and Boy did I get it!! The people who have stood by me no matter what, were there again, with prayer and encouragement.

After I posted that status, some pretty amazing things happened. A Friend, no she is more than that, a sister , called me with an analogy that I should think of the offending person, not as someone who is spiteful and cruel, but as someone suffering from a tumor. The truth is, she was DEAD on. Bitterness and denial ARE like a tumor. They take over. It opened my eyes that rather than get angry, I needed to pray.

A Mentor, someone I have looked up to since childhood, Posted this: “The only thing that helps me is to put it into perspective. Chuck Missler once said: “…Remember He did this all for you and me. Specifically for you and me. Not in some broad brush sense, no, specifically. I personally hold the view that every one of my sins he specifically paid for. I don’t think He got a package deal. I don’t think He got a discount. I think He had to pay for each one of my sins specifically. Staggering. Staggering. That has a very disturbing flip side. Next week, when something occurs where I really mess up, I don’t do what I should do, and I sin—I believe He paid for that too. And I believe that next week provides me an ‘opportunity’ to add to His pain on that cross 2000 years ago. That’s a strange kind of time ellipses here, that my sins forthcoming are ones that He paid for back then, and it scares me to realize that my conduct going forward has the capacity of adding pain to Him on that cross 2000 years ago. “ And the verse: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me–we can forgive because He first forgave us–it’s a choice to release the debt, not to feel warm and fuzzy about the debtor. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we are suddenly filled with happy happy joy joy, it means we release a debt we are owed. The joy will come in restored fellowship with your Father (Matthew 6). The perspective this gave me, sent me straight to my knees, begging for forgiveness for my attitude, praying for the person who continually hurts me, and for help with my own attitude.

The other thing that happened as a result, is that after 15 years of marriage, I heard without a doubt, that I am , in fact, NOT an outsider. That some of my husband’s family is glad I am a part of the family, and that even though it is HARD, my unconditional love for the person who breaks my heart is a witness of God in my life. WOW, when God wants to blow me away, He does it BIG! He took a situation that devastated me, that crushed me completely, and turned it into something bigger, and better than I EVER could have seen.

When there is a member of the family diagnosed with autism, the last things needed are pity, judgment, denial and ignorance. What IS needed is UNCONDITIONAL ( No strings attached) Love, support, prayer.

I leave you with one more thought, another song that spoke to me this past 2 weeks. This one is called “Perfect Peace” by Laura Story…

“in this time of trial
pain that no-one sees
trust me when i say
i will give you perfect peace

…and you’ll never walk alone
and you’ll never be in need
though i may not calm the storms around you
you can hide in me”

Mother’s day, TIME and Love

Mother’s day is this weekend….the stores are full of balloon’s, coffee mugs, Teddy bears, Cards, and other assorted trinkets with catchy sayings like “World’s Greatest Mom”……But is that REALLY what mom’s want on mother’s day? Another trinket to fill up space ….another Coffee cup to wash? Or would it mean more if one took the TIME to take mom out to eat….or made a homemade gift that comes from the heart made with  TIME and love?

I was walking through the grocery store late last night, looking at all the trinkets and thought to myself , that this is not what mother’s day is all about. Mom’s put in COUNTLESS Hours of their TIME….changing diapers, cooking meals, cleaning house, washing Laundry, running kids to various activities….all this often with nothing asked in return. somehow some $10.00 trinket bought as a last minute thought hardly seems right.

It took me until I had grown up and moved away from home to really appreciate all my mom did for me…and even then it was not really until I had children of my own that I truly understood. As I look back, I know now that even the things mom and I disagreed on when I was younger….she always had my best interest at heart……and as a Parent, sometimes making those decision that may be unpopular with your child are HARD to make, but necessary.

A mother’s love does not stop just because her child makes a mistake, or screams at the top of their teenage lungs a s a door slams “I HATE YOU!!!!” A Mother’s love does not fade when her children grow up , move away and start families of their own. A Mother gives of her heart, loves unconditionally,  gives her TIME to ensure her children have food to eat, clothes to wear. Mom’s spend countless hours entertaining a toddler, playing games of Tag, Hide and Seek, and Candy Land with an elementary age child. then something happens….that child enters teen years…and its no longer “Cool” to hang out with mom, yet mom does not stop pouring her time into their child….driving them to the mall….or to ball games.

This Mother’s day, I find myself 20+ hours away from my parents, and more grateful than ever for the TIME they put into raising me…..especially the untold hours of prayer. the unceasing prayers of my parents and grandparents is without a doubt why I am able to sit here today and type this.

Yesterday I found myself in an interesting spot… Mother-in-law was in the hospital….and had asked if I would go over to her house and cook a meal so that my husband’s step-father would have a home cooked dinner that night when he got home from the hospital. Initially I found myself thinking “but I have to go to the grocery store for my own family” and ” But I need to d some housework” and my “to do list” at home became a list of excuses, until a small voice in my head said “stop! You need to go do this, give your time and be a blessing” I hit my knees and asked for help…for a attitude adjustment and a servants heart. My husband brought me the truck, and off I went. I spent all morning in my Mother-in Law’s kitchen cooking and placed everything in the refrigerator. the thought ” what if this is not good enough?” went through my mind, but I fought back with a quiet cry ” let this be a blessing”. I got finished in time to go pick up my husband for lunch…..and didn’t hear any more about it the rest of the day. This morning as I was getting my kids ready for school, I got a phone call, it was my Mother-in-law. She was home from the hospital, had come home last night ( Praise the Lord!) and she thanked me numerous times for the delicious meal I had left in her refrigerator.

what would have happened if I had said no, I cant go, I have too much to do….if I had gone, but grumbled the entire time?  I don’t know….and I don’t want to know! The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:7 that God loves a Cheerful Giver…

2 Corinthians 9:6-15

6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9As it is written:
“He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.” 10Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

12This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
I Will leave you with this thought….what can you do for the Mom(s) in your life this year that is a gift of your TIME? a Gift from the Heart….with Love, and thankfulness for all she does? Or will you rush into the store on your way to her house on Mother’s day and pick up another coffee mug that says “World’s greatest mom” on it?