I was standing in the checkout line of the craft store when my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number and so I answered with a hesitant, “hello…?” “Dawn, are you on the way with our boys…?” asked my friend.
You know those moments? Those moments when hundreds of thoughts and emotions flood you and you are faced with about 50 ways to respond and you have about 2 seconds tops to make your choice and speak? Yeah. It was one of those moments. All I could bring myself to say was, “I am so sorry… Don was supposed to be there 15 minutes ago with the boys… I’ll call and check on him and call you right back.”
It was my lunch bunch day. I had picked up my youngest and two of his friends from preschool to come home with us for lunch and to play. My friends and I take turns doing this for each other each week. It was one of those weeks where the demands of the “to do” list exceeds the hours of the day and I had asked my husband for help. He was off work and at home. I needed to go 20 minutes away, to the town next door, to a craft store and get supplies for my crafting activity at my daughter’s school the next day. After picking up the boys, bringing them home, and getting them settled into lunch… I asked my husband to drop them off on the way to get my daughter from school. The plan was: boys dropped off at my friend’s house at 1:30 for an on time arrival and pick up at her school at 1:45.
After hanging up, I looked at the clock on my phone. 1:45. Enter in new mass festivity of thoughts. “He always does this, he can never do anything on time, I knew I should have just done it all myself, he is obviously going to be late getting Abby too, her teacher is not going to be happy and now my friends are worried and think I am a slacker.”
As I paused to process all of this and gather my thoughts, the lady behind me in line chimed in, “I have had those phone calls… husband?” Enter in yet another new set of thoughts… “My husband is a good man, he means well, he was willing to help, I don’t want her to think poorly of him, I need to be careful what I say…” And from my facial expression during all this, the poor cashier asked if I was mad at her! (she did laugh and say she was joking)
And so I answered with, “My husband is a good… giving and talented man… time management is just not his greatest gift.” That seemed to satisfy her and I paid for my purchase and raced to the parking lot to call him.
“I need to forgive him, I need to just forgive him,” made her grand entrance into my party of thoughts as I waited for him to answer his phone. He answered. And then he did it. He did what I hate most in these situations. He acted like there was not one thing to be concerned about and that everything was under control. This is like pouring salt into my little paper cut and causing me to burn wildly with irritation.
He was late… royally late. My friends had been waiting and were worried. He had not called them to tell them he was running late. (He did have one of their numbers) And Abby would be standing in the parking lot with her teacher wondering where I was. Before I left for my craft errand, he had assured me twice he would do this on time. And now he thought it to be no big deal.
So as I drove home, irritation and thoughts of accusation kept bouncing around inside my head. I felt my pulse getting quicker while remembering his “what’s the problem” attitude. And then I said it, out loud… “I forgive him.” “I forgive him.” “I forgive him.” I repeated this about 15 times while slightly pounding the steering wheel. I was trying to convince myself that I was actually forgiving him but something pretty cool was happening too. With every time I spoke forgiveness aloud, a drop of peace came over me. Little by little, by the 15th time, I realized… it was in fact… o.k.
By the time I got home, there was just a tiny bit of irritation left and I kept repeating in my head, “I forgive him.” I did, however, find it necessary to tell him how disappointed I was that he had not done what he assured me he would do which was to do it on time. I wish I hadn’t. I wish I would have kept those words inside my mouth. With that little moment of standing on my rights, part of the gift of forgiveness was taken back.
But I didn't even stop there. Since he STILL didn't seem to care about the ordeal... I decided to be the ever giving wife and speak out an apology to myself for him! Before I even had time to realize what I was saying, "I am sorry honey... I am sorry I disappointed you... I am sorry I was late and your friends were worried... I am sorry you feel it reflected poorly on your ability to do lunch bunch... I am sorry I was late AGAIN to pick up Abby... I am sorry I just can't get this "on time" thing down," came flying forth from my mouth like a mighty rushing river. And he simply followed all of that with a very non-heartfelt, "I'm sorry." So then THAT started to get my heart racing again. I mean really, I gave him the exact words I needed to hear... and he STILL didn't seem to get it.
So as I scrubbed the kitchen counter tops with a mighty force in silent release of frustration, I repeated the words again and again in my head... "I forgive him." And at some point during that day, ALL of the negative emotions left me and I realized forgiveness had taken hold of me and I had let it go. Victory.
We are faced with little opportunities to give forgiveness on a daily basis. The person who “steals” our parking spot, the driver who cuts us off in traffic, the child who disrespects us, a spouse who disappoints us, a friend who seems to have forgotten us, and yet another who takes us for granted, a co-worker who seems to mock us, a stranger who doesn’t receive or return our smile… gifts of forgiveness just waiting to be passed out... over and over.
Today, on our last day of praying through forgiveness, can we pray to live lives of forgiveness? Can we pray for the ability to see situations where opportunities arise to offer these sweet gifts? Let's pray for strength and humility to let go of our “rights” in order to love. I am not saying, in any way, to become a door mat! But grace and forgiveness can go a long way… especially when practiced daily.
As we get close to the end of the first week of November, do you realize we have just spent 5 days in prayer for forgiveness? Nice job my friends. I am taken back to this quote time and time again.
The power of prayer has never been tried to its full capacity. If we want to see mighty wonders of the divine power and grace wrought in the place of weakness, failure, and disappointment, let us answer God’s standing challenge, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.” Hudson Taylor~
In order for our prayers to be effective, we must be forgiven and we must be forgivers. It is the foundation on which healthy and effective prayers stand and the cord through which they flow. I thank you so much for hanging in there so far. Forgiveness can be deep, emotional, leave us raw, and feeling messy. But is also cleansing and freeing. I pray we begin living lives of forgiveness and walk daily in the freedom and radiant beauty it offers. I pray forgiveness freely floats off our lives like feathers being blown in a gentle breeze.
Tomorrow starts our 5 day walk through prayers of healing. Please invite your friends to join us on this journey. If you have been touched, inspired, motivated, encouraged or released… extend this journey to one other person. I can't wait to meet them.
Happy Monday. So glad you are here.
Happy Monday. So glad you are here.