October 19, 2015 2:11pm Forgiveness

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“God’s forgiveness set’s me free, I’m so glad it’s possible,” spoken often by Momma. I keep this paper close as a reminder. Her advice hollers from my closet, loud, insistent and often. And so I prayed, looking to forgive those who trespassed against me until one day as I was praying, it dawned on me. The forgiveness I am seeking is my own.

“God, forgive me.” Let me forgive myself, not with sackcloth and ashes, long repentance and suffering but with simple dismissal of my transgressions. My arrogance, my selfishness, my judgements and lack of compassion. My sloth, my fear of death, my fear of non-death. My fears that other’s care more and witness more for Christ. My fear that I didn’t do enough for the child that was duct taped to his bed and sexually assaulted by his father. The one that was burned by his brother with hot water. How many children did I medicate for aggression that were living with an aggressor? Somehow I should have known more and had power, preventing their abuse.

On and on we could go couldn’t we? Isn’t it ourselves that we blame for our failures, our problems, our children’s problems? Haven’t we heard, put the healing power of the Holy Spirit between yourself and your concern and the blood of Jesus will wash over, making all things new? We are saved not because we repent but because when we repent we remember our salvation which has existed before time with our Lord’s sacrifice on the cross.

My Momma was the youngest of eight children, born to a Mother who was in poor health. She suffered from pernicious anemia, diabetes and blindness. Even though her Mother lived until Momma was twelve years old, there existed a family legend that Momma’s birth damaged her Mother’s health. I think Momma carried that story, that “sin,” that tragedy deep in her being. Cells have intelligence and memory, thus the story lodged inside her DNA, never to be expunged. I’ve wondered if that tale was passed on to her children, lodged inside our DNA. I don’t believe Momma killed her Mother. Eight pregnancies might have contributed to her death, but so did obesity, poor nutrition, lack of medicine and sedentary life style. And so with humility and rejoicing, I forgive all this, releasing Momma from her past. “Forgiveness sets me free, I’m so glad it’s possible.” Amen to Momma, her wisdom and our love. Amen to forgiveness of ourselves.

(The night I wrote this post, my daughter had a dream that she was holding Momma close, cuddling with her and marveling at the beauty of her hands. I think that was her way of saying thank you.)

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2 comments

  1. God bless you Julia and all who are searching for that connection to Jesus…it is a living part of our lives as we struggle through life! Love you, Beth

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  2. Thank you, Julia, for sharing your wisdom, insight, and theology of forgiveness. But most of all, thanks for sharing your memories of Aunt Dot whom I think of so often and, particularly , have had on my mind the last few days.

    Interestingly, I remember hearing the story about Auntie trying to rock Aunt Dot out of the cradle because she, as a child, had blamed the baby, Aunt Dot, for her mother’s illness; however , I’ve always thought that was the thinking of a child which, as she and others got older, was never considered as true. It never crossed my mind that anyone in the family, including Aunt Dot, thought this was fact. I also pictured Auntie as being much younger than she would have been, I guess. It’s fascinating that we viewed this same story very differently.

    I also appreciate your sharing personal feelings about the pressures of counseling in difficult situations. I remember that I always feared, particularly, whether I could do something wrong and fail to prevent someone’s suicide and, of course, on the School Board I always wondered if I could have done something differently in crucial situations where results weren’t as I would have wished. And then the classic going over what I could have done differently after the death of significant people in my life–a stage of grief for most, I think.

    I love your wisdom in explaining that we need to forgive ourselves — actually recognize and accepting God’s forgiveness that is already there through Jesus. We often don’t take time, I think, to feel and to bathe ourselves in that forgiveness. You share the wisdom of Aunt Dot, to whom I always looked for that special word of encouragement, spiritual wisdom and love. Thank you so much for touching my heart and soul. Let’s continue to share about this–much more to say than can be written tonight.

    I love you so much!

    Louise

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