This post is not about the kids. It's about me.
One of the true arts of good writing is the ability to not belabor the point. I am working on this, however, I suspect I will not succeed with this post.
I have never been an extremely confident person. There are a few areas where I am more confident than others, but for the most part I tend to be pretty hard on myself. I do not know where this comes from, really. My parents did not call any of us stupid to my recollection. In fact, I do believe my mom in particular was very good at telling us when she was proud of us and sometimes, to our embarrassment, did the usual "proud parent" routine by bragging about some of our accomplishments. I do not think I enjoy self pity, so in confessing all of this I am not looking for sympathy. I just really feel the need to be totally, brutally honest. When my kids read their mother's "diary" when they're older, I want them to know ME and what I battled, and hopefully, how I won some victories.
Already being quite insecure, I've been on a steady decline since having my babies, and in particular in the last year. I know of several contributing factors to this, most of which I won't go into, but the most obvious, of course, is becoming a parent. Suddenly I have two children on my hands with souls, and I can very profoundly impact where they will spend eternity. This has caused me many sleepless nights because I've let my fear and insecurities prevail.
There are two recent events that have prompted my current state of mind.
The first happened when a very close friend of mine hurt me, albeit unintentionally. Because I valued our friendship, I emailed her and told her, as nice as possible, that she hurt me. She professes a deep belief in God, but does not attend any church. Even with her belief in God, she does not profess to be a Christian. Within ten minutes, she tried calling me. Me, the professed Christian, did not respond. She tried again, two more times. Again, I did not respond. It's times like this that I always self-reflect. I knew she would likely call, and likely very soon. However, I wasn't ready to talk to her. Finally I had the courage to listen to her voice mail. She said, "Darla, I am so, so sorry that I hurt you. Please, please forgive me? I had to call and just hear your voice." She was crying. How do you think that made this Christian feel? To top that off, she emailed me as well apologizing, stating that "if you could see this on paper, it would be wet with tears".
When I finally called her, she was truly broken, and I felt awful. She did not ONE TIME try to make excuses. She told me that I had every right to be hurt. She also told me that she would have tried to call all day until I finally answered.
She taught THIS CHRISTIAN a lesson in humility and true repentance. She taught THIS CHRISTIAN what it means to not make excuses. She taught THIS CHRISTIAN what it means to deal with a situation immediately. And she taught me how much stinking pride I really have.
So tell me how a 40-year-old woman who feels so insecure about so much can have so much PRIDE?
The second happened in church today. Both services. Pastor Dehod preached a message this morning about seeking God and included a letter written by Brother Marty Ballestero. He wrote a letter to "Intercessory Prayer" allegorically. The gist of the letter was that we have forsaken the "old paths" of true, heart-wrenching intercessory prayer because well, we simply don't need to anymore. All of our needs are taken care of and there is no need to pray so hard. This stayed with me all afternoon so that in this evening's service, I was able to finally pray like I should. And that pre-service prayer is what I really needed because God had a message for me tonight that I really don't think I would have been able to receive without having spent that time in prayer. The message was about forgiveness, specifically forgiving your brother.
I was very easily able to forgive my friend. However, I know it was because she very humbly sought it. What I am not so good at is forgiving when forgiveness has not been asked. I've seen this trait in myself for a long time, but I really feel like the message reached a deeper place in my heart tonight. Unforgiveness and peace cannot co-exist. The part of me that wants to make excuses says, "I'm the same way with myself". And that's true. But it can't stay true. I have got to learn to forgive myself so I can learn to forgive others who have not sought forgiveness. And so Jesus can forgive me, because without this prerequisite, I remain unforgiven.
The Crabb Family sings a song called "Letting Go" on their most recent CD. The words are:
It's the only way I know to make myself whole
Is to fall down on my face from this mess that I have made
Overwhelmed by disgrace, it's such a familiar place
Lord hear me, I need you near me
Free my mind, it's tearing me apart
I humbly cry
From the depths of my heart
Conform my will
To what You'd have for me
I know the only way to freedom is letting go
I know only You
Can free me from the voices that surround me
So I'm trusting in Your Word to renew me
Restore me Lord I pray
I know of no other song that is so ME. So where I'm at right now. And I want it to become my prayer.
I know the only way to freedom is letting go.