But first, I have to say “I’m sorry.”

I did it again.

I crushed his spirit.

I know he wants to help, and I want to help him learn, but the way he held the knife, and the way he cut great chunks of cucumber for the salad, instead of nice thin slices just grated on my perfectionistic nerves.

I huffed and pursed my lips.
I shook my head, help up the cucumber and said, “Do you think this is good? No!”

I didn’t yell.
I didn’t dole out some ridiculous punishment for badly sliced vegetables.
I tried to patiently explain my feelings (I was annoyed. Sometimes people get annoyed).

But I was acting like a crappy human being.

He is just learning how to chop and slice, and my impatience with the knife skills of an 8 year old reeked of immaturity–my immaturity.

And he was hurt. He cried a bit, and I was annoyed by that too.

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He wants to please so badly

I apologized but it didn’t stick.
We ate dinner and my grumpy attitude was soothed (oh the blood-sugar grumps!) and the evening was pleasant enough.

 

But when I went to bed that night I couldn’t sleep. All I could think was:
He has such a teachable spirit right now and I have to nurture and appreciate it. I can’t crush him. Help me. Help me to build him up and give him confidence to learn and grow.

And the Spirit whispered to my spirit, “Go to your son in the morning and make it right, for real this time.”

So I did.

As soon as I got up I told him I wanted to talk to him. I sat with him on the couch, held his hands, and confessed my sin to my son.

And do you know what that sweet boy did? He put his arms around my neck and said, “I forgive you, Mommy.”

It was healing and our hearts were connected again.

It’s a daily dance we do, back and forth: Hurting each other, shouting, our sin wounding each other. Then–reaching out though all that darkness we just created, searching for re-connection.

But it has to start with me.

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Mama and Micah

Apologizing and asking for forgiveness has not come easy to me in my life. I remember when going to someone I had wronged, family or friend, took so much mental and emotional effort that I would literally shake, body and soul. I had to practice the words over and over and over in my head before I could force them, haltingly, from my mouth.

 

Back then, apologizing was more about assuaging my own guilt than seeking to retie the lines of love that had been cut.

But I’ve practiced saying the words. I’ve practiced listening to my heart and the Holy Spirit.
Guilt is no longer my motivator.
Instead, my desire is to bridge the  profound disconnect I feel after a fight, after the yelling, the ugly words or attitude, to fill the gap created  between me and the one I love.

It’s still not easy. I don’t like admitting I am wrong–who does? But when I weigh my pride and love, I want choose love.

I mess up a lot. But hearing my sons say “Mommy, I forgive you” is the balm I need for my selfish mother-soul. Those three words give me the strength to keep moving forward, to keep striving for connection and relationship with my children.

But first, I have to say “I’m sorry.”

I hope that my story can bring hope, healing, and happiness to you. TheBamBlog is trying to grow! Did this post encourage you or would it inspire someone you know?
If so, please share! Thank you! 🙂

3 Comments

  1. bellabooksandbaking

    I grew up an a family that tended towards passive aggression rather than outright confrontation, which meant that we rarely had major fights but we also rarely felt a need to apologize since there was no “thing” to apologize for, in our minds. Issues just blew over and we moved on. Not really healthy, I’m sure.

    It wasn’t until I married into a family that is very open about expressing feelings that I realized how important an apology could be. My husband always apologizes when he feels he’s been too snappy about something and it means a lot when he does, even for the little things. I still struggle with apologizing in turn, though. Habit and pride are a terrible combination!

    • Yeah, my family tended to just let things “blow over” instead of addressing the issue, apologizing and restoring the relationship. I’m trying to make new habits for my kids…but, of course, the hard part is doing it myself.

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