Tag Archives: Forgiveness

Day 15 Be Present: Sore Jaws, Offering It Up, and Trusting


Holding on to anger, resentment and hurt only gives you tense muscles, a head ache, and a sore jaw from clenching your teeth. Forgiveness gives you back the laughter and lightness in your life.
-Joan Lunden

Isn’t that a nice little nutshell of wisdom? We forgive and then get on the road to “laughter and lightness”. But–If only she hadn’t done THAT, I could forgive her. If only it hadn’t meant THIS, I could forgive him. If only… oops. There I go again, thinking my situation is special, and nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. Nobody could understand it, and nobody would expect me to forgive if they REALLY knew what happened and how awful it really was.

Oh- do you feel that way, too? I thought it was just me that had unforgiveable people in my life. Huh…

The quote from Joan Lunden sounds so trite. It really can’t be that easy.

But it is easy. And yet, it is the work of our lives to trust often enough to forgive, and forgive again, and then forgive some more. So is the problem forgiving, or trusting?

The only way I know how to forgive is to hand the person and their deed up to God. I have to get very visual about it, and generally use these steps when the thought of them or their deeds occurs to me: 1) I see the person in my cupped hands, and lift them up to God, while on my knees. 2) Then I have to put them in my cupped hands and lift my hands up to God, and shove them up into clouds. 3) Then I have to put them in a quilt, and see God picking them up. 4) Then I wrap them really tightly in a quilt, and I throw them like a football up to God. 5) Then I lock them in a rocket launcher and light a fuse to launch them up to God. 6) Then I… you get the idea.

I have to do it over and over, lifting them, sending them, blasting them. Every time I think of them, hand them over.

Eventually, I get to a point where I can just say “I forgive you” in my mind when the thought of them or their offense comes to mind.

And I am finally getting free to lightness and laughter.

The nutshell of forgiveness is that it is all predicated on a trust that God is there, and she can and is handling that offensive person and me with more love, care, and wisdom than I could ever know.

Through countless hours of silence, solitude, soul searching, and prayer, I learned that the act of trust is an utterly ruthless act.
-Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust


Day 13 Be Present: Forgiveness and The Prisoner

Day 13 Be Present: Forgiveness and The Prisoner

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
-Lewis B. Smedes

We can all be prisoners of our own anger, resentment, and stubborn resistance to forgiveness. Nobody knows how hard we have it. Nobody knows how difficult it is. Nobody is there in the middle of the night, when the fears, anger, resentment, and the anxiety are in bed with us. They wrap around us like strangling blankets, encasing us in the darkness. By morning, all we can do is get up and struggle to our day. “They did this to us. They made it awful. If only they hadn’t done_______, everything would be fine.”

Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.
-Lewis B. Swedes

What if we remember it differently? What if we forgive them, forgive ourselves, and what if we see ourselves (that prisoner), who really did a kick-ass job taking care of themselves and their loved ones in the face of difficulties. What if we change that memory into 1) letting the other person off the hook and 2) give ourselves some doses of awesome sauce?

What does that leave us with then?

Day 12 Be Present: Forgiveness and The Feast of Anger

Day 12 Be Present: Forgiveness and The Feast of Anger

Forgiveness is a tough one. I have to work at it diligently. When I feel resentful, angry, slighted, invisible, disrespected, attacked, forgotten… I usually turn to anger, which feels good and energizing and powerful in the moment. I feel like I can stand up tall again; the world will see me and how important I am. They won’t do that awful thing, ever again!

I use anger to feel better about myself when I am hurt. And we all have lots of opportunities to hurt: snarky sarcastic teenagers, terrible drivers, forgetful parents, ex partners who forget their responsibilities (it turns out that even court-ordered child support can be blown off), demanding bosses who aren’t realistic, etc. When enough of these happen, and I am not taking care of myself (sleep, exercise, food, water)…

I sometimes stand up tall and get really angry, my blood really does get hotter, my head sometimes lifts off of my shoulders, my eyes actually bulge out sometimes, and my voice goes up an octave. I think I am the wolf. I am not present. I am not in my skin. I am not even in this stratosphere.

At first, I might mutter about 50 miles an hour and swirl around my house, cleaning, straightening, whatever helps me to feel more like a martyr. That really helps me get whipped up- housework. Then I let it rip- I rail, I (subconsciously) know the words to use that will sear the hottest deepest wounds. It all comes out. I am angry, disrespected, resentful, and nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. But I am powerful, so powerful in this anger! For about 15 minutes.

Then I feel terrrrrrrrrible.

“Of the seven deadly sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back- in many ways, it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.
-Frederick Beuchner, Wishful Thinking

How can we be present when we are busy feasting on ourselves? Eating out own hearts? We have to take care of our anger if we are to have inner peace. Those wounds will drive us to eat ourselves unless we deal with it in a healthy way- friends, counseling, physical exercise, journaling, find your way to drop the face of anger. Leave the wolf outside.

I am actually very weak and susceptible to anger. I have to use forgiveness and prayer. Lots of both.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
-Mahatma Gandhi

Action Item: Journal this morning about the wolf. What does she feel? What does she do, and what makes her snarl the most? What can you do to take care of it?

Visualization: Tell that wolf that you love her, and will care for her. Listen to her, and then let her know it is ok for her to go lay down and rest. Then you go take care of her.

Secrets of Single (or Just Crazily Busy) Parenting-For Feeling Overwhelmed

Secrets of Single (or Just Crazily Busy) Parenting-For Feeling Overwhelmed

I was feeling a little down this week- too much to do, waking up hours too early, worried about kids, blah blah. The same old schtick we all feel. I think it comes with the territory of being responsible for too much, whether you are single or your spouse travels a lot, when we are outnumbered by kids, or when we just feel overwhelmed, it is important to stop and check in on ourselves. So I came up with this quick list.

1. Take care of our needs
Take care of all of our needs (except the new wardrobe every season, that doesn’t help me stress less to spend money like that). Get exercise more than once a week. Eat healthy food. Read a book. Sleep when we are tired. Then, when we are needed, we are ready. Remember, parenting is a marathon race, not a sprint. We have to be ready to keep on going and going and going. So feed yourself.

2. Deal with our anger
If we are angry at someone, it will come out when our kid pushes us to the limit (which happens often, since they are checking on the boundaries of their lives). We need to put the anger where it belongs- become comfortable with healthy conflict and tell coworkers when they took our awesome idea, or cut us out of the deal, or left a mess in the sink. If we stuff it down, it will just come back, at an inopportune time. It is not very effective parenting to blow up when my daughter doesn’t put her backpack (towel, socks, dishes, 100 other things…) away. I have to think about who I am REALLY angry with and put it where it belongs.

3. Forgive the Grownups
Our parents, your ex, my older sister, your older brother, and our friends in 7th grade SHOULD have behaved better. You are right. We didn’t deserve that treatment. And we won’t let it happen again. But they were doing the best they could with what they had back then, and if it happened more than 10 days ago, or 10 hours ago, quit harboring energy there. Make our plan to take care of ourselves better next time, talk to them if needed, and then, ask God to help us forgive them. Send them love and forgiveness every time we think of the bounced check, the biting comment, the abuse, the whatever. Like Frederick Beuchner said (I paraphrase here) “When we are angry, we are feasting with passion, yes. But we are feasting on the bones of ourselves, eating at our own well being.”

4. Stop trying to be perfect
Stop fixing everything and every relationship. Stop trying to have a house like on TV (this is my downfall- those kitchens look so clean!). Stop trying to fix the relationship with our sister/brother/mom- my sister really doesn’t want a face to face relationship. But I keep trying to push it, rather than accepting that she is filled up quite enough on texts alone. Every now and then, I wear my hair really frizzy and crazy, just as homage to the crazy way I feel parenting alone sometimes.

5. Reach out for support
Call friends, write friends, talk to supportive people. I have to be careful with this one- I often “go to the grocery store trying to buy a house”. I call a person who is not able to provide support (but I think they should, so I keep trying). The person I call (e.g. my mom) is just too caught up in her own stuff to hear me, and somehow, I am listening to her tell me how lucky I am, when I wanted her to listen and give me a verbal hug. So I check in and make sure the person I am reaching out to is capable of providing support, and has provided it in the past. (And of course, I need to be sure to provide her support when she asks- the street goes both ways).

6. Find the humor
Even lame stupid humor is better than nothing. I told my son this morning that I forgot what his floor looks like, but the stinky giraffe who moved in there really likes it. He laughed and opened up enough to share to me that it was bothering him too. That was music to my ears. Because when we have kids with messy rooms, aren’t we just afraid that they will live like street people and never wear a clean shirt after they turn 22? If I can abate the fear, I can sleep better. And laughing at fear seems like really good revenge for that 3:30 am worry session.



From the Victim Wagon to the Strawberry Stand


“Reject your sense of injury, and the injury itself disappears.”
— Marcus Aurelius

It is time for me to get back out of the victim-wagon and walk on my own 2 feet, tall and proud of where I am, what I have survived, what I have turned from mess into blessing.

What would it be like to just stop feeling guilty, making others feel guilty, and count the positives? My friend Pam counts positives all day long. A pencil and paper is a lot cheaper than therapy appointments. Thereby making more money available for beautiful shoes, water park visits, and fresh strawberries.

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Noting positives all day long is a nice spin on the same old gratitude list. I have heard multiple times now that the energy of gratitude is higher vibration and more healing than the energy of love even. Of course, gratitude energy IS love energy, as we are loving our lives, and loving our God for giving us our lives and blessings.

Life is not for the weak. Awful shit happens to undeserving people every damn day. Luckily, we aren’t weak, and every day is a fresh new day to get off our butts, be courageous, and make the changes we want to see in our lives.

Transgressions, Pikes Peak, and the Lyrics


As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:12

If God has already forgiven me my sins, and God is a little brighter than I am, why in the world do I not forgive myself my sins?

I was thinking the other early morning about how much I wanted someone special from my past to forgive me for some specific errors I made in our relationship. You know what came next: I felt awful, unworthy, and pretty stupid. Then, like a mud slide, other mistakes and other people came slipping in to the picture and I had a mountain of regret to get past just to find my toothbrush.

In response, I did the most natural thing. I ran 5 miles while berating myself for being “so stupid”, for not thinking things through clearly enough, for being distracted, for prioritizing incorrectly, for saying things without thinking, for hurting feelings, for not showing up wiht love… The mountain had turned to Pikes Peak and I had to free-climb it to get to the kitchen for breakfast. This made breathing difficult while pouring cereal for the kids.

Finally, I remembered… I ran back to my room, got on my knees, and loudly asked God to PLEASE SHOW UP and HELP ME OUT HERE! I am not always kind and courteous to God…

Next, I muddled through the hours and let them pass in a daze of half-belief in the Help on its way. A few hours later, it dawned on me- that guy was not the problem, and my specific mistakes were not the problem. I am a human, I have human qualities, and I need to accept that and work to genuinely learn from them so I don’t repeat them. But- it doesn’t matter what the guy from my past thinks of me. God already forgave me when I asked months ago, and I am in my own way. Really now all I needed to do was forgive myself and…

And what?! Forgiving ourselves is the hardest piece! So, that is where I am now, praying that God will help me to forgive myself. Every now and then I feel waves of forgiveness. Then, I pick up the “Anne is Crappy” banner and the wave of self-love seems rather thin and filmy. I will keep at it.

God- I am human, I made mistakes with the guy. Please help me to forgive myself those mistakes, learn from them, and move forward to better behavior. Please help me to love myself the way you love me. I AM worthy of my own forgiveness. Thanks for being here in this ugly place with me. Do for me what I can not do for myself.

Then, I think about how far the east is from the west and what a shining jewel of a gift that is.

Casting Crowns: East to West

Here I am Lord and I’m drowning
In your sea of forgetfulness
The chains of yesterday surround me
I yearn for peace and rest
I don’t want to end up where you found me
And it echoes in my mind
Keeps me awake tonight

I know you’ve cast my sins as far
As the East is from the West
And I stand before you now
As though I’ve never sinned but today
I feel like I’m just one mistake away
From you leaving me this way

Jesus can you show me
Just how far the East is from the West
Cause I can’t bear to see the man I’ve been
Come rising up in me again
In the arms of your mercy I find rest
Cause you know just how far the East is from the West
From one scar[r]ed hand to the other

I start the day the war begins
Endless reminding of my sin
Time and time again
Your [T]ruth is drowned out by the storm I’m in
Today I feel like I’m just one mistake away
From you leaving me this way

Jesus can you show me
Just how far the East is from the West
Cause I can’t bear to see the man I’ve been
Come rising up in me again
In the arms of your mercy I find rest
Cause you know just how far the East is from the West
From one scar[r]ed hand to the other

I know you’ve washed me white
Turned my darkness into light
I need your peace to get me through
To get me through this night
I can’t live by what I feel
But by the truth your word reveals
I’m not holding on to you
But you’re holding on to me
You’re holding on to me

Jesus, you know just how far
The East is from the West
I don’t have to see the man I’ve been
Come rising up in me again
In the arms of your mercy I find rest
(The arms of your mercy I find rest)
Cause you know just how far the East is from the West
From one scar[r]ed hand to the other(x2)

(Just how far, the East is from the West) (x3)

From one scarred hand to the other

Club Awesome List for August 6, 2010- brownies, vows, and tubes


As you know, this is my list of gratitude toppers. I am a creature of habit, unless it requires work, and I have to get out of a funked-out brain in order to do it. There are times when I “am just not feeling it” and I struggle to write my list each morning, no matter how good for me it might be!

So, this blog list is my committment to myself that I will do it, and usually it keeps me on the daily path too. I know, sometimes I can only find thanks for really LAME things, like a new pen, but I have to just keep at it…

I hope you are inspired to come up with your list on a regular basis too. I am sure you can come up with better stuff than me!

1. I found some of my mom’s brownies hidden in the back of the freezer this morning.
2. I socialized with girlfriends on 8 of the last 10 days. Amazing, simply amazing soul food. My friends are my compasses; they help me to steer my life in the direction I want to go. The longer I have known them, the more perspective they have, and the truer the compass. Thanks Moodie!

3. My parents have been married for 55 years as of yesterday. I don’t think I will make that milestone in my own life without lots of medical technological advances (and a date next week would help too!). I am impressed with how they have made their lives mesh and the forgiveness they grant each other on a daily if not hourly basis. They may drive me crazy at times, but I really do have a lot to learn from them about granting unconditional love, even when feelings are hurt and expectations are unmet.

4. Boating on Horseshoe Reservoir with friends. I even tubed, haha! Very fun to get to play.

5. I have been able to purge old things and old ideas over the past 2 weeks. And it feels so good! I am no longer hanging on to ideas or things out of fear that I will never be able to replace them. Abundance and love is right here, right now. I just need to wade through the crap to find it occasionally!