I Want To Be Faithful In Forgiving Others

 

I Want To Be Faithful In Forgiving Others

The Bickham Family 1978

 

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”-Colossians 3:13*

I am the oldest of four children who grew up in the seventies and eighties.  My sister and I were two and half years apart.  There was a seven-year void and then my two brothers were born roughly two and half years apart.  I followed the code of the oldest sibling and picked on my sister with all my ability.  My two baby brothers were cute and fun, so I cuddled, coddled, and took care of them.  I loved the era when I grew up; a time of innocence, dreams, and looking forward to the future.

Out of the four siblings, three of us still go home to our mom’s house, visit one another, make memories together, and watch our children grow up.  My sister has chosen not to participate in our lives.  You see, thirty-some years ago, my sister and dad had an argument over something near and dear to them (the rest of us can’t remember the details) and she chose to graduate from medical school and move up north to not be seen or heard from again.  Not totally true.  When my first husband, Scott, died she came back to Texas and made it clear to my parents, she was there to support me only during this difficult time.  This was the last time I saw my sister.  I have talked to her in the last few years on the phone and in e-mails.  While our grandparents died one by one and dad was sick and passed away, I kept her up to date.  Each time I reached out to her and asked, “Will you be at the funeral?” Her response was no, with an explanation.

The rest of my family is outraged by her lack of disregard for our family and rejecting involvement in our lives or us in hers.  I understand why the family is hurt and angered by her rejection, yet I am not angry with her.  Why?  Believe me, I have other people in my life who have pushed me over the edge and I have spent years trying to forgive them.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines forgive as “to cease to feel resentment against”.  I know when someone wrongs me there is resentment and sometimes it is deep, dark, and ugly.  So how do I dig out of the pain and absolve it?  I want to share three truths I have discovered in why I should forgive others.

  • GOD EXPECTS ME TO FORGIVE. My role model of authority expects me to live by the same standards He demonstrates.  God has forgiven us for our sin by the blood of Jesus.  When I accept this truth I need to be as forgiving as my Father.  Every time.  I can’t pick and choose who I want to forgive.
  • I AM NOT THE JUDGE. It is not my place to decide if someone is worthy of my forgiveness.  They are PERIOD.  This is where I have to ask God to change my heart towards a person and the situation and assist me in unburdening the hurt and accepting the healing of forgiving.
  • FORGIVING RELEASES ME FROM BONDAGE. When I am angry at someone, I feel like a casualty of hurt feelings and vengeful thoughts.   I don’t like the feeling of being a victim.  When I can forgive another person, it lightens my load and allows me not to participate in the angry, poor me, pity party.

I don’t have a magic answer and I know my family thinks I am crazier than a tornado chaser (which I would love to do), but I have reflected and prayed over this situation.  Grant it, I have not picked up the phone and tried to have an average conversation with my sister since our dad died over three years ago.  If she called me tomorrow and asked for bone marrow or a kidney, I would be there to give and assist her in a heartbeat.  I believe if I can forgive as God has forgiven me, the relationships which have been stunted due to my stubbornness of holding on to the resentment, can be changed.  Forgiving others can open new doors to relational opportunities and transform the makeup of our own inner circles.  I have a lot of forgiving left to do and hope my family, including my sister, can move towards peace and forgiveness in their own hearts.

* The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Agree to Disagree

handshake

It was the fall of 1982 and our drill team officer group had a huge debate ensuing.  We had two dance routines prepared for the pep rally.   The problem was we could not agree on which routine to perform.  I was in the minority but fought tooth and nail to get my favorite routine picked.  My best friend was on the other side with the majority and they won.  I was hurt and angry but moved on and agreed to disagree.

I know a major catastrophe averted, right?  At this time of my life, it was an extremely important deal to me and my little world.  I had choreographed this particular routine and basically the group, and my best friend rejected it.  I did not hold a grudge, or “hate” my friends for not agreeing with me.  So why in today’s society has it become common practice to become angry and violent when people disagree?

When you look at a beautiful painting you see different colors and objects.  Generally, a work of art evokes various emotions and ideas from one person to the next.  There is diversity in a painting, as in mankind. We are all uniquely made by God with individual thoughts and opinions.  Our world is made of up of a medley of people who look and act divergently.  So why do we start hating those who do not think and act like us?  We resort to angry actions, words, and violence to get our point across.  We talk about a “politically correct” society and yet we alienate and polarize those who look, think, and act uniquely.

It happened to Jesus.  He was questioned, mocked, arrested, and eventually murdered because of his beliefs were not the norm.  And yet, He asked his Father to forgive them.  Where is the compassion and forgiveness when dealing with a vast array of ideas?

“He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.”- Proverbs 21:23 NIV. 

It has to start with me.  I can control the way I react to others with differing opinions.  One of my biggest struggles is to hold my tongue.  Because I have a thought does not necessarily mean it needs to be shared, especially on social media.  If I do need to engage in a discussion about differing opinions, I will consider moving it to a more private setting.  The world’s stage is not where banter should take place, especially if others can jump in and offer their two cents.

 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”- Matthew 7: 1-2  NIV.

I should not judge others who don’t align with my beliefs.  We are given free will to think and believe different ideas.  Even Christians have varying points of view.  Last time I checked there were both Democrat and Republican Christians! If decisions need to be made, we should use negotiations and compromise to resolve a situation.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.  Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret-it leads only to evil.”-Psalm 37:7-8

In today’s society, we want everything NOW.  Technology has afforded us “breaking news” and sensational media.  Most stories reported are those of murder and other heinous acts.  We find ourselves forming opinions on the information which is fed to us and become judge and jury.  I want to step back, be still, and wait patiently before rushing to any conclusions.  If it does not involve me directly, then I need to zip my lip and not offer my commentary.

I believe God created us uniquely so we would offer so much to this world and each other.  I also believe He gave us the common sense and tools to use in handling disagreements and coexist with one another.  I challenge you to think how you can handle a disagreement differently, in your family, at church, or with a neighbor.  There are many different sayings which state you can get a lot farther being kind than being stubborn or mean.  I think this is exactly what God wants us to do, agree to disagree, and love one another through it all.

LET IT GO

Let it go 2

I am the oldest of four children who grew up in the seventies and eighties.  My sister and I were two and half years apart.  There was a seven-year void and then my two brothers were born roughly two and half years apart.  For the longest time, it was just me and my sister.   And of course, I followed the code of the oldest sister and picked on her with all my ability.  My two baby brothers were cute and fun, so I cuddled, coddled, and took care of them.  I loved when and where I grew up.  What a time of innocent dreams and looking forward to the future.

Fast forward thirty years.  Out of the four siblings, three of us still go home to our mom’s house, visit one another, make memories together, and watch our children grow up.  My sister has chosen to not participate in our lives.  You see, thirty years ago, my sister and dad had an argument over something near and dear to them (the rest of us can’t remember the details) and she chose to graduate from medical school and move up north to not be seen or heard from again.  Not totally true.  When my first husband, Scott died, she came back to Texas and made it clear to my parents, she was there to support me only during my difficult time.  That was the last time I saw my sister.  I have talked to her in the last few years on the phone and in e-mails.  While our grandparents died one by one, and dad was sick and passed away, I kept her up to date.  Each time I reached out to her and asked, “Will you be at the funeral?” Her response was no, with an explanation.

The rest of my family is extremely angry with her lack of family duty and disregard for not wanting to be involved in our lives or us in hers.  I understand why the family would be hurt and angered by her rejection, yet I am not angry with her.  Why?  Believe me, I have other people in my life who have pushed me over the edge and I have spent years trying to forgive them.  Why do I not hold my sister to the same degree of anger as with other people in my life?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines forgive as “to cease to feel resentment against”.  I know when someone wrongs me there is resentment and sometimes it is deep, dark, and ugly.  So how do I dig out of the resentment and absolve it?  I want to share three truths I have discovered in why I should forgive others.

  • GOD EXPECTS ME TO FORGIVE. My role model of authority expects me to live by the same standards He demonstrates.  God has forgiven us for our sin by the blood of Jesus.  When I accept this truth I need to be as forgiving as my Father.  EVERY time.  I can’t pick and choose who I want to forgive.
  • I AM NOT THE JUDGE. It is not my place to decide if someone is worthy of my forgiveness.  They are PERIOD.  This is where I have to ask God to change my heart towards a person and the situation and assist me in unburdening the hurt and accepting the healing when forgiving.
  • FORGIVING RELEASES ME FROM BONDAGE. When I am angry at someone, it makes me feel like a casualty of hurt feelings and vengeful thoughts.   I don’t like the feeling of being a victim.  When I can forgive another person, it lightens my load and allows me not to be pulled down into the angry, poor me, pity party.

I don’t have a magic answer and I know my family thinks I am crazier than a tornado chaser (which I would love to do), but I have reflected and prayed over this situation.  Grant it, I have not picked up the phone and tried to have an average conversation with my sister since our dad died almost two years ago.  I truly believe if she called me tomorrow and asked for bone marrow or a kidney, I would be there to give and assist her in a heartbeat.  My prayer is all of us can learn to forgive for the right reasons as listed above.  I believe if I can forgive as God has forgiven me, what change could take place in my own life.  I have stunted relationships due to my stubbornness of holding on to the anger and hurt.  Forgiving others can open new doors to relational opportunities and change the makeup of our own inner circles.  I have a lot of forgiving left to do and hope my family, including my sister, can move towards peace and forgiveness in their own inner circles and let it go.

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When I Gave Up My Daughter

File May 03, 7 19 23 PM

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. “-Psalm 127:3-4

I will be celebrating my twenty-sixth Mother’s Day this year.   In my younger years when I was asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” my response was to be married and be a momma! It was my vision and dream.  I was blessed with my first and only girl, Taryn, in January 1990.  She was a daddy’s girl from the get go.  Needless to say, when he suddenly died in 2001, it was devastating for all three of my children.  Taryn retreated to a dark and empty abyss and her climb out of the hole was brutal on all of us.

I started witnessing behavior issues and did everything I could to “fix” her.  We saw counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and doctors.  She was evaluated for disorders and learning disabilities.  She built this huge wall around her and would not let anyone into her painful world.  As time marched on, there was disobedience, drugs, drinking, and even running away for five weeks.  As her mom, I kept trying to figure out what I had done wrong.  Was it something I said or something I did or did not do?   The guilt and the shame weighed me down and I was drowning in my own grief- again.  This time over my child who I could not reach, heal, or understand her behavior.

Thank God for my husband Randy who reached out to experts to find out what we could do to save Taryn from her destructive actions.  It was decided to send her to an eight-week wilderness therapy camp.  It is like something you would see on a reality TV- two undercover police escorts came at 4AM and woke her up, handcuffed her, and walked her out to the front door.  I was ordered to stay in my bedroom with the door shut.  I rocked myself back and forth crying out to God to save my little girl.  In this moment I realized, I had to give her up to Him.  His will would be done.

  • Turning over control- My first major hurdle was the realization I could not fix Taryn and God was the one in control. It did not matter how many people we consulted to find an explanation as to why she was acting out.  Taryn later revealed to us she blamed herself for her father’s death.  She was eleven at the time and her dad had sent her to her room for misbehaving at dinner.  She remembers stomping up the stairs and wishing he would go away.  He left later in the evening to play in a soccer game, where he collapsed on the field and died.  She carried this burden on herself and told no one for six years.
  • Turning over anger- Not all issues were resolved overnight. Even after the therapy program, Taryn continued to slip back into her old habits and wound up pregnant at seventeen.  She gave birth to a baby boy after her eighteenth birthday and gave him up for adoption.  It was the best decision for both her and the baby as she continued to heal and work on herself.  This was a huge disappointment for me and I had to come to a place of forgiveness and letting go of the anger.
  • Turning over pain- Today, Taryn is twenty-six years old, married with two beautiful daughters (my grandbabies!). She graduated high school and completed her Associates as a medical assistant.  She works extremely hard for her family and plans on going back to school this year to complete her registered nursing degree.  I am bursting with pride as she has risen above her anger, hurt, and grief.  I have had to forgive her for all the hateful comments, actions, and pain she has created for herself and our family.  I am so thankful to God for walking with and bringing us through these circumstances and strengthening our bond as a mother and daughter.

I am amazed at how God guided and directed me these last twenty-six years as a mother.  I know I am not perfect, but I am so blessed to call myself the mother of these three beautiful children.  I look forward to seeing how they grow up and parent my grandchildren and I pray they enjoy and cherish all the moments.  It is said children are a gift from God.  Thank you, Lord, for picking me to be the one and only mother to these three children.  I love you Taryn, Hunter, and Braeden!!!