Can't hardly believe its been a month almost since I last wrote....don't know where the time goes! Although, to be honest, this has been a uniquely challenging month. The weather, as always here in Southern Alberta, has been irregualr, shifting from rainy to unbearably hot-not to complain, summer is always too short, and it has cooled off most nights to temperatures better suited to comfortable sleeping than a sauna. The worst of this is the ever increasing sciatic pain I have been suffering. Not to give myself an overly brave front, or to sound cavalier, but I like to think I have a pretty high tolerance for pain. I don't give sway to migraines, to flus, headcolds and the like, but this has been unlike any pain I've ever imagined. Its left me wondering at folks who cope with chronic pain-this has had me waking at 3 or 4 a.m. wailing in agony, begging for relief. I could not curl up comfortably to watch tv, to snuggle my daughter, couldn't sit overly long in any chair, couldn't lie down to sleep. It hurt to walk, let alone do anything else. Good thing I'm single I grimaced more than once-the acrobatics of the most conservative sex would have had me screaming in agony not ecstasy. But I digress.
After untold weeks of this, and more prayer & sympathy than I've ever before requested, I'm still hurting. Prescription pain killers only take the edge off.
Today after church a friend approached me, put her hand on my shoulder, looked in my eyes and told me she had been told by Holy Spirit that I needed to forgive myself. At first I was taken aback, an instictive response-I have been more often accused of laying blame with everyone else, but she continued. She said I have forgiven everyone else but myself. Yes, I got myself into these circumstances, but God had long ago forgiven me, and He would surely walk me through them. That was why I hurt she said, unforgiveness.
I know unforgiveness of others is a heavy yoke to carry, it hinders us, holds us back from the things we want, but have given little thought to forgiving myself. And yet, I too am a child of my Father, beloved, purchased, adopted, forgiven, same as everyone else. Who am I to set a standard higher than His for myself? I have spent so much time defending myself, to myself, to my ex, to the liar in my head that I equated that defense with forgiveness.
I did what I thought, at the time, was good and right. I poured my heart into another's life, I chose to love, and when it came time I chose to move forward, to reject the abuse, the burden of being another man's salvation. I've done my best to be a good mother, but sometimes fear, anger, frustration, lonliness have gotten the better of me.
I've lost my temper. When healing, that I believe in wholeheartedly, was not forthcoming I succumbed to doubt, even to superstition, being unwilling to even speak aloud that I was feeling better. I questioned my judgment as to how I was dealing with my ex's threats & petulant behaviour (there's another whole post!). I beat myself up for being me. For trusting, for loving, for being generous of spirit. And for all of that, and more, I forgive myself. I am a good person. I am a good mother, and marvelous friend. I am available when my friends need me. I have a powerful gift of faith. I am blessed with remarkable writing skills. I understand people, I am a good judge of character. I give my all for my children, but I make no apologies for taking care of myself too. I am not responsible for Richard's difficulties or for his relationship or lack thereof with Emily. God is good. My life in Him is good, even when its hard.
If I have one piece of advice for you today it is this: Whatever else is going on, whoever else you need to forgive, FORGIVE YOURSELF TOO!