Three years ago I was rocking my 2-month-old baby when my (then) husband broke the news that he no longer wanted to be married.
I’ve struggled daily with forgiveness for more than 3 years, learning that forgiveness can’t always be given in an instant.
I can’t say, “I forgive you for leaving us.” and suddenly be rid of anger and hurt forever. That anger surfaces over and over: when I face a parenting decision alone, when medical bills arrive, when I’m lonely, when a child asks why her father left, and on, and on. Each and every time that anger washes over me, I must again try to forgive.
What can be done to forgive what feels unforgivable?
Realize that forgiveness isn’t ‘once and done’. It is a constant. Each time anger surfaces, there is need to forgive once again.
What is forgiveness? Is it condoning the actions of the one who hurt you? Is it removing the need for accountability? Is it pretending the wrong never happened or there were no consequences?
No! Forgiveness is simply acknowledging a wrong and giving it to God, realizing that He is the one in control of the situation. Rather than worrying about just punishment for an offense, allow God to take care of it.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:19
Even after three years, I am no pro at forgiveness. I must still frequently revisit forgiveness through prayer, asking for help to surrender my anger and hurt.
Friend, if you are struggling to forgive, remember that forgiveness is an ongoing battle. Approach God with prayer each time you find yourself dwelling on the transgression. Recognize that God is in control of righting injustice and you are simply in control of letting go.
Peace often feels out of reach in the life of a busy Mom.
How can Mom feel peace with the constant demands of motherhood? It’s a job that is unrelenting and exhausting.
In fact, just a few moments ago my children were all happily occupied with projects or play, so I sat down to work on this very devotional. Not two minutes later two children were yelling at each other in the next room. After pausing to deal with that issue, I sat back down at my computer to work. With just one sentence successfully on the screen, another child appeared beside me with an exciting story she wanted to share. Then another child soon followed with questions relating to her art project. So I did what I usually do, which is put work away until late at night. Even while my children sleep my time is occupied by the demands of life. It is easy to wonder, “where is peace?”
Even when life is far from peaceful, biblical peace can still exist in your life. Biblical peace is not the absence of busyness or difficulty. Biblical peace is an inner peace. It is the product of a mind focused on God.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)
The Bible tells us the simple way to gain Biblical peace- prayer. When life is busy, pray. When life is hard, pray. When worry consumes you, pray.
With prayer comes the peace of God. Yes, life as a Mom will constantly move at whirlwind speed, but the inner peace of God will provide an inner tranquility.
Have you ever thought of humility as a legacy? I sat, devastated and alone in a tiny, old house, my six children sleeping on air mattresses in nearly empty rooms. The dream of reviving this ramshackle farm in the middle of nowhere suddenly became a nightmare.
How in the world would I raise six children as a single mom- how could I pay the bills, keep up the house and yard, and be a good mother? I was terrified.
The phone rang, it was my 86-year-old grandmother. “Amanda, come live with me. I’m in a big house all alone. My home can be your home.”
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. Phillipians 2:3
Humility, considering oneself lower than others, is a characteristic so opposite of our human nature. We are naturally selfish, focusing much of our time on our own survival and desires. Christian humility stands out as counter-culture.
When I think of humility, my grandma immediately comes to mind. She has spent her life in humility; quick to listen to problems, to meet financial needs, to offer anything she has for a need. That consistent humility, care, and concern speak the love of Jesus into the hearts of all she touches.
My grandmother’s legacy of exuding a humble spirit touches generations in her family and her community. She is known for her love of Jesus. Her faith is deemed genuine, even by non-believers, thanks to her humble spirit. Grandma’s entire life is a testimony to the love of Christ and His faithfulness.
What encouragement to strive for a life of humility!
Heavenly Father, how we long to walk humbly with you and leave a beautiful legacy to the family you’ve blessed us with. Thank you for loving and accepting our meager offering.
How often have we heard the verse about being joyful always? (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
In the midst of trial, its easy to wonder how joy can possibly exist amidst pain and heartbreak.
I cannot honestly say that I’ve felt joy constantly throughout the last three years since becoming a single Mom. In fact, in those first hardest weeks, joyful was the last word I would have used to describe myself.
As I’ve walked through a season that felt like the end of any good in my life I found true joy, even before there was any happiness in my heart.
Psalm 30:8… Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
While there may be no feeling of happiness in my life, there can still be joy. There will be joy! Joy is not a feeling at all, rather it is the firm knowledge that God is sovereign. He can see beyond what my human mind can fathom or understand. Resting in that knowledge is true joy.
James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet rials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
The feeling of joy may falter, but true godly joy is simply trusting that God’s got this even if it currently doesn’t feel that way. On the other side of that trial that once felt insurmountable you’ll find that God did indeed have a plan for the hard things.
In a world of here today, gone tomorrow love doubting God’s unconditional love is easy. When people we love fail us, it is easy to wonder if God’s love will also fail.
When my marriage suddenly and unexpectedly fell apart three years ago, I doubted God’s love. How could a God who loved me allow something so awful? As I struggled to believe in His unfailing love, even as I cried out in anger at God, He patiently led me down the road of rediscovering His Love.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)
How amazing is that? NOTHING can separate us from God’s love. In the depths of darkness, trusting in that love makes all the difference in a life of despair and a life of hope.
How can you trust in God’s love through the hard times?
Remember the past. One of the best tools for keeping faith in crisis is remembering how God met needs in the past. Grab a notebook and start writing down all the answered prayers and provision of the past.
Lean on friends. When life is hard, ask for help. Allow your community to be the hands and feet of God’s love, whether through asking for physical help or simply for prayer and encouragement.
Count your blessings. In the midst of heartbreak, everything seems wrong. Train yourself to find the silver lining by listing your blessings. Start small with simple things soon you’ll find many things to thank God for, even during crisis.
Trust that God has a plan. It may feel like life is off track, but God does have a plan even through this hard time. Keep pushing ahead, eventually the good of God’s plan will become apparent.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
At the beginning of my own crisis, I couldn’t image that any good thing would come from the shattering of my family. What began with a woman questioning God’s unfailing love, has become a beautiful life in which God’s love and grace are evident every day.
The truth is, that even when life is hard, God’s love remains. In the midst of chaos and pain, His love is unfailing and He has a plan.
If you are going through a hard time I pray that you trust in God’s love to see you through to the other side of the pain. He has a good plan for you!
Cling to the knowledge that through it all God’s love remains.