Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Spiritual Discipline of Apologizing

It's amazing how God prepares us for every situation. Yesterday morning, during a devotion time, I read a story of a mother continually interrupted by her young daughter getting out of bed. Nothing unusual, a drink of water, going to the bathroom. Finally, the girl calls for her mother again, and the frustrated parent rushes into the bedroom, with a "What is it, now?" "We forgot to pray, Mommy," she says, and begins what the family has been memorizing. "Love is patient, love is kind..." Mom, of course, is struck with remorse and joins her daughter in prayer. (I'm not telling the story as well as the author did, but I can't remember where I read it, or I'd just repost it here.)

Anyway, last night, we had an instant replay of almost the same scenario at our house. Mom trying to get oldest son to bed. Sisters provoking and screaming at each other. Mom comes in screaming. Leaves, promising to return to deal with the situation when baby is asleep. Can't figure out where daughters have learned to shriek like that at each other. While changing baby, hears daughters coming downstairs. Mom yells again. Baby is finally down and Mom has a moment to think before heading back to girls' room.

The story changes slightly here. The devotion that I read in the morning comes back to me and I gather up a Bible and fresh water bottles for the girls. I'm still so angry with them that I'm shaking, but Grace comes and I apologize for my part in the whole terrible scene. Forgiveness is instantly granted. Amazing. Then slowly, together, we go through 1 Corinthians 13 and talk about what love is and isn't. It's enlightening for us all. There are as many examples of Mama's bad behaviour as children's. More Grace, and I kiss them goodnight, tell them I love them and apologize for loving them so imperfectly. We decide that this would be a good passage to work on memorizing next and I leave them repeating, "Love is patient. Love is kind. It is not jealous, it does not brag and is not...Eric can't?....Mama!! What's that word?"

They are so sweet. I am so grateful for their example. For their forgiveness. For the opportunity to grow closer to my Saviour by being their mother. For these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is Love.

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