10.18.2015

Motherhood regrets and guilt - replaced with forgiveness.

I am now on my fourth read of this wonderful book. Four reads! 
Clearly, I am a slow learner because the wisdom and truth contained in the pages are smacking me between the eyes as though I've never read them before.
Sigh.
Fifteen years of parenting and I am still a novice.
Schedules, routines, time management, organization, chore lists, lesson plans, holidays ... no problem! Almost effortless.
Issues of the heart? Tremendous effort is required on my part, and my success to failure rate is 50-50. I could attribute the successes and failures to my personality, my past, and my perspective, but most of it? Sin. Age old, nothing-new-under-the-sun sin.
And I hate it!

The Lord is using this book to purge me. He is doing a work from the inside out - and it is difficult to bear.
Do I have regrets as a parent? Yes.
Do I feel guilt and shame about my thoughts/words/actions as a parent? Yes.
Do I wish I could turn back time and do things differently? Double YES!
But I cannot.
The past is past. It cannot be undone or changed.
What it can be, however, is RESTORED!

I have had to work through regret and guilt over the years, but if I am honest, really really honest, I never went the distance. I would satisfy myself with a "Forgive me for all of my sins as a parent, Lord," or "Forgive me for being impatient and angry." What I would not do is what we are commanded to do in Scripture - confess our sins - one by one - every day.
I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Psalm 32:5 Confession and repentance are not one-time when-I-got-saved actions. We are to continually confess our sins, and then exchange our sin for righteousness. "Put Off - Put On" as Ephesians commands.

And that is what the Lord has been showing me.
This book has brought up painful memories. Shameful words, embarrassing actions, ugly attitudes, and unbiblical responses toward my children.
One night I was so overcome with guilt and sorrow I actually prayed, "Lord? Why did You even give me children if You knew I couldn't handle it? Why did You trust me?!?"
Images washed over me like a flood. Things I remembered, things I had forgotten ... they all showed themselves with crystal clarity as I cringed under the covers. Everything in me wanted to scream, "STOP! I can't take anymore!" But I had to take it. I walked through each of those moments, confessing, begging the Lord to forgive me, to protect my children from my negative influence, and to "restore the years the locusts have eaten."
As the sins piled up and I imagined how differently I could have done so many things as a mother, I started to panic. "I can't go back!" "I can't go back!" I kept shouting that phrase in my mind over and over again feeling like I was fighting to stay afloat in an ocean of waves that kept crashing on top of me, forcing me forward when I wanted to go back. Even thinking about it now makes my breathing quicken as I remember that feeling of helplessness.
I hated it. I hated my sin. I hated the hurt and sorrow I have caused my children. I hated my inability to change the past. I hated myself.
And that is when the Lord stepped in.

He collected my thoughts and took them captive for me since I was unable to do so myself.
Though my sin was real, it hurt my children, it hurt the heart of God, and I was disobedient - my past sins do not DEFINE me.
As He is always to faithful to do, the Lord began pouring the TRUTH of Scripture into my mind to combat the accusations of the enemy.
Romans 8:1 is the verse I clung to in the darkness. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." No condemnation - no condemnation ... I kept repeating it to myself until I BELIEVED it.
I have sinned against my children, and in doing so I have sinned against God. And each one, every single one of my sins - was nailed to the cross when my Savior died.
God's wrath was poured out on the body of His Son, though I deserved His wrath myself, and my sins of scarlet became radiantly white because I was - FORGIVEN.

I was not expecting such a radical response to the words in this book. But the Lord knew what was coming! And He used it for His purposes. He needed to open my eyes to truth, push me through the process of confession and repentance, and then bind my wounds and sooth my grieving heart when it was all over.
Praise Him for such kindness and grace.

My ability to sin has not ended. I will offend and hurt my children again through action and word. But I am going to fight incredibly hard to confess my sin immediately to avoid a "record of wrongs," repent before my children and the Lord, and then bask in the beautiful gift of forgiveness because I am a daughter of a God who does not lie (Titus 1:2) and promises that He does not hold my sin against me but removes it as far as the east is from the west.
I do not have to live in regret, or guilt, or shame because of my failings as a mother. When I confess and repent, I am FORGIVEN by a gracious, merciful, and mighty God. My sin no longer has power because His love conquered sin - forever!
Thank You, Lord!

Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.
You will again have compassion on us; You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:18-19

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