Friday, June 24, 2011

Lessons with Friends

I wasn't going to blog on this for a few reasons- a. this is my family blog and I don't usually post a lot about "me" and b. well, it's the Internet and it's public and you never know. But then as these feelings, hurts, memories have continued to stir over the last 24 hours I decided to write about it for a few more IMPORTANT reasons- a. it ties to how I want to parent and b. God is looking me in the face over and over and saying- WRITE IT and c. well, it's the Internet and it's public and you never know (is that a good thing?)....

So yesterday morning we had Ivy's friend Addy over to play. These girls have been friends since they were babies and we have been through the "terrible two's" with them but lately they have had a blast- canoeing, camping, dressing up, playing tag, you name it! But yesterday, my little darling was in quite a funk. I mean "woke up on the wrong side of the bed" kind of mood. She was snippy to Tula (gasp!) and Mommy (gasp!) when she first woke up so I was a little worried how Ivy would treat Addy. I concluded that Addy would "cheer her up" and the play date began. Well, needless to say, Ivy was less than kind.... and in 2 hours went to time out twice, got a spanking, and said SORRY to poor Addy more than once! It was over normal kid things but none the less I was embarrassed at how Ivy had acted. After lunch Ivy spent some time in her room "thinking about things"- like how Jesus wants us to treat our friends and how Addy might have felt after Ivy wasn't so kind. We had some BIG talks and I made sure that Ivy knew how important it was that she said sorry and how we need to think about how we treat our friends. We prayed together for Jesus to clean our hearts of "ugly" feelings, clean our mouths of "ugly" words, and for Addy to truly forgive the way we treated her.

Fast forward, to nap time.... I really was stewing about our morning together. I prayed about my mission statement as a parent. And more than anything else- more than being smart, being athletic, being pretty, etc.- I want my children to really love others. I was sad about how Ivy didn't show this today when she had a guest over to play. (Not to say she is always this way- usually she is pretty sweet to her friends, and yes, Addy's mommy assures me that she wants to come back!!) But for some reason, today really had me thinking about the "girl drama" that may really surface as my girls become teenagers. SCARY thought- huh??

This brought me back to my own life, growing up as a girl- a little drama in my life, most definitely! I wish I could look back and say otherwise but it just wouldn't be true. And as I was thinking back, I kept coming over one event and thinking- how did this happen? No apologies. Surely she knows to say she is sorry and surely her mom had these conversations that Ivy and I have been having.... even as a 20 year old if it was needed..... surely, right??

After 5 years of a very on again, off again, kind of drama-filled friendship, I got engaged. Guess who was on again? Yep, us. We were way "on." Lived together almost 2 years- if you count a dorm bed that we practically shared even though she didn't actually live in the dorms. Went shopping. Had lots of yummy meals. Took pictures. Laughed together. Watched a lot of TV!! Walked through anxiety. Cried together. We were together so much- Greg, her, and I- that we joked that we should send out "family" Christmas cards with the 3 of us. Then in the 11 months of my engagement, things became distant, and even with several efforts to make it "ok"- 4 days before my wedding in an "UGLY" conversation she told me that she was not going to be my maid of honor- and in fact, she wouldn't even be a guest at my wedding.

So it quickly went from bad to worse and wow, I was so sad and then I was so mad. And still I am so sad and so mad. Six and half years later, there is no closure- we have not spoken, written a letter, or barely even looked at each other. I have been in the same room on more than one occasion and oh, the wound is still there and it stings so bad. I pray about it- a lot. There has been times when it has almost consumed me- pray to LET it go. Pray for her. Pray to heal. It should be fine right?? I mean she didn't "ruin" my wedding- it was beautiful, I married the love of my life. I should be "over it." But it just hurts and as I think about raising a daughter through the trenches of girl drama this event is going to raise it's ugly head at me every time- and the devil- is going to hang it over me, convincing me to still harbor anger. But that is not who I want to be as a mama, a model to my girls.

Bringing us back to yesterday, last night I took Ivy took our church's "Off The Hook" production- for her, not me- one would think.... but God has bigger plans- the whole story was about forgiveness. It showed the parable of the rich ruler who forgave the debt of a slave but then the slave didn't forgive the small debt someone owed him. It reminded us all of God's forgiveness EVERY DAY.... and how He really cleans our slates.... just like Ivy and I prayed.... He wipes the "ugly" feelings from our hearts and takes away our mistakes. The last words of "Off the Hook" reminded us to really let people who have hurt us "off the hook"- to forgive them without anything in return. We are supposed to forgive, for real, for free, forever!

Wow- so who was that message for? I was stirring as I sat in my seat knowing that God put me there. Originally, Greg was going to take Ivy and we decided last minute it would be good for me to have some Mommy time with her. There was someone bigger who had that plan for my life.... that from 7pm to 8pm I was to be filled with God's love and His sometimes difficult truths to really let this go.

So here it is- so I can mark my words- and maybe, just maybe, she will stumble across this letter someday and know my heart.

Dear Dana,
My heart breaks as I relive the days prior to the best day of my life. I was hurt and still am hurt. And yes, when I hear your name it has been stinging for the past 6 and half years. And yes, I have sometimes snarled my nose or said unkind words about you. And yes, even when I thought I truly forgave you I realize that I was waiting.... for something.... from you. You were "on the hook" to me. Well, today, through 3 year old friendships and children's ministries, I can see the big picture- you are "off the hook." I am forgiving you, for real, for free, forever.... because that is the way that God loves me.
Through Him Alone,

When you sign up to be a parent, you never realize how parts of you will be revealed that you don't ever want to face and that you will be changed (for the better) everyday!


  1. Tears... I am thankful for you. You're teaching me---my prayer is that she reads this. Love you.

  2. Wow! Just Wow! Your honesty and vulnerability is frighteningly beautiful. I found myself in that same auditorium last night, for the same reason--My CHILD! We were invited, for something to do on a Thursday night, by a friend who attends there. GOD, however, evidently thought more than one adult in that auditorium needed a lesson. It is a difficult lesson. I don't like it one little bit. My stubborn humanity wants the hook for others but grace for me. I'm not thinking we're called to live half on and half off this hook. Big work going on in the heart!

  3. Sarah, this is a wonderful post! It truly is amazing how God works.

  4. Thanks so much for sharing your experience. It's incredible how raising little ones forces you to take a good hard look at yourself. I've realized on many occasions I need to practice what I preach to my kids, and I'm very thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who is always there, ready and willing, to forgive me when I stumble.

  5. Sarah - Thanks for sharing with us. The final lines of your post speaks volumes. Being an emotionally available / engaged parent forces you to face unresolved issues.

    I'm right there with you ... trying to be a better person /parent everyday for my daughter.

  6. I think you have challenged us all to take a look at the example we are setting our children everyday.
    On a side note, you are a great writer and I love reading your blog. :)

  7. forgiveness is hard. free forgiveness is harder. free forgiveness forever is hardest...proud of you for pursuing that kind of heart!

    Don't be so hard on yourself when you have "bad days" while trying to maintain the "forever" aspect of forgiveness and start questioning whether you have indeed forgiven somebody. You have forgiven somebody when you have inwardly chosen that as the best option and that's what your intentions are.
    Forgiveness forever doesn't mean you never have bad days when you still feel hurt by that person or anger towards that person. Forgiveness forever just means when you feel those feelings, you see them as not the ideal and make a choice to try to work against them (which you always do!)

    Love you. And your daughters are beautiful!


Thanks for your encouragement as I travel through this season of life called mommyhood!