11/03/2021

Glorious Guilt

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , at 9:26 pm by The Water Bearer

Do you ever look back at your past mistakes and still feel intense feelings of guilt, even long after you have made amends or been saved? Some of you may wish these guilty feelings away, but I see them as precious and life changing. Feeling guilty for those times we really messed up is the appropriate emotion. In fact I’d be worried if you can look back at something horrible you did and feel ok about it. Let me tell you one of my most horrifying actions that still causes me so much guilt!

One early November, when my daughter was 6 years old, she asked me “Is Santa real Mumma?” In our family I had never tried to sell that commercialised lie to my children. I let them get a book from Santa at Kindy if he was making an appearance, but I never put presents from him under our tree. If you’re curious as to why, when I am not from any religious group who all hold this same opinion, you can read my “Poem of Christmas Woe”. So when she asked me, I replied “Do you want me to tell you the truth or would you like me to tell you the story all children in our culture are told?” she looked me straight in the eye and said “Tell me the truth” So I told her the story of Saint Nicholas, and that he had lived a long time ago and that Santa was a way of carrying on his tradition and honoring his generosity but it had all gotten a bit out of hand.

I’ll let you in on a little secret though, I may have sounded strong and confident when I argued my reasons for this stance, but I had to hold this stance against every single one of our family and friends who all made their kids believe in Santa. I had to do it while I was suffering from serious mental health episodes and with the threat of being deemed insane as my father was whenever he stood against the crowd in his faith. So it was extremely scary to stand on my own like that. To protect myself and this stance, I made her promise not to tell this secret to her school friends because that would spoil all the efforts her friends parents made to keep the magic of Christmas alive and it was up to them to tell them the truth when they felt it was time. She happily agreed and kept our secret for the entire Christmas season, smiling along with all her friends as they discussed what Santa would bring them.

The following year, around mid-December, I got a phone call from one of my closest friends, she was pretty mad when she explained that my daughter had told her son about Saint Nicholas and that his younger sister had heard and came crying to her that “Santa was DEAD!” Her disappointment in me sparked a chain of events that I will forever feel guilty for. Just thinking about it it brings tears to my eyes. I was so embarrassed and scared of the rejection my friend could inflict upon me that I angrily called my now 7 year old daughter from her room to scold her for sharing the secret I had sworn her to keep. I wasn’t just mad as much as I was afraid, afraid of being a bad parent, afraid of being a bad friend, afraid of being a fanatical freak ready for exile. Terrified would be more accurate. As you know when fear explodes it comes across as intense anger. I really made my poor precious little girl feel like utter shit. She immediately burst into tears of regret. I put her on the phone to my friend so she could apologise and her little heart sobbed as she pleaded with my friend for forgiveness.¬†

When I saw her tears, and her big eyes filled with painful remorse I had a huge moment of clarity. I realised that she had done absolutely nothing wrong. I felt sick! I had thrown my poor daughter under the bus to avoid taking the brunt of my friends disappointment and anger. Immediately I ran into my daughters room as she soaked the pillow with her tears. I picked her up into my arms and held her and I told her “You did absolutely nothing wrong Hunni. I am so sorry for being mad at you. It was my fault and I was completely wrong for getting angry at you. I promise you from now on I will have your back, no matter what! I will never again allow what other people think of me to be more important than you. You told the truth and you should always tell the truth. You did nothing wrong. I was so very very wrong. Please forgive me!”

Recalling that moment triggers masses of guilt in me, but I do not wish it away. Do I wish I hadn’t done it? Bloody oath I do! But I can’t go back and rewrite history. I have to live with what I did and all the other previous times I likely had the same awful reaction when my children weren’t perfectly pleasing to those who I felt I needed to impress. But feeling guilty is the exact right and appropriate response. It is the shocking pain of that guilt that changed me from that moment on, it made me a better parent, and I have always had my two daughter’s backs since that day 10+ years ago, no matter who has an issue with me or my beliefs, or my children.

There is yet another glorious aspect to painful guilty memories, and that is the gratitude and humility that comes when we look from our guilt to the cross. The realisation of how desperately I need forgiveness, I need a Saviour to save me from myself and my guilt and my awful mistakes, is what brings tremendous value to what Christ did for me, and for everyone! I flood with gratitude when I see how much He has changed me from the person I once was. So if you find yourself looking back on your biggest mistakes and feeling huge amounts of guilt, take stock and be glad, don’t try to down play them, or hide them away, because they are your testimonies of God’s grace. If you find yourself looking back and being numb to your sins or convincing yourself they weren’t that bad, then you should be very very worried about the state of your heart. For through Christ’s sacrifice He can forgive everything….except an excuse!

 

01/04/2013

A Poem of Easter’s Truth

Posted in Family, Finding Faith, Musings, Poetry tagged , , , , , , , , at 12:04 pm by The Water Bearer

bunny

A child wakes to a crisp Easter morning

The smell of chocolate is in the air.

Her aim is to find the most number of eggs

That a bunny was willing to share.

….

Shop windows filled with chickens and rabbits

Business doors are closed up tight.

Plans are made for the long weekend

Though not a cross is in sight.

….

The truth of why we celebrate this time

has been lost and no longer kept,

No thought at all for the message of grace

nor of the Saviour’s many tears wept.

….

Our Lord cried in the Garden of Olive trees

On the eve of His great sacrifice.

His torture and grief were for certain

Yet He begged some other way would suffice.

….

The keys of death were far below

Where sin caused life and hope to cease.

Only a blameless soul, willing to go

Could make a path of mercy, to peace.

……

In our home on every Good Friday

We read aloud this precious story.

We sip wine as blood and eat bread of life

In awe of His risen Glory.

……

Bunnies are cute and chocolate is sweet

And the truth of the cross, tough to grasp.

But next month all the eggs will be gone,

This gift of forgiveness shall last and last.

……

Cross 2

I hope you enjoyed this poem, perhaps you would also like the one I wrote at Christmas. Here is the link in case you missed it A Poem of Christmas Woe.

Happy Easter & Blessings to all!

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