This is something I wrote two years ago and just recently found as I was sorting through some computer files. As I read it I realized that others might find it encouraging, so I thought I’d post it. As a reference, Elise would have been 7 at the time of this incident, and even though I sound like I know what I am doing when I answer her, I realized that I’m not sure I’ve followed through well with making sure she learns this lesson well.
I am a child of God.
He loves me.
He created me just as I am.
I am weak and sinful.
God sees me as righteous.
He has forgiven me all my sins.
He cares about my development.
He chose to bless me with each of my children.
He loves my children and cares about their development.
In His strength I can be a great mom.
In His strength I can resist the lies of the evil one.
Elise was upset after I punished her by sending her to her room for 10 minutes for kicking Will. “We all do bad things mom. We do bad things all the time and we don’t always get punished for them. Even you do wrong things.”
How do I explain to her that now as an adult, I sometimes wish I could still just get a punishment assigned to me for doing something wrong. Perhaps then I could just let it go and move on. It is funny she should bring it up right now, when I am dealing with an emotional struggle and am feeling so inadequate. Many of my mistakes are circling around in my head, and I am having a hard time just letting them go, forgiving myself, moving on. Yes, we all do bad things, and we all have to live with the consequences. It’s just that as a kid, the consequences are more obvious, and visible to all those around. As an adult, they are often hid inside.
I know that I’m not right in this. I know that God has forgiven me and I must forgive myself. Most of these things, I have deliberated over and have decided there is nothing I need to do to make things right. I just need to accept that I’m not perfect, pray that God will work in spite of my mistakes, and keep on going.
I didn’t explain all this to Elise. She is a lot like me, and sometimes I worry that she will deal with these same issues as she gets older. I hope she doesn’t, but I think because I worry she might, I try not to bring up more things for her to worry about. I’ll talk her through it if she gets to that point, but no need complicating her life right now. “It’s my job,” I told her. “I am supposed to help you learn to obey and giving you punishments for doing wrong is how I do that. Yes, even grown ups do wrong things, and they have to figure out how to make them right, and ask God to forgive them. You need to do the same thing.” I realized that perhaps I should do a little more instruction on the making it right and asking God for forgiveness part of that. Prayer is not a big part of her life right now. Perhaps that is something we should encourage more strongly this year.