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Forgiveness – the constant struggle

01/05/2017 - Author: Natasha Phillips

I think, in my life anyway, one of the things I have the hardest time with is forgiveness. Forgiving myself, forgiving others and for forgiving situations. The really sad part is that I seem to be able to forgive a stranger easier and faster than I can forgive those who love me.

This started many years ago when I was probably about 6 or 7. I remember standing outside of the bathroom in the house we lived in talking to my mom. I forget what it was that had happened that was a punishable offense…but what I do remember is that it was both my sister and I getting sternly talked to and asking to own up to whatever this offence was. At that stage of my life I had a tendency to tell stories…something otherwise known as a lie…a punishable offense that I perfected well into my early 20’s. Anyway, I am getting sidetracked.  It should be known that I lied at that age because I also did not like displeasing anyone, not because I was afraid of the punishment…that came later. So here we were, my sister Micah, 18 months my junior and myself answering mom about something one of us did that was going to be punished by a spanking. It is also important to note that, while my younger sister has always been a ‘better’ person, more faithful or more understanding than me…she is my best friend, my confidant, my warrior and she liked to bite me when we were younger. She would pick on me mercilessly…I honestly don’t remember it, but have heard stories…but she didn’t lie either, she was good…she was bouncy, a klutz and a mess but she was good. So here we were being asked who did this punishable offense and I emphatically denied it. I denied it because in this one instance…I truly did not do it. My mom then looked at my sister and asked her if she did to which Micah replied, “no I didn’t. Tasha did.” No matter my pleadings in that moment or explanations or cries to Micah to tell the truth my mom believed her and not me. I received the punishment…a swift pain brought on by the end of a wooden spoon. I think my tears and crushed spirit about did my sister in because she ended up owning up to whatever the error was that had been committed and then she too was disciplined. However, in that moment, when i felt so betrayed I didn’t know if I could forgive her and when she asked I didn’t right away. Thus began my struggle of forgiveness.

I couldn’t at that point understand that because of my tendency to story telling it was hard for my mother to believe me. Now being a mother, watching my own children with their personalities and differences, as a mother I take that into account. It is a hard thing to admit…that I struggle with forgiving others. I am often faced with the reality that I can say i forgive…but do I truly? I hardly every forget. Of course I have totally forgiven Micah for that unimaginable offense that happened so many years ago but that isn’t what I am talking about. I am mostly talking about in my marriage or adult friendships. When I feel so wrongly accused or slighted or mis-judged (because we aren’t supposed to judge right?!), or mis-treated. Sometimes I feel justified in not forgiving, in not moving on, in not growing. Other times I wonder if it is okay to forgive but not to forget, or, if its okay to forgive but not to accept the way I am being treated and to stand up for myself…for my kids…for my family. When is it okay and when isn’t it okay? Christ came as a baby, died on the cross so that we may all have the opportunity to live with Him in paradise…HE forgave the sins that had been committed and those that would be committed…even by me. He FORGAVE those that killed Him pleading with His Father to also forgive them “for they know not what they are doing”. How do I as a human forgive on that level? How do I love with that kind of love? And is it okay for me to stand up and say I love you, I forgive you but I do not accept this? What does that look like?

2 Comments - Categories: The Journey

The Beginning of a Journey

- Author: Natasha Phillips

A new year…new resolutions, new goals, new outlook and new adventures. With the new also comes regret of resolutions broken in the years gone by, goals not met, a negative thought or thoughts that may have encompassed you in the year past and a regret of adventures not seized.

A long time ago there was a little girl. She was innocent, full of spirit, adventurous, a tom boy and a helper. She loved life and life loved her. They were kind to each other and opportunities seemed endless. Dreams of India filled her head and heroes like Clara Barton, Amy Carmichael, Mother Teresa, Adoniram Judson and Jim Elliot inspired her soul. She was happy and lived a charmed life…a different and unusual life but charmed all the same. As she grew so did her restlessness. Her identity became more grounded in other people, in what she thought she should be allowed to do versus what the Lord had in store for her. Her desire to live of the earthly world with one foot in the world set aside for her by the death of Christ on the cross took hold. She was like a bird looking for shiny objects. She could be easily influenced and also appear righteous. Life became hard, it became burdensome and it became lonely. She was outside of the will and plan that had been cast on her life from the moment she was born. She was outside of the direction and counsel of those who loved her and wanted what was best for her. And then…in a snap of a finger she was back…with visions of helping others, encouraging, becoming what she should in the Lord and yet again she became distracted. This is the cycle she was stuck in, the ever evolving wheel of good versus evil, our heart versus our mind and Satan versus the King. This little girl…she grew up to become me…and this is my story of finding the will God has for my life. The plan He has set from the beginning. I do not know how this story is going to end. I know what I am going to say next and I know how I want to proceed…but I do not know where it is going. I wish I did…but you…along with myself…will have to wait and see. My prayer on this journey is that you will begin to pray with me, that you will be encouraged and that I grow…that I grow in the plans that have been laid for me since I was in my mothers womb. I look forward to this journey with excitement, trepidation, and with an open heart. Please join me…follow along and maybe we can encourage each other.

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No Comments - Categories: Family Stories and Reflection, The Journey