A Lesson in Forgiveness

I was in the bathroom getting ready when I heard the screaming.

Dominic had been invited to attend a seminar tonight as one of their featured guests and we were 30 minutes from the time we had to leave. When we heard the screams we both went running to see what was going on.

Karlena came into the kitchen holding her mouth, blood covering her chin and teeth. It looked awful to me and I was pretty sure she needed stitches…but the clinics were all closed for the day and our only option was the ER.

I called my dad, he is a PA, and asked if we could send him some pictures. He confirmed that it needed to be treated. He said they may be able to glue it together but we needed to go in. A few calls were made to the group that was putting on the seminar to notify them we wouldn’t be attending, and we got ready to leave.

I sent a quick vox to some close friends asking for prayer. Prayer for Karlena and prayer for me. I have struggled to parent well in a few situations recently, and this was testing me in a big way. You see our son had pushed his sister and caused the accident.

I knew it wasn’t his intent to hurt her…but I was angry nonetheless. I wanted to handle this appropriately…it was important that he understand how serious this was. But on the other hand, despite his rough and tumble exterior, he is a boy with a tender spirit.

And if I am being completely honest with you, it is my nature to lay blame and also to create an environment filled with anger. And that is a dangerous combination!!

So we went to the ER and our brave girl was glued back together. Her lip continues to swell and because of the position of the steri-strip she is having a hard time opening her mouth very wide. Dominic told Elijah to come with so he could see what Karlena had to go through.

It is important that our kids understand that there are consequences to their actions….and sometimes they are painful ones.

Before we left the ER, Karlena was given this little bag with a coloring book, markers and a matching game for being so brave. We got home and one of the first things Karlena did was look at her brother and tell him that she forgave him. And then she asked if he wanted to play with the new things in her bag.

I was taken aback at how quickly she not only offered forgiveness but also took a step towards restoring the relationship. There was no blame or shame and guilt. Just love. Oh the lessons that I can learn from my 6yr old.

I went over to our E and hugged him and reminded him that we loved him. We talked about how our actions can hurt someone else, even if we didn’t mean to and we reminded him that he needs to learn from this lesson. But ultimately I want him to know that he is loved, especially when he has done something wrong.

I so desperately want to make sure that we are a home filled with love even when things aren’t “perfect.” I don’t ever want my kids to grow up thinking that our love was conditional based on their behavior. I was reminded tonight that I can teach consequences and model love simultaneously. 

Karlena taught me that forgiveness can be swift and without conditions and relationships can be restored without guilt, even when the pain still remains. What a gift she gave me tonight.

I know that I too must remain teachable. I can learn from my mistakes and seek to make better choices, and I can love well in the difficult and the easy.

Not what I had planned or expected for my Saturday night! And if you think about it would you say a prayer for our girl tonight? She is starting to notice the pain more now and everything feels swollen and “weird.” Hopefully if all goes well it will heal with little scarring but she is going to feel a little uncomfortable for the next several days. Thank you friends!!

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