I was thinking to myself yesterday how much lighter my heart is now than it used to be. In my heart, I truly feel rest. Peace. Joy. Even with a busy toddler and a newborn, I find myself rarely stressed at the end of the day. This is a change. I have always been happy, but I can definitely assure you that the past year has proven itself to be very difficult, and I felt a great burden in my heart- even on a "good day."
This feeling of rest crept up on me, and treated me to a grand realization that life is good. It really is. My circumstances haven't changed- in fact, they are worse in some ways. I am taking an extended maternity leave with no money in the bank after a frank call from God to be "mommy at home." God wasn't kidding when he said that following His call wasn't easy, but it sure brings rest to the soul.
Other contributing factors? Yes. This blog! Knowing I'm living my life without regret gives me peace of spirit. How could it not?
Exercising. A lot. Yes, this is always a great boost of the lovely endorphins in my brain.
Choosing to use simple consequences that speak for themselves instead of yelling at Noah or getting frustrated and overwhelmed.
Today, my story is forgiveness. The mysterious artform that developes all too late for many people. I have had certain ebs and flows in my life where I held to something painful in my heart. Instead of letting it go I allowed it to fester and grow into a small piece of bitterness below a bubbly exterior. If I let the hurt go, I was saying to myself that it didn't hurt, or that it was OK, and to me; it wasn't. I wanted "them" to understand how much "they" hurt me. I wanted to hear, "I'm sorry." And let's face it, I still want to hear, "I'm sorry."
After years- yes, years; I have finally spoken to a few of the people in my life and let them know how I felt. How much I hurt. Not everyone, (not like there are a lot)but sometimes you have to wait for the right moment. Maybe it's because I'm not ready. Maybe they're the one who isn't ready to hear. Regardless, I'm waiting. Wiating for the conversation, but I'm not waiting to let go.
One of my favorite quotes is from Max Lucado, and it has impacted my life tremendously. He says, "God will never call you to give anyone more grace than He has already given you." Wow. Forgiveness doesn't justify anything. It doesn't mean you are admitting fault, or admitting they were right. It just sets you free. That's all. Will the pain or the memory be gone in that instance? No. Sometimes there are layers upon layers of feelings that come out at different times of your life, or when new memories come to mind. But, at that moment, do yourself a great favor and make the choice to forgive them again. Forgive that person for that moment as many times as you need to. Forgive them again and again. And maybe again.
Setting yourself free from the devastating effects of bitterness or anger will promote a new life. A life that isn't free from difficult times, but one that chooses a perspective of joy. A heart that has rest for you, and for those around you. I truly hope that over time, Jeremy will notice that I am happier at the end of the day. That there aren't little bits of yuckiness in my heart that can creep out and bite at the first sign of a crying baby, or a toddler who doesn't feel like listening. That, my heart has a restfulness knowing that I won't regret having held onto something that held me back instead of allowing for a joyful song.