The Gifts

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

It was Christmastime. Our family was in the hustle and bustle of Christmas parties, our church pageant, decorating, and shopping. With four kids ranging in age from five to fifteen, there was the normal busyness too: school, lessons, friends, etc. With all that and elderly grandparents depending on us to take them to doctor appointments that year, my mom calendar was overloaded.

In the heat of the season, my 5-year-old came to me with a request.

“Mommy, can you take me to buy presents for everyone?” he asked with gentle, sincere eyes.

“Well Sweetie, do you have any money?” I asked in return.

“Yes ma’am. I’ve saved up my birthday money. I have $20.”

I knew he had at least 5 gifts to buy, so I wasn’t confident he could afford to gift “everyone.” But he was determined. So we planned to go later that evening.

After supper we made the trek to our neighborhood Kmart store. As we were walking in, he started listing all the people he wanted to buy for. Besides his dad, siblings and me, he also listed his three grandparents! In my head I was trying to divide $20 by 8, and quickly realized he was going to have about $2.00 per gift to spend to allow for tax and everything. So I began spewing my doubt.

“Now you don’t have much money. You may not be able to buy for everyone on your list. Do you want to just get dad and your brother and sisters something?”

“No. I’ll have enough money. I want to buy them all.”

So in we went. And it was the best Christmas shopping trip ever!

I don’t remember every gift; it’s been twenty years ago. But I vividly remember searching for the first one. He wanted to go to the housewares department. We went up and down several short aisles before he stopped in front of the drinking glasses. He scanned the shelves for a few seconds and then reached and picked up a green, plastic glass. It was hard, clear plastic, fat and squatty, with raised diamond shapes etched all around the outside and a faux glass appearance.

“I’m getting this for Grandmother,” he announced.

“So… Why did pick this for her?”

He replied, “Well it’s pretty, and I think she’ll like it. And with her arthritis she has trouble holding some glasses that are slick and heavy. But this one is light, and it has those ridges on the outside so it won’t slip out of her hand. And it’s short so it won’t get tipped over so easy.”

I was a bit stunned. My 5-year-old son had logically and with compassion, thought through to choose a perfect gift for his grandmommy who had severe rheumatoid arthritis.

“And,” he finished his list of whys, “it only costs $0.50 so it leaves me with money for others.”

As we wandered all over that store, each gift was a repeat of that type scenario. Each was thought through with a focus on each person’s desires or needs and with a keen eye towards price. Silly Putty for a sibling who loved that and had lost theirs, an inexpensive nose and ear hair trimmer for Daddy from the dollar shelf, and on it went. Finally, he had chosen seven wonderful, inexpensive gifts that were just right for each family member.

“You need to go away now,” he then announced.

“Oh! Ok. But I can’t leave you alone,” I reminded him.

He thought a minute, then said, “Will you walk with me and stop where I tell you and not look the direction I’m shopping?”

I accepted his proposal and followed where he led. I let him know how much money he still had (and it wasn’t much), then dutifully turned my back to him. He shopped a minute, then walked past me with his arms and body curled protectively around my gift that he was trying to keep hidden.

We proceeded to the cash register. I let the lady know that he was buying a gift he wanted to keep secret from me. She said she would scan it first and wrap it in tissue and put it in a separate bag. After it was hidden in its bag, I could turn around and help him finish checking out. He proudly paid with his $20 and had just enough. His birthday money had been sacrificed for the family members his 5-year-old heart adored.

As we walked out of the store, I thought I had never seen a child of mine smiling so proudly and with such sheer delight. His giving heart was thrilled. He had come with a mission to give and had accomplished it.

We give gifts at Christmas because God gave us the greatest gift over two thousand years ago. He gave because He loved us. His focus was on our deep need. He purposed to give to make a way for our redemption. His was a Priceless gift that cost Him dearly.

In every aspect, my son’s gift-giving had been a reflection of the heart and motives of Father God!

In this season of gift-giving, may you reflect the Father in your giving. May you give joyfully and freely out of a heart of love. As you bless others, may the pleasure of giving bless you even more than the gifts bless those you buy for. May you remember it’s not the expensiveness of the item given that matters, it is the love and the thoughtfulness from the heart of the one who takes time to choose a gift “just for you.”

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

Nativity Night

I saw the sign on the roadside a time or two. It advertised a live nativity two nights in a row, a few hours each. The sign made no promises and I neglected to research further the forthcoming nativity in live format. My expectations were not excessively high. We approached the address with the trepidation that accompanies the uncertainty of unknown situations. The Saturday night air was breezy and slightly chilly. As we made our way to the simple setup we were offered hot chocolate and cookies by smiling ladies underneath a tent. 

“Help yourself, be careful it’s hot.” My children have never said no to an offered treat. They reached for those cookies and molten chocolate like starved men in the arctic might.

We walked a few feet away from the refreshment tent to a place where there was a single street light and a few spotlights illuminating a manger with a Mary and a Joseph and real live baby. Mary seemed a bit geriatric compared to the OG Mary aged fourteen. There were some wise guys in fancy dress, a shepherd or two, all under the age of fifteen and more in line with the original Mary’s adolescent age. There were some sheep, a couple of goats, and a donkey. A miniature donkey to be exact. 

I love a donkey. I giggled when I saw him. 

“You can pet ‘em of you want.” A voice said from the darkness. The soft sound of “Away in a Manger” played in the background. 

My husband knows my affinity for a donkey and nudged me in its direction. I hesitated. I began to step forward and then I paused. I just wasn’t sure about petting one of the main players in the night’s nativity. He nudged me again, and whispered to me, “Go pet it, you know you have always wanted to.” I step forward and I remembered some of my favorite things I relate to donkeys. Like donkeys bear a cross in their backs because they once carried a King on a Sunday now known as Palm Sunday and legend says they were so marked by the moment the breed remains that way to this day. Donkeys have a reputation for being stubborn but in fact they are careful thinkers, and if they consider a situation unsafe they will avoid it. Donkeys can see all four of their feet at the same time. 

I reached for the donkey and petted him on the head. He hardly noticed, the burning of tears filled my eyes. I recalled my favorite quote pertaining to the donkey, the one that says, “Do you believe the donkey who carried Christ really thought all that cheering and excitement was for him?” When I heard that statement for the first time I made a mental note, a vow of sorts. I want to be like that donkey. I want to carry Christ wherever I go, and I truly desire for Him to be glorified as I do. 

They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. Matthew 21:7

Christmas Cave

Last year I clicked on an ad on the social media, it was asking for seasonal holiday help. The ad stated that a state park cave was looking for seasonal employees for their Christmas Cave. I am not unfamiliar with the cave, I have traversed it a time or two but it is the summertime swimming pool that typically has my attention. I am convinced that pool is the coldest in Alabama. Within the cave there is a lake, it is just barely visible from the walking path of the cave but where it goes, how big or deep it is, or where its water source come from no one knows. Attempts to demystify such things have all reportedly failed. The cave lake has a pump and with it every year the cave personnel pump water into the gigantic swimming pool on the surface, the water there is frigid. I can testify that when the Alabama summer is triple digit temperatures outside the water in that swimming pool is most refreshing to the wilted and weary body. 

Long about the fall they shut the pool down and for years that is where my relationship with the cave state park ended. That was until last winter when I happened across the ad. 

I saw the need for seasonal Christmas help and I was baffled. What on earth would or could a cave need help for Christmas? I read on, they were looking for help to work their Christmas Cave. I paused a bit and did some deductions. After some reading I realized that in the winter the cave is transformed into a light display. I marked seeing the Christmas cave down on my list of things I would like to see and do on my Christmas to do list. 

I love Christmas lights!

I love to look at those lights all aglow. I will literally ooh and ahh at a perfect stranger’s home when I see a display as I drive by. I will seek out “good” lights and I will take the long way home just to get a glimpse of those colored and clear beacons on a string.

My initial trip to the underground lights left me a bit speechless. While the tour is self guided, I had to be prodded along by my spouse who realized my attention was anywhere but on the rest of the light seeing world and the traffic jams I was causing. I was in awe. I kept trying to figure out why the lights seemed so dramatic, so illuminated, so bright and colorful and pleasing to my eyes. I looked closely at the lights, I could see nothing especially unique about them, they could be found at the Big Box or the General Dollar Store but those lights seemed to shine brighter. I rubbed my eyes, maybe it was me, the see-er that was making the difference. I struggle with crisp visual acuity at baseline and the one and only advantage of that diminished eyesight is how beautiful those bulbs appear sans corrective lenses. To my surprise it wasn’t me either. I couldn’t figure it out and it has taken me a year, several trips to the swimming pool, countless hours pondering pursuing, reflecting, remembering and a single bible study question later to figure it out. 

It was early fall, I was studying the plagues of Egypt. I have studied them before and I am fairly familiar with them. I am typically grossed out by the plagues and it is the tenth and final plague that typically holds my attention. Passover was instituted with it and it is the plague that I enjoy studying, it points directly to Jesus and I appreciate it most. That was until the question pertaining to the ninth plague. The question asked “What was the ninth plague?”

Easy, peasy I thought. “Darkness”

I wrote confidently in my book. I prepared to move on,

“When, if ever, have you experienced total darkness?” I stopped.

Immediately in my mind I thought backwards, it was a few summers before. It was July and as hot a blue blazes we had gone swimming in that state park swimming pool and had decided to take the cave tour to cool off even further. I was with several of my favorites that day when we were asked to take a seat on a low rock and turn off our electronic devices.  We were told we were in the “deepest part of the cave.”

The guide began talking about total darkness, how the earth only has two places where total darkness exists, in a cave and in the depths of the sea. I remembered the facts about total darkness and the verbal warning that the cave lights were about to be turned off, I remembered the feeling of heaviness and oppression that came over me as I sat for what seemed like half a day in the dark but in actuality was just a little while. Time seemed to stop in the absence of the light. I remembered that moment when I answered the question about total darkness and for the first time in my life I gave the ninth plague as much press time in my head as I had the tenth.

It wasn’t until this year’s trip to the underground winter wonderland that I figured out why those cave lights shine so bright. 

I was again standing, my mouth agape, neck stretched to its limits, causing a traffic jam, my husband’s hand on my elbow attempting to move me out of the way of oncoming cave light lookers,

“It has nowhere to go!”

My disjointed statement caught my husband off guard, he deduced I was talking about the traffic jam I had caused, he responded, “I know that’s why I keep trying to get you to move.” I said it again, this time adding pertinent details.

“The lights here, they are so much brighter because they have nowhere to go. Apart from them there is total and complete darkness so the lights, they’re brighter in here, more vibrant, more alive than they are outside where the light goes on and on and on until you can’t see it anymore!”

It was a Eureka moment, I knew the verse in John 1:5 that speaks of Jesus, the Light shining in the darkness and overcoming that darkness, I knew that one of the seven “I am” statements of Jesus in John 8:12 is “I am the Light of the World.” I knew it I just hadn’t really understood just what a Light that penetrates total darkness does. That Light does more than just make the way, that Light is the way, and He shines brilliant and beautiful and the darkness is incapable overtaking the Light. The Light has come and He has overtaken the darkness and we, His people are to shine brighter in such darkness, we are to be like Dollar General Store lights in a Christmas cave, beautiful, vibrant, illuminating, and brilliant.

Imperfect

I grew up in a dysfunctional family (as so many others did) where we always tried to keep it within the four walls of our house.  I learned not to talk about what was wrong in the family, to put on a smile and pretend that everything was just fine.  I learned to hide the truth because the truth would bring shame on the family.  As an adult I continued to pretend that everything was always fine, not letting anyone know the real me because they might not like the real me, the imperfect me. 

I see my own imperfections all the time, but I am learning that it is ok to not be perfect regardless of what society tells me. I think it may be so much harder today to let our flaws be seen.  We see all the ads on how to be more perfect (to get rid of our wrinkles, have a cleaner house, drive the perfect car).  Celebrities show us how to reshape our bodies to a certain image.  Filters let us post pictures that hide all the bumps and lumps.  Social media encourages us to only post the good stuff, so we get likes or followers.  But the Bible is full of imperfect people.  God’s word does not use filters to hide the bad stuff.  It puts it right in front of us.  Some of the most admired people in the Bible had huge flaws but were still used by God. 

Here are just a few examples:

  • Rahab was a pagan prostitute who helped the spies of Israel escape.
  • David is probably the most famous king of Israel, but he committed adultery and murder.
  • The beloved apostle John had a bad temper.
  • Martha was so busy being hospitable she missed out on sitting at Jesus feet.

Everyone, except Jesus, who has or ever will live on this earth, is imperfect.  So today I encourage all of us to stop pretending; let it all hang out and see what God will do with our imperfection. Don’t worry about whether there are dirty dishes in the sink and toys all over the house, if you have the perfect clothes or if you don’t have any makeup on. Just listen to what God is saying to you and let others into your imperfect-ness.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. “  2 Corinthians 12:9 (CSB)

Race Runners

“I crossed the finish line!” 

I had never met her before, but I love having a conversation with the hip-high part of the population, so I instinctively turned my head to her. 

She was by my estimation about four years old. She was just slightly pudgy wearing a pair of pink shorts that were riding up a tad in the middle. Her once pristine white shirt had a rainbow and a unicorn on it. Alongside some smudges of fudge icing from the doughnut she’d finished off were drips of red sports drink. She had a partial temporary tattoo on her arm, I think it had been a ribbon but I couldn’t rightly tell. She skipped as she walked and she smiled as she’d made her declaration about crossing the finish line. She thrust her congratulatory card my way.

I smiled in response, 

“I know I saw you!” 

I had been tasked with the job of onsite medical and had firmly planted myself, my baggie full of bandaids and cool washcloths at the start-finish line. I had a bucket of water in preparation for those runners who lose their breakfast or aforementioned hastily consumed doughnuts. I had an umbrella for rain, sanitizer for hands and salve for scrapes. 

My new friend was most proud of her accomplishment post one mile fun run. She had run alongside people of all ages and from all walks of life. A precious middle schooler who just shy of a year ago endured three nine hour back and leg surgeries in less than six months time. She walked that fun run (with a rod through her femur and rods, screws and bolts holding her spine together) with survivors of cancers and those walking in honor of those who had not survived. A former nurse, now a grandmother, pushed her elderly dachshund in a stroller. I had seen them all cross the finish line, I’d watched them all. For the ones I knew the story, and for the ones I did not, I cheered and clapped until my hands were raw and tingling. I’d cried tears of joy and ones that could not be defined, and I had done it for no reason in particular except that they had tried and had finished the race. They had indeed crossed the finish line. 

Second Timothy 4:7 says “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” I used to genuinely think that verse was about running and I am in no way a runner. I figured that verse in the King’s Book wasn’t for me. It wasn’t until I realized that those words were written to Timothy from his spiritual father Paul at the end of Paul’s life that I understood. These words were likely Paul’s last ones to his son of sorts, and he likened his life, his walk of faith, to a race. He didn’t say he had finished in first place or as best, but he had completed it. He described it as having crossed the finish line.

The four-year-old was certainly no first place winner or fastest participant, but she was a participant full of joy, and when she declared to me what I already knew, it challenged me to run my race of faith with joy and when the time comes for me to cross the finish line to do so knowing the Lord will say,

 “I know I saw you!” 

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

1 Timothy 4:7-8

In Everything Give Thanks!

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

It’s that day. The day we are supposed to be thankful. Some of us will embrace it joyfully and wholeheartedly, thankful for food, relationships, health, … thankful for life.

Others of us will struggle. We find ourselves at a crossroads with unexpected things just ahead. We may be alone, wounded, hurt or rejected. We could be in a place we’d rather not be: a hospital, rehab, temporary accommodations. Instead of a feast of turkey, dressing, sides and desserts, we may be staring at meager fare, a microwaved plate, or an unappealing bed tray.

If you find yourself in a strange place, with strange people or hard circumstances and microscopic amounts of a thankful spirit, you are not alone. You are in the company of many other people, and you are under the watchful care of the Father.

We often equate thankfulness with good things and abundance only, but scripture instructs us to give thanks in everything. In every situation.

In sickness… I may not be thankful hugging a toilet bowl throwing up with a stomach bug, but I can be thankful that I have a home in which to be sick and to rest.

When family and friends aren’t around… I can be thankful I’m alive and have opportunity to make friends or to be with family another time.

If money is tight… I can be thankful for the clothes I’m wearing and a place to stay.

As I grieve the loss of a loved one… I can be thankful for having had them in my life and that God made us to have memories, where I can always recall our good times together.

In joblessness… facing court… being alone in a foreign country (as many of our military and others are)… sitting at an empty table… in the darkness of depression… staring a cancer diagnosis in the face… brokenhearted over a family member trapped in addiction… grieving a loss… or whatever difficult thing you are facing, here are some things you can be thankful for.

Life. Breath. Emotions. Love. Jesus. God’s world. Quiet or Joyful noise. Shelter. Warmth. Compassionate People. Your fellow church members. The Present – This Moment. Pets. Colors. Music. Yummy things – Taste. Sight or Hearing or Mobility. Kindness. The Lessons your trial is teaching your heart. God’s Word. Prayer. Salvation. That God will be your refuge and will come through for you and will work all things for good.

Find things to be thankful for today – large or small. Write them down and look at them. Gratefulness encourages our heart. Be grateful.

Hope the following songs encourage you! Happy Thanksgiving!

“He Will” by Ellie Holcombe Red Sea Road by Ellie Holcombe You are Loved by Ellie Holcombe

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Priceless and the GFBC Women’s Ministry!

Hidden Brokenness

She was about 13 or 14 I think. My kids were outside playing a game of basketball when the ball bounced up on the porch. My daughter jumped up the steps to get the ball but as she made her way down she missed a step and rolled her ankle. I knew it hurt and I knew it was going to be painful but I didn’t think much of it. I iced it, gave her some Ibuprofen and called it a day. The next morning it didn’t seem swollen and wasn’t even bruising so I sent her to school. She complained of how painful it was, but I insisted she was being dramatic and forced her to go. By the end of the day her ankle was twice if not three sizes what it should have been and bruised doesn’t even begin to cover it. We went straight to the doctor for an X-ray and found out her ankle was broken. I won Mom of the Year for that one!

I missed the bottom step of our basement stairs a few weeks back and rolled my own ankle. Oh, it’s nothing major and the carpet burn on my foot hurt worse than my ankle but it took me right back to the day my daughter was hurt. As that memory has been fresh on my mind and my own ankle has been healing I’ve thought a lot about brokenness that we can’t always see.

For whatever reason my daughter’s broken ankle wasn’t evident until she spent an entire school day walking on it. But, yet, the brokenness was still there. A lot of times I’ve walked around with a broken heart or spirit but no one had a clue. It took time for the brokenness to boil its way to the top and become visible.

I think as women we tend to believe the lie that we can’t show our brokenness to the world. We hold it all in and keep it to ourselves and honestly, we don’t even share it with God. Or, maybe that’s just me. There’s a part of me that thinks I have to always be strong and be numb to how I’m truly feeling. I’ve bought into the lie that I don’t deserve to be hurt or that I’m weak if I show my cracks.

But, ya know what I’m learning? The light can only show through when there’s cracks! Friend, when we hold onto our hurts and brokenness for dear life we’re never allowing God to heal any part of it. It’s as if we think the cracks will ruin us when in reality it’s the cracks that make us beautiful!

So, today, take your brokenness and share it with God. And, when the time is right, share it with someone else. You never know who needs to hear your story. Our stories are meant to be told. Their meant to be entrusted to our Father. Their meant to mold and shape us and if we keep them hidden all they’ll ever do is swell and bruise and cause us pain. Let it go, sister. Free yourself from the brokenness and trust the ONE who heals it all! ❤️

Harvest

“Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”  John 4:35 (NIV)

I wrote the following paragraphs at least a year ago:

“This morning I decided to pull up the tomato plants that I eagerly planted months ago.  I was tired of tending them now. I took a bowl and harvested the last of the ripe and semi-ripe fruit on the vine.  I looked at each tomato, was it ripe or close enough, did it have any flaws, any bug bites, was it damaged by the wind or not enough or too much water, was it worth picking?  I looked at the ones that fell on the ground; were they hurt, or could I add them to the bowl.  As the bowl got fuller, I got pickier, discarding some that I might have added earlier.

How thankful I am that Jesus is not like me harvesting the tomatoes.  He doesn’t tire of tending to me or you. He doesn’t discard those of us that have been bitten, bruised and damaged by life.  He carefully cradles me and you in his arms, heals the bumps and bruises and loves each of us regardless of our state.  There isn’t a ‘no vacancy’ sign in Jesus’ bowl, it’s big enough for all who believe. 

My prayer today is that if you are bruised or broken by life, hurting, or discouraged, you will turn to the One who can heal and love you as God intended. Know that Jesus will embrace you and love you just as you are. “

As I reread those words, I recalled how I felt that morning; I just didn’t have it in me to keep tending those tomato plants.  Sometimes today I look around at all that is going on and I feel tired of trying to keep going amid all that I see.  But I remember that Jesus called on us to continue just as he continued all the way to the cross, to the grave, to the resurrection.  To continue isn’t to just exist; for me it is to be a worker in whatever way I can. 

“Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  Matthew 9:37-38 (NIV)

Continue. Finish Strong.

Ailments

“Mame what’s-a-ailen’ you youngin’?”

The interrogative would be posed to me often. My Mam-maw could’ve said, “What is wrong with you?” Or “Is something bothering you?” But her mountain raising and simple cut to the chase methodology led to her all encompassing question. 

“What’s a-ailin’ you youngin?”

She knew me well enough to know when something wasn’t quite right. She would know even if I didn’t quite know what it was myself. I don’t rightly know how she always knew, but she did. 

Maybe I was as a child as I am now as an adult, somewhat melancholic. But I reckon it had to have been her God-given intuition. 

She’d ask me what was a-ailing me even as I grew older and her mind began to give way more often than not to the thief of Alzheimer’s. 

She would ask the question as to the source of my ailment, my pain, be it physical, emotional or spiritual. 

In all fairness I didn’t always know and couldn’t always say what the source of my ailment was but I was always mystified how she knew there was a source to be found. So many times she’d just snuggle in close or hug me and I immediately felt better.

Mam-maw went to heaven a long while ago and nobody has asked me that exact question in quite some time but in the wee hours of the morning over a rerun episode of Andy Griffith, it came rushing back to me and so did some tears. I was caught completely off guard. Barney was silently, sulking around the courthouse when Andy asked Barney what was a-ailing him. 

In the days of late my heart has been aching. Try as I may, I can’t quite shake the sadness. 

Like my Mam-maw my little pup seems to know my heart is achy and she’s been extra close and hot on my heels. The evening I had a bad headache, she wouldn’t find herself too far from me. I found myself wondering just how she knew. I’d not said anything out loud, hadn’t telepathically communicated it that I knew of, she just knew I needed some extra snuggles and firmly planted her wiener dog body at my side. 

She was still there about 4 in the morning when Andy was on the TV and  had posed the obvious question to Barney. I realized in that moment how much I missed Mam-maw and her ways. 

Sometimes grief is like that, just hits you out of nowhere and is compounded by other loneliness, losses and sadness. Then as Barney droned in about his issue, and my wiener snuggled in closer, I came to a realization. 

In our sadness and brokenness, the King is near, He snuggles in close like that wiener and we don’t even have to tell Him something is wrong, like my Mam-maw and my pup, He already knows. 

He already knows how bad it hurts and sad we are. He already knows and He promises to stick close and to intercede for us in the places we need it most even if we don’t even know how to say what those are. 

Forgive the Unforgiveable

About a year ago I did a thing! We only had one vehicle at the time and it was a truck that my husband loved. Me? I hated it. I work downtown so I park in a parking deck and I ran over everything and bumped into everything and I found myself anxious every time I drove it. It was nice and comfy when he drove it, but it was big and bulky when I did. I sort of sprung this random idea on him about trading it in on a car. He didn’t technically say no so I went to the local dealer and traded it in.

A few weeks past and the reality of what I had done settled in for both of us. While I was happy with the car and the fact that I was no longer a threat to society in the truck I felt guilty for the way I had handled it. I brought up the subject and he was honest and shared how he would have rather kept the truck and bought me a car and I was honest about my reasons (aka threat to pedestrians near and far). We both apologized and moved on.

Then one random weekend the subject of vehicles made its way into our conversation and the truck incident came up again. I felt this need to apologize and he stopped me and said, “You didn’t really do anything wrong, you’ve already apologized, I’ve just got to deal with the outcome of it all.”

His statement caused me to ponder which led me to a podcast where this same thing was mentioned again. The podcast was about forgiveness and how we not only have to forgive the person but we have to forgive the ripple effect of their actions. Not gonna lie…this one stung a little bit. Okay, okay…it stung A LOT. I struggle with forgiveness. I’ve been hurt…deeply hurt and I’ve got a lot of baggage because of it, and in that moment when I was listening to that podcast I realized that while I have forgiven the person, I haven’t forgiven the consequences of their actions and the deep wounds it has left on my heart. Deep inside I’m still holding on to my anger which, truthfully, is now shreds of bitterness.

So, here I am being as raw and real and exposed as I’ve ever been. Trying to process what God has shown me and looking for the courage to forgive what I would consider unforgivable. But, you know what….out there in this big ole world there’s someone who is struggling with forgiving me and the consequences of my actions on their life. Grace goes both ways. I’ve been wronged but I’ve also handed out some wrong of my own. So, it’s a new day and a new chance to do the unthinkable… to forgive the unforgivable 💛