Work In Progress. Forgiveness Granted, Grace Required.

About a month ago my 9-year-old got invited to a birthday party. It was a pretty big deal because the parents of the birthday girl had rented out a local attraction that consists of wall-to-wall trampolines. Serious fun for kids. So, being the busy working mother that I am, I put it on my phone calendar and even set the alarm for the day before so she would not miss this special event. I didn’t put the alarm on the day of the event because it was on a Sunday and I didn’t want my alarm to go off during church. Though this is her second year in a new school, a new class meant a room full of new faces again at the beginning of the year. So when friendships grow strong enough that she is invited to a party, it’s a big deal.

Sunday evening, THE Sunday evening rolled around and I was making dinner. Charity, my little girl came up to me in a panic, “MOM, the PARTY!” My heart sank. “What time is it?!” “Oh Honey, I’m so sorry, I totally forgot,” I said. “What time is it?” She asked again. “It’s 5:30,” I said as I continued to apologize for missing the most exciting event of her year. She said, “Maybe it’s a really long party.” She wasn’t giving up hope. I had to let her know that the party was long over. She said, “I can’t believe we missed it,” and quietly disappeared to her room for a while.

Later that evening we were reading together and she said again, “I can’t believe we missed it.” Once again, the guilt swept over me and I started telling her how sorry I was. She looked up at me and saw just how I was feeling. At that moment she forgot all about herself and said, “Mom, it’s ok, don’t feel bad…. really mom, it’s ok.” “Maybe someone else will have a party and maybe they will invite me and maybe they will have it at the same place.” She was trying to make us both feel better. It worked. She forgave me. She completely let me off the hook that night and has never brought it up since. I was very proud of the budding character growing in her life.

More recently, I went into her room to kiss her good night and found a Tupperware with cheese and crackers that I had put in her lunch a few weeks earlier. I raised my brow and gave her an inquiring disgusted look, to which she replied, with a playful grin “Hey, I’m a work in progress!” All I could do was smile. She gets it.

She knows she has not reached perfection and she knows God is still at work in her (and her mom’s) life. She gets forgiveness and grace. She gave me forgiveness when I forgot her big event and she fully expected grace to cover when her moldy cheese was discovered.

Sometimes we hurt one another. Sometimes we don’t live up to expectations. Some of the hurts are much larger than a forgotten birthday party. Some of our shortcomings are far greater than a Tupperware of moldy cheese. But the principles remain the same.

Sometimes we are quick to lap up the grace of God for our own sins but we want to hold others in contempt for theirs. We just can’t have it both ways. “Forgive us our sins AS we forgive those who sin against us.” “If you forgive others, God will forgive you. If you do not forgive others, God will not forgive you.” It is pretty straightforward. We don’t have to look at any scholar’s commentaries to understand those scriptures. We just have to be willing to obey.

There is not a thresh hold of emotional pain where God excuses our bitterness. The principle remains the same regardless. We must forgive.

Forgiveness is simple. I didn’t say easy, I said simple. It is extending grace in spite of our pain and trusting God to be both the judge over the offense and covering of our hurts.

Sometimes I have seen that people who know they have been forgiven much, forgive more easily. Some of us who have grown up in the church fail to recognize the greatness of the Grace that is needed to cover our own wretchedness.

It is good to be reminded that forgiveness is not just a one-time event that was lavished upon me at salvation. It is an imperative part of my daily life if I call myself a Christian. I am very thankful that these principles are alive and at work in the life of my little girl. As I drop her off at school these days, I often yell out the window to her now, “Good bye Work In Progress, Have a Great Day!”

5 Responses to “Work In Progress. Forgiveness Granted, Grace Required.”
  1. LeRoy Dean says:

    Wonderful article.

  2. Brittany Wanless says:

    I love how you notice these “little” things to understand the greater picture! So beautiful!

  3. Gloria says:

    Lori you understand the heart of your child. She is mature for her young years. How many children would be that understanding. My heart hurt for you too Lori. I can imagine how terrible you felt that she missed such a fun experience with her little friends. …… I think the NEXT EVENT she might MARK the date in her own cell phone.

  4. Kim Chaffin says:

    Lori, beautiful words. So happy you are going to write 2 times a month. your words are wonderful and we are all a work in progress. that is one of my favorite stories and the other day I said to my husband that just like your girl, I am a work in progress.

  5. Edie Conners says:

    Haven’t gone to your blog in awhile but loved this one. I hope your children know what a special mother you are. How I wish I could have a “do-over” in raising my children. To have your faith and insight would be wonderful. Your parents raised 3 of the most beautiful girls (inside and out) that I have ever met. Keep up your “trail of faith”.

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