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Monday, September 24, 2012

The "Ah-Ha" Moment

I had an “ah-ha” moment this evening as I was putting the boys to bed. 

Rebekah has been in the hospital for the last 8 days, and I am exhausted physically and emotionally. The boys were bickering, name-calling, and complaining, and my usual screaming threats to tar and feather them were not working. When they continued to be nasty, for the first time in a long time, I stopped yelling back at them, grew silent and serious, and began to tell them about one of our biggest blessings of having Rebekah - appreciation for life. We almost lost Rebekah to a bowel obstruction last summer, and when this hospital trip confirmed another bowel obstruction, we all had some fear and despair of weeks in the hospital (or worse). So I explained to those precious boys that we have been gifted through Rebekah. Even my 5 year old appreciates seeing his little sister and misses her when she's not there. He understands the threat with each hospital admission.

So my conversation with those sweet boys went something like this...
Because we're a family, we will have disagreements and arguments with each other. But we need to know that, just like Rebekah, none of us are promised another day. There could be a terrible accident, and you could wake up to find out that your brother is dead. Do you really want the last memory of your brother to be that you called him a loser? Or an idiot? Don't you think that it would fill you with guilt and sadness when you remember your last conversation?

Ephesians 4:26-27 says: And "don't sin by letting anger control you." Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

So I want you all to lie here silently and say a prayer for forgiveness and a prayer for patience and love for your brother.

I left the room for a few minutes and came back to total silence. I don't think my house has EVER been that quiet.  Then I tucked them in and prayed for our whole family to have the kind of grace and forgiveness for one another that we have received ourselves.

I became really sad, because I had done something in anger recently while under the stress of Rebekah being in the hospital. I could blame it on my exhaustion and situation, but the truth is, I have to own up to my own mistakes.  And I can do that because I know being a Christian doesn't mean I am perfect... it means I can admit and recognize my imperfections.

So I called up a friend who I had hurt in a public post on Facebook, and apologized. She had even left our support group that had been her lifeline when her son was younger. And that was never my intention or desire! I would never want to take away someone's support network, or make them feel like they had to make a choice between friends.  The individual posts that led my "meltdown" aren't important.  The truth is, I acted in anger, and hurt someone as a result. But even worse, I influenced others to think ill of this mom. And, like me, she is a mom that just wants support and to advocate for her child.

So I told her sincerely, from my heart, that I am truly sorry - not just for making it a public post, but for making her out to be a terrible person. I never thought about how my post would influence others nor trigger some to send her hurtful messages as a result. And that was never my intention!! And I would never want to take away someone's support network.

I apologize to my support network also. I did not mean to make my personal issues public. I never intended to drag you down with me.  I pray that you will show grace to both of us.

Although it is very late now and I am still riddled with exhaustion and the threat of a 6 am alarm clock, I think I will sleep the next 4 hours better than I have all week. And I go to sleep praying for each of us to have many of these ah-ha moments in our lives... for it is these trials that mold us, hopefully, into better people.