Day 34: The Heart of the Matter is Forgiveness

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Today is Saturday and I’ve been up since 4:30 AM. Why? I don’t know for sure, but I have a few theories.

Theory #1: My 42-year-old, soon to be 43 year-old bladder is not what it once was. When I have to tinkle, I gotta get in there and do it like pronto, no messin’ around or else there will be a mess. This might be too much info, but I’ve been known to pee myself on the front porch because I waited a little too long to use the facilities. So this morning when my bladder alarm sounded, I was up and at em’.

Theory #2: I have a lot to do today and God needed to have a talk with me before I embarked upon this busy Saturday. Some of my priorities have gotten out of order, and well…I needed a bit of loving correction. And, I am happy to report that I took it like a champ. I received what was being said and now I am moving on in hopes of becoming that better person.

Theory #3: And the winner, winner chicken dinner; I’m gonna go with a combination of the two. So, here I am, an hour later blogging for the first time in almost two weeks. I am woman, hear me roar. I feel like the Energizer Bunny on coffee…gallons coffee. But I am fairly confident that today’s blog will touch many, even uplift and inspire some, so here goes.

Today I want to talk to you about forgiveness. Yes, again. Don’t roll your eyes, just hear me out. I must admit that when my devotional this morning was on forgiveness, I was a little irritated. I mean, I’ve been working really hard on forgiving others, myself and asking people for forgiveness. I seriously thought that I was working overtime in this area and was evolving into a master of amnesty. Then, two names popped into my head and there it was.

I have been harboring resentment and unforgiveness for two of my best friends, more like sisters, for over five months. When we house any form of unforgiveness or resentment, things aren’t right. Our lives are out of sync and we block our blessings. For me, it’s like an uncomfortable itch that absolutely will not go away until it is dealt with. This itch has become excruciatingly painful, so today is the day of reckoning and I do believe part of the reason for my 4:30 AM wake-up call.

In August we moved from the town that my husband and I and our four children grew up in. I was in the midst of my alcoholism and I had successfully isolated myself from many people. I didn’t want them to know that I was drinking everyday and if I didn’t see or talk to them, my secret would remain safe. Besides, we were busy with the move and that would be good enough reason to avoid them.

On August 4th, I had my tonsils removed and I promised myself that I would stop drinking. And I did… for about six days. But in those six days, I allowed the devil to come in and take hold of my thoughts and plant some pretty vile seeds. In my mind, I became the victim of a “friendship violation.” How dare my friends not come and visit me while I was recuperating from my surgery. How horrible they were for not making me broth and bringing me flowers and sending me to my new life on a float with a parade in my honor. Duh…I was ready to receive them in my life again. I was free of alcohol; didn’t they know this?

And I swear to you, some form of this pity party continued until just this morning. The difference is; today I did not RSVP. Nope, I sent off two text messages at 6:33 and 6:35 AM and asked my two friends/sisters to forgive me for harboring this resentment towards them. And guess what happened? Those chains were broken and I have been set free. My heart is lighter and my “itch” is gone. I’m not kidding. Gone! And I refuse to take it back.

Newsflash: We should let go off all fear after we ask for forgiveness. Remember how Joseph’s brothers feared retaliation from him after their father’s death? He had already forgiven them, but they had not fully received his forgiveness. They threw themselves at his feet and begged for absolution again. Joseph was moved to tears by their pleas and then reassured his siblings that his grace and mercy remained in tact and nothing would change that.

By the world’s standards, Joseph had every right to make his brothers pay heartily for selling him into slavery. But Joseph didn’t live by the world’s standards and neither should we. He knew that God had a plan for him even in the darkest of times. And he knew that the actions of his brothers were meant to harm him, but that God intended it for good. That is faith, my friends.

I am hopeful that my sisters will allow God to take the ashes of our friendships and turn them into beauty.  I think that is the hope of most people when asking for forgiveness. Still, we cannot allow their decision about whether or not to grant us clemency to influence our decision to ask for it. If they decide not to forgive us, that’s okay. It’s not the outcome that we desire, but it is and will continue to be okay. God loves us that much and if a void is left, He will fill it if we allow him to.

Today, do yourself a favor. Take a forgiveness inventory. If there are people that you need to forgive, or people that you need to apologize to, talk to God about it. He will help you find the peace that only authentic forgiveness can bring. Open your heart to Him and allow Him to gift you with the necessities for your own forgiveness journey.

One thing is for sure; forgiveness is a gift and so is sobriety. My journey is allowing me to clean out my closets and dust off the cobwebs in my life. And with that comes clarity of heart, soul, spirit and mind. And for this, I am truly blessed and so are you.

My cup runneth over. I hope yours does, too.

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Hello my Name is Kristen & I am a Mother Hen

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Have you ever had one of those mornings when you just wanted to go back to bed and pull the covers over your head? Of course you have. I mean, none of us are perfect, right?

We had one of those mornings in the Witt household today. In my family, I am the self-proclaimed “peacemaker.” By self-proclaimed I mean that without me, the fireworks and arguing would continue until there were mass casualties; be that physically, emotionally or mentally. Feelings get hurt, pride rears it’s ugly head and sometimes harsh words are spoken. Siblings fight, parents argue, even the dogs get involved on a daily basis. And so usually, “Mother Hen” (thats me) swoops in and saves the day. I know that when my husband calls me by this title, it is definitely not a term of endearment. But, guess what? I chose to make it a title of honor  and I am considering getting a blinged out shirt to wear so that anyone who needs my mother hen services will feel comfortable asking for them. I would most definitely begin every session by reminding everyone involved that words hurt and once spoken, cannot be sucked back in and swallowed. Food for thought, right?

Though it’s been a festive Christmas season, things have been a bit tense at times around the Witt homestead. My oldest son is home from college and at the ripe old age of 22, seems to think he knows everything. He’s an “adult” now and should be treated as such. The fleshy part of me wants to belly laugh and bill him for his cell phone, insurance, etc. But, alas, I will not and patiently wait for the day when he has his own 22 year old son who thinks he knows it all. Oh, won’t that be sweet revenge, um I mean reality. (Insert evil laugh here.)

After the fireworks and waterworks this morning, I retired to my room to regain my sanity and I will admit, had a brief pity party. Thankfully, I sold my shares of the winery, so I kept my wits about me. (Pun intended.) I had a cry, more like a hysterical sob and thought about who I could call in this crisis situation that would make me feel better and validate the way I was feeling. Well, no one RSVP’d to my party, so I cried out to God. “Why is this happening? How come I don’t have parents who love me to walk me through crappy situations? What have I done to deserve this? I’m sick of this, God!” A lot more was said, but you get the idea.

I think I must have just tuckered myself out with all of the crying and dialoging because I finally just laid on my bed and listened for God to answer me. “Well, God. I’m waiting.” Ya, let’s not be sassy with God. “Okay, Lord. I love you and I know that You love me. Please walk me through what to do here. I want to do it Your way because mine doesn’t work.” Instant peace. I’m not even kidding. Total peace and comfort. Hmmm…

I glanced over at my nightstand and low and behold, was my daily devotional for spiritual warfare. I turned to December 27th and read the message and the prayer. The scripture covered Isaiah 40:1-5,11 and though I read it all and every word applied to the way I was feeling, one part really saturated my heart. “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength’ they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Wait. What? My pity party was unnecessary? My God will renew my strength, as long as I seek him first and not try to do everything on my own and in my own power? I already knew this, but somehow in the chaos of the morning, I shut God out and thought I could do it better on my own. Imagine how much more smoothly my household would have run and how much less exhausting my Mother Hen session would have been had I allowed God to work through me. Wow. Yes, I want to run and not grow weary; I mean after all, being married to Ken, having four kids and teaching full time has me in a constant marathon. I need my Heavenly Father and not just when I’m in full meltdown mode. It’s time to be proactive in the Word and not reactive to life. Oh, that’s good; maybe even blinged out t-shirt status good.

Good talk, Lord. Thanks. So, with a smile on my face and my Christmas pajamas and messy hair in place, I proceeded to walk down the hall and pour a cup of coffee. I was refreshed, renewed and rejuvenated. Chisholm remarked that I looked “a lot better” and I told him that Jesus and I had a meeting and it went well. He just smiled and said, “That’s good mom.” I smiled back and hugged him.

Something else that should be mentioned is that even though I thought I needed to “vent” to friends following the fireworks, no one was available to validate my craziness. And that’s good. This opened the door for some much needed dialogue with God because Lord knows, I needed to be straightened out before I could even attempt to straighten out others.

This Mother Hen has learned a valuable lesson. I definitely don’t want to put all my “eggs” in my own basket because that just leads to scrambled eggs, shells included. No, I want to “co-hen” with Jesus. I know that in the future, we are going to fix up some seriously delectable omelets; shells not included. Be blessed friends.

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Trading My Sorrows (once & for all)…

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This Christmas vacation has been the best one I’ve had in years. For the past couple of years and for numerous reasons, I just was not in the Christmas spirit. It seemed that no matter how many pep talks I gave myself, or how many to-do lists I drafted, I just couldn’t bring myself to go gung-ho, ho, ho into the Christmas season. Much to the dismay of my family, we were lucky if I got the tree up the week before Christmas. Decorating the house was a chore and in all honesty, probably would not have gotten done had it not been for my children. I know, not fair right? Still, though I knew this, I just wasn’t in the mood, so to speak.

I would be lying if I said that my kids went without materialistically where Christmas was concerned. “Santa” was always abundantly generous with all four of them. That was never the issue. The problem was that with each passing Christmas, I became emotionally unattached and vacant. I seemed to always get sucked into a pit party for myself when it came to thinking about family during the holidays and I let the absence of my own parents handicap what I had always hoped to create for my own. Let me be clear, my parents are not dead, they simply have chosen not to be a part of my life and by osmosis, the lives of my children. This is certainly a subject we will touch on in later blog entries, but for now that’s all I will mention.

Though I have always loved the Lord, I have always had a problem with allowing Him to love me unconditionally. If my own father was unable to to this, why would my Heavenly Father want to? So ruled by this mentality, I allowed the darkness to overtake me and it seemed to intensify during the holidays. Though I always had grand plans to celebrate Christmas, clean and organize my house and even start a blog over the Christmas vacation, it seemed that none of this ever came to fruition. My days consisted of laying in bed, watching reality television and dare I say, having many afternoon Chardonnay cocktails. So, rather than seeking Jesus, I chose to drown my sorrows in the liquid depressant of alcohol. There, I said it, the cat is out of the bag. I’m not proud of it, but I’m owning it.

So, why is this Christmas different? How is this Christmas different? First and foremost, the winery is shut down. Instead of chatting with a glass of wine, I’m having constant dialogue with my Heavenly Father and I feel fantastic. I am allowing myself to experience my feelings, but I am not letting them dictate how I live. By a twist of fate, or what I like to call actual faith, I was introduced to doTerra essential oils and it has changed my life. The body has an amazing ability to “heal thyself” when given the opportunity. It is simply inspiring!

I purchased our tree in November through a school fundraiser and it was decorated the first weekend of December. Our house looks like a winter wonderland and the Christmas spirit has thrived this season. The kids and I even baked treats and delivered them to our new neighbors and community members! Yes, I made things from scratch and actually enjoyed it! Woot woot!

This morning, after stockings, of course, the kids prepared our traditional Christmas morning breakfast and actually served it to me in bed.  I was so surprised and incredibly thankful!  Tonight’s dinner will be spent in our new dining room and the twice baked potatoes being served were created by my own hands…solo. Can you believe it? In about an hour, we will open presents and I am fighting back the tears because I am so thankful to have rediscovered the joy of Christmas. God is good, all the time.

I would be lying if i said that I wasn’t super excited about finally starting a blog. I love to write and have put my creative juices on the shelf for far too long. And, even though I teach writing everyday, I buried my love of putting pen on paper, or fingers on a keyboard for many years. So today, right now, I have metaphorically blown the dust off of the typewriter and have been reborn. I am excited.

I saw a meme of Facebook last night that I believe will be the theme or motivation for this blog. It read, “One day soon these trials will be in the past & you will be telling an incredible story.” And there it is. Each of us has many incredible stories that can either stay a mess, or become our message. Tests can either drown us, or they can become our testimonies. So today, I am making the choice to open my heart and send out messages and testimonies that will hopefully help others. Isn’t that what life is all about?

Merry Christmas.

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