On “Leave it to Beaver,” Ward comes home from a long day at work, and not only does June has a pot roast ready, but she serves it wearing a dress, heels and pearls. The worst thing that ever happens to Wally and the Beav is that Beav gets a bad grade on a test (that’s ok Beav! We’ll try again next time!) or Wally has to take his second choice gal Susie to the dance (that’s ok Wally! Janet was a !@#$ anyway). Just kidding…I don’t think Wally ever got turned down for a date.
The point is, the problems are never that bad, and the solutions come in half an hour (minus commercials).
In real life, in real families, it’s a bit more complicated. It’s a bit messier. It takes more than half an hour–sometimes months, or years–to work things out. Kids and parents both are damaged in the process. Relationships suffer and need some healing. This is what happens in REAL families.
We’re a normal family. When I say “normal” I really mean … normally messed up. We’re a real family.
We love each other, but we’re imperfect.
We hurt each other with our words and actions.
We’re careless, selfish.
We use the last of the toothpaste and don’t tell anyone.
We borrow one another’s clothes and don’t return them.
We hurl out insults (supposedly in jest) that wound as bitterly as the real thing.
We promise to do things (and forget).
We promise NOT to do things (and forget).
We put ourselves first. Most the time we don’t even realize it.
But sometimes we do and keep doing it anyway.
Thank goodness for Jesus.
When I say that, I need to clarify. I don’t mean, “Thank goodness for Jesus” because I expect him to swoop in and wipe the slate clean. Jesus does forgive, but our words and actions linger long after they’ve been said or done. As seen in the news recently (yes, I’m referencing the Duggars) any kind of abuse can’t just be “forgiven” and forgotten.
When I talk about “Real families” don’t think for a minute I’m advocating any sort of abuse, ever. The girls in that family, and all others who were victims, will deal with the consequences not only of the repeated acts BUT also the secrecy surrounding them. They are victims on many levels, and I’m not even talking about the extreme patriarchy that is twisted way beyond any measure God intended. By making everything a secret, it inevitably transfers part of the blame to the victims, and they’ve been through enough. Hearts hold wounds long after the scarring occurs.
But back to the task at hand, the forgiveness of everyday hurts, not abuse but just everyday life.
I do believe in the healing power of Jesus’s forgiveness, with all my heart. But I need to be careful to not abuse His love, his sacrifice by calling Him in over and over to clean up my mess. I can’t abuse Him like a giant jar of Whiteout, doing what I like then dumping His grace all over my mistakes and giving myself an excuse to do it again and again.
When I say, “Thank goodness for Jesus” I mean, I’m so grateful that He pricks my heart and my conscience, exposing my humanity, my sin to me just in case I start thinking too much of myself. I don’t want to get in the mindset of thinking justice for others and mercy for me. I need to spend time in prayer and quiet, listening for that still small voice to let me know when I’ve done wrong. When I’ve hurt those I love in deed or action.
It’s not enough to say “I’m sorry,” though that’s a good start. Jesus taught us to repent and turn from what we are repenting from. That if we don’t wish judgement to fall upon us, we must stop whatever it is we did in the first place. We must demonstrate the forgiveness with actions of love.
This week has been a rough one-nothing too serious but plenty unpleasant. Do I love my family? YES. Do I mess up? CONSTANTLY. Do I love them enough to admit it, out loud, and apologize?
That is difficult.
I don’t WANT to be wrong. I am wrong often, but that doesn’t mean I want to admit it.
But admitting it is important to healing. If I nag my kids, if I wound my husband with my words, I need to apologize, but that’s not enough. I need to demonstrate through my actions that I’m sorry.
One way I do this: Fettuccine Alfredo. If I’m feeling especially repentant? ANGEL hair pasta. See what I did there?
I know this is a horrible transition but I really want to give you this recipe, because nothing says “I’m sorry” like Fettuccini Alfredo.
The recipe I use is from Pioneer Woman’s website, EXCEPT I add cooked chicken and extra cream, because the portions are too small for Mancub and Papa Bear. I pretty much double the whole thing, if you want to know.
Now that I’ve posted it, I’m gonna watch another episode of the Beav. There seems to be an issue regarding a torn baseball card, and the Beav is really gonna get it this time.