On Fettuccini Alfredo and Forgiveness in REAL Families

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.


Raindrops of Mercy: When We Must Forgive God


Many times this eludes me. Regardless of how I appear on the exterior, I am a sensitive person who gets hurt easily. However, if after the hurt occurs, an apology is given, it’s surprising how quickly I forgive and move on.

The question is–what if an apology is NOT given? What if there’s no repentance on the part of the one who does the hurting? What if the one who hurt us seems to be God himself?

These are the hard questions. Certainly God knew my sweet Daddy was suffering towards the end of his life. His pain sometimes seemed interminable, unending. We prayed for healing. Begged for healing. We stormed heaven itself with our tears.

It seemed, however, that God was silent.

When Dad became too ill to even take a short outing–to the hardware store to pick up a tool, he couldn’t bear to be on his feet more than a few minutes–my heart clouded over with resentment. Where was God? Was it any big deal for He who created Dad to simply blink an eye and restore Dad to his former health? No, it wasn’t.

Still God was silent.

My sister who used to be a missionary for Jesus, who traveled to India and Russia spreading the gospel, living on mere pennies a day, giving of her life and heart for God to the ends of the earth, prayed for my father’s healing which never came. Still, God in his heaven was silent.

So I understand Mary and Martha’s pain, I think. In John 11:2 we read, “This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.”

Oh, THAT Mary. I’m glad Luke tells us which one because there were a lot of them running around. John wants us to know that the particular Mary he’s referring to loved Jesus so much she received a special place in the Women Who Got it Right Club. She was truly affected by the words and person of Jesus and one of his closest friends.

So I’m sure when she sent word to Him that her brother (the one you love, she said) was ill, she didn’t for one moment think that he would be silent, or take His sweet time to get there.

Yet he did. Ad I’m sure Mary felt his silence as a knife in the gut.

Of course we know the end of the story. Jesus shows up. Martha came out to talk with him, but Mary didn’t. She waited inside, still hurt to the core by Jesus’s seemingly indifference. Jesus cries when he sees how hurt his friends are. He tastes their bitter grief and raises Lazarus from the dead. Everything is well.

But we who live in our time are not afforded such luxuries of divine understanding. Mary and Martha could forgive God becuase Jesus came over and fixed everything before their eyes. Sometimes he doesn’t. Then what?

This is where our faith is tested. This is where the rubber meets the road. We say we believe in Jesus; we sing hymns about trusting Him. Sometimes, in the midnight of grief, he’s there and the unasked question seems to be, “Now, even now, do you trust Me?”

It’s ok to be angry. It’s ok to storm heaven with our prayers, even when we don’t get it. David prayed, “God, whom I praise, don’t remain silent.” We are not the first to experience this. In the early days of grief and suffering, it’s difficult
to remember that God is still in charge. He’s in control. He longs to wipe the tears from our eyes, and sometimes He shows up in the form of a friend. Look for Him, dear one. He’s not forgotten you.