Do you recall the children’s book, Are You My Mother? If not, here’s the gist of it: the little bird popped out of the egg and looked around. He was all alone. He jumped out of the nest and landed on the ground. Since he could not yet fly, he walked around meeting cats, dogs, and others all the while asking them, “Are you my mother?”
When Sam and David were young (as they were in the picture), it was common for some to ask me, “Are you their mother?”
The first time something like this happened Sam and I were checking out at WalMart. In the middle of the transaction, the youngish cashier asked, “Are you the nanny?” I’ll admit her forwardness stunned me. Since I was born and raised in Mississippi, I found her approach downright rude.
I was younger then and not as polished with my reply. I won’t repeat my answer but the anger simmered for a very long time. Each time someone stared or whispered amongst themselves, my imagination came up with the questions they were asking.
This month, I’m honored to have a devotion titled It Hurts Too Much! published in this quarter’s Keys for Kids. It’s a children’s devotion and written from a child’s point of view. Annabelle’s feelings are hurt because some children on the school bus made fun of her. They told her she wasn’t really her parent’s child because she was brown and her parents were white. Annabelle needs to forgive those children and she doesn’t want to because it hurts too much.
God’s calls us to forgive those who’ve hurt us even when they don’t ask for forgiveness and even when they don’t deserve it. I know in my heart, way back when Sam was two, I thought that cashier at Wally World was obviously stupid. How could she not know? She certainly didn’t deserve my forgiveness; after all, she needed to beg for it.
Later, after I’d stewed in my own juices far too long, God showed me I was wrong. How could she know? Would I have not wondered the same thing myself? Grudgingly I admitted, “Yes, I would have … and I have.” Trying to salvage a smidgen of pride, I whispered to myself, “but, as a Southern girl I would have never asked the question.” God nudged and reminded me I also needed to forgive her rudeness and her lack of proper upbringing. (wink)
No, she was not trailer trash, she was a child of God.
As the years and trials have smoothed off some of my edges, I’ve learned to expect the question with gratefulness.
“Yes, I am their mother and I am blessed and honored to be so.” After all, as my friend, Kim deBlecourt so skillfully reminds us in her lovely six-week study titled I Call You Mine: Embracing God’s Gift of Adoption, God’s plan is for each of us to be adopted into His family.
And, if you’re like me, I pray when other’s look at me they don’t find themselves asking, “Is God her father?”
Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
And I’ll tell you right up front, it will hurt to forgive them. At the end of my devotion, Annabelle’s mother asks her, “When they nailed Jesus to the cross so we could be forgiven for our sins, did He say, ‘I won’t do this because it hurts too much?'”
Thankfully, Jesus said instead, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Start this year off afresh and forgive those who’ve hurt you. Last week’s blog on walls and boundaries spoke of the morality of walls. But, God tells us quite clearly do not wall off your heart from Him. That is one wall He wants torn down.
Believe Him when He instructs you to forgive.
Let. It. Go.