Monday, January 18, 2010

A Forgiveness Story

And, I laid there in the hallway feeling utterly forgiven, grace-lended, and more loved by God than I had in a very, very long time. God's presence swelled into a glorious forgiveness song that filled our home and relationship with His peace and love.

That is the end of the story. It just seemed like the best place to start.

Shortly after I wrote Lessons in Servanthood, a post about one of the methods I use to discipline my boys, one of my dear friends wrote to me. She said I must have a forgiveness story. Why would I choose to discipline this way? She wanted to know what was behind it.

Yes, I have a forgiveness story. Now that I've shared the end with you, let's start at the beginning.

Just a couple of months into my marriage, I stood in our bedroom shouting across the bed. My husband tried to reason back in what would be our first and most heart-wrenching argument. I cried. He clammed up. I shouted some more. I cried some more. And, he just shook his head in frustration.

It was late. I was devastated and angry and hurt and so very prideful. I ran down the hallway and slammed and locked the door to the guest room.

Please, Lord. Let him come after me.

I cried as hard as I could cry into the pillow. I cried because I knew I was wrong. I was so stubborn and would not yield, and my pride and I were now laying alone in the twin bed in our guest room.

He gently rapped on the door.

"Go away. Just leave me alone."

Please, Lord. Let him rap on the door, again.

Nothing.

A few minutes later, the light in the hallway went out, and I wept into my pillow until I fell asleep.

Early the next morning, I awoke alone. I woke up with that awful feeling that something was wrong, but wasn't sure right away exactly what it was.

And, then I remembered.

The fight. My shouting. Our first argument. The bed that usually brought us together separating us like an ocean between two continents.

I felt the tears start to well up in my already puffy eyes, again, and I moved the blankets aside to head down to our bedroom to find my husband and ask him to forgive me.

I opened our guest room door, and there it was.

Forgiveness.

It was laying on a pillow on the floor in the hallway. Right outside our guest room door. Covered in a way-too-small blanket, and sleeping.

It was my husband.

I knelt down next to him, and he opened the blanket and I crawled under and as close to him as I could get. We talked about what had happened, and I asked for forgiveness. The sweep of his fingers across my cheeks as I wept was just one of the many signs of his true and heartfelt forgiveness I felt that morning. He forgave me without hesitation.

I asked my husband why he slept outside my door. "To be as close to you as I could", he responded.

He was the offended. I was the offender. His love for me, his love for Christ, his desire for restoration and healing caused him to pursue me when he would have been justified in waiting for me to come begging for forgiveness.

And, I laid there in the hallway feeling utterly forgiven, grace-lended, and more loved by God than I had in a very, very long time. God's presence swelled into a glorious forgiveness song that filled our home and relationship with His peace and love.

This picture of forgiveness plays over and over in my mind as I walk through life. It was such a powerful tool in teaching me that repentance and forgiveness are at the cornerstone of every successful relationship - marriage, friendship, siblings, parent/child.

For the forgiver, what an opportunity to extend God's love and grace to someone who doesn't deserve it.

It could change someone's life. It changed mine.

To quote what I wrote in Lessons in Servanthood:

As my little boys grow into men, they will be hurt, offended and betrayed more times than I can bear to think about. And, most frequently, by those close to them.

It is how they respond to those offenses that will reveal the true depth of their character.

My hope for them is that they learn to respond in love, servanthood, forgiveness, and grace.


Their father modeled this for me early on in our marriage. He showed me a beautiful picture of what true, Christ-like forgiveness looks like.

I pray that I can, in turn, model it for my boys during the day as I train them to be pursuers of forgiveness.

32 comments:

  1. Oh my word, Sarah, that is an absolutely beautiful story, told as only you could tell it. I cried as I read it, understanding in a deep way the sense of unconditional love and forgiveness you must have felt by such an honorable and worthy man. One of my all-time favorite posts of yours.

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  2. Sarah, thank you for sharing such a beautiful post. You've brough a word from God for us all. My favourite as well.

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  3. This is one of my favorite stories. It is so romantic and sweet and right out of a love story. Only, it's real. With people I know in it. That makes it so much better!

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  4. Thanks so much for sharing this, Sarah. It's beautifully written, and very encouraging.

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  5. This made me cry a little. Thanks so much for this beautiful post Sarah.

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  6. Beautiful post Sarah. One of my favorites.

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  7. What a beautiful and meaningful happening. I'll think on it often.
    It portarys how God loves us and always stays close. Beautifully written.

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  8. What a wonderful story, and it's better because it's true. What a great example of Christs love and something for us to follow.

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  9. Oh, Sar... That is a beautiful, beautiful story. I've never heard of a man doing such a forgiving act in that way. You have a kind husband, Sarah. And he has a gracious wife. May your family grow larger with this grace in every sense of the word.

    Just beautiful.

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  10. Oh Sarah, what a beautiful story. I cried all the way through. You have a wonderful husband, and what an amazing example he is to your precious boys. May they follow in their father's footsteps.

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  11. I don't cry. Today I did.

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  12. I cried too. What a wonderful way for him to show his love for you. I like Jason even better now. :)Lauren

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  13. Sarah,
    it has been a long time since I have read a post that spoke to me as strongly as this one. Thank you.

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  14. Seriously, girlie... this post had me from the beginning. Can I tell you I saw the beg on my phone on face book at a red light and it was all I could do to put it down and wait till I was safely home to finish reading it. Very well written and beautifully told. But, more than that... the fact that it is true. What a beautiful, beautiful story. You have yourself a wonderful and godly man girlie. And I love reading about his spiritual headship in your family. It is a beautiful thing!

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  15. i definitely cried. how could you not? this is really an amazing story, and im so glad you told it. i pray that women who think this only happens in the movies will read this story and realize there ARE men like this out there. what a wonderful husband you have! and i'm sure if he had a blog, he'd tell stories just like this, but about you. this was great to read, too, since i'm going to be married soon and will need to be reminded of forgiveness and how important it is.

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  16. beautiful story, sarah. thanks for sharing it with your readers.

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  17. How blessed you are to get to personally experience this with your husband and especially early in your marriage. His mama raised him right!!!!!

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  18. Sarah,
    You absolutely brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing such an intimate moment. Marriage is an amazing tool the Lord uses to sanctify us!
    Melissa Dell

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  19. Beautiful. Raw. Honest.
    A perfect picture of love, grace and forgiveness.

    Thank you for sharing it.
    You truly have a gift for sharing your heart.

    LOVED this post.

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  20. This has got to be the best post you've written yet. Absolutely stunning.


    p.s. yep, he's a keeper.

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  21. That was so wonderfully written. Thanks for sharing

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  22. Ok, now everyone at work has to read this b/c I am crying and they want to know why.

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  23. Most excellent. Do you have any suggestions for a wife whose husband does not care to repent, does not seek forgiveness, and uses grace as a excuse to continually sin? Also, in your original post on using this technique with your boys, has it proven to still be effective?

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  24. Two days later, I'm still thinking about this post. It is such a moving story of beautiful grace.

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  25. What a beautiful story of forgiveness, expressed beautifully.

    I cried..... and wished that I could forgive as lovingly and effortlessly as your husband did.

    thank you for sharing such a personal story, you have given me a lot to think about.

    SheilaC

    http://myemptynestisfullofcathair-sheilac.blogspot.com/

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  26. I love that you accepted his forgiveness. Personally, that is one of the hardest part of the process, I think because it involves forgiving yourself.

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  27. Holy cow, my first time to your blog, and I'm in tears. They came when you found your husband sleeping on the floor. What a beautiful story of forgiveness. I absolutely LOVED it.

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  28. Wow! I am not by any means a religious person, but this post was the sweetest, most powerful thing I have ever read. Coupled with your 100 Things, I don't even know you, and I feel the incredible love in your life. Forgiveness and humility our so important. And having people like your husband who understand at the end of the day love is most important... truly a treasure.

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