Happy first birthday! I have never been more thrilled to see an animal turn one! (We're that much closer to the end of the puppy stage!)
Now, when I began writing your birthday letter, I'd planned to list out your every fault. As you know, this last year has been rather intense. Your presence has been the source of much conflict, many tears, and hurt feelings, a total martyr syndrome on my part, and quite frankly, a lot of anger. The husband and I have been through a little counseling with the pastor because every time you ruined another thing, every time I had to wipe tears brought on by you, or clean poop, or open that darn gate, I held it against T and I burned with anger. Oh yes, your presence has given me a fresh look at how completely depraved I really am. You light my fuse like nothing else ever has. In fact, I didn't know I could be as angry as I have been regarding your sheer existence in our home - or rather, what your existence has added to my plate.
So, as I was writing your birthday letter, a funny thing happened. A rather peculiar thing, at that. I sat before the computer hacking away all the reasons I have to be angry at you...and as I typed and listed and the bitterness, which was at times disguised with humor, spilled onto the computer screen, my heart got sad. And it kept getting sadder until I found myself bawling. As I listed your every offense and T's every response, I was confronted with something.
I was confronted with my very broken and humble husband who has, on multiple occasions, apologized, stating that if he had things to do over, he would not have gotten you when he did. He would've listened more carefully to my reasons for why the timing of you was not a good idea. He has apologized and asked me to forgive him. I have told him I forgive him. But while typing I realized, I hadn't really forgiven him. I was holding everything you've ruined up and saying, "once you make this right and fix that and replace everything that dog has ruined, once you restore order to the things Warrior has made chaotic, once you grovel, then, then and only then, will I forgive you!" See, I had this idea in my heart that if he was really sorry, he'd run like crazy trying to fix everything you've ruined - the children's bikes, the trim on the house, all the plants out back, the grass in the backyard, the parts to my pump, the children's clothes you've bitten into and ripped...once he made it all right, then I would happily forgive him. After all, he must know and experience the depths of my frustration.
The Holy Spirit confronted me with the truth that Jesus doesn't tell me He'll forgive me once I make all my sins right. He doesn't say, "get your act cleaned up, do good for a while, and then come to me." He says, "you broken, dirty, filthy child, RUN to me. I long to forgive you and to clothe you in my righteousness so that you can be in relationship with the living God."
Dirty, broken, and filthy, He called me.
I have not loved my husband as God has called me to. I have not loved him as Jesus has loved me. I had not forgiven him. I have lorded his decision over him and sought, yes, I sought, to make his life miserable regarding you, Warrior.
And I felt so justified, because quite frankly, you have made my life miserable. Especially the first six months.
So I had to go to him and tell him these things. And it was awful. And I am still struggling, wanting to pull out "the list." I couldn't even apologize without falling.
I am thankful God has shown me my sin in this. It is great. And I am even more thankful that God forgives and is gracious and merciful, even though He sees the total depths of my depravity.
Unfortunately, seeing my sin for what it is and confessing and repenting isn't a "cure all." I am still struggling to forgive. To stop expecting payment for the wrongs suffered. Life is messy. As T told me the other morning - and it is my favorite thing he has ever said to me - "What are two sinners to do, but grab hands and run to Jesus together."
We are running.
Happy first birthday, Warrior.