I was a young mommy who needed her mommy.
To support me. To be the reassuring voice on the end of the phone. To truly engage my kids.
But she couldn’t — at least not nearly to the degree that I wanted or needed.
She wasn’t being mean. She didn’t intentionally try to hurt or abandon me. She loved me and my kids.
But, for a host of reasons, she was unable to give me what I so badly desired.
And it stung. Every time she disappointed me, it stung.
After her death and a great deal of maturity, I was able to understand more fully why she was unable to provide the nuturing and support I craved. And I truly let go of that hurt and embraced forgiveness.
In Matthew, Jesus asked His disciples to “wait for just one hour” while He was in need — the greatest need of any human at any time. Instead, they fell asleep. Did they intend to hurt Him? No, they loved Him. They had given up everything to follow Him. Yet, even as close as they were to Jesus, they did not realize how important it was for them to wait with Him and pray with Him.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, who was ultimately there for Jesus? Not the disciples — only His Father. Only God the Father knew His inmost needs and what He was about to endure.
Why do the people closest to us — our community — so often hurt us?
1. They are human. That’s right. Sometimes they might be selfish. Other times, weak. Maybe they are just clueless.
2. They can’t. For one reason or another, they are incapable physically or emotionally or both.
3. Our expectations are too high. We are looking to them for only things that only God can provide. Is it wrong to have certain expectations of the community around us? No, but we also should expect to be disappointed.
The only time we have control over what or how community ministers to one another is when we choose to take action. All of us will be hurt by someone in our church, our family or our relationships. What we do with the pain, is our choice.
Only through the loving forgiveness of Christ can we transform our hurt into healing — for both ourselves and others. Otherwise, we will wallow in the “poor, pitiful me” state for far longer that God intended. We are called to forgive as God forgave us. He knows that will make us happy and also spread His gospel.
So how exactly do we forgive past hurts by community?
1. Tell them why they hurt us and give them a chance for reconciliation.
2. Recognize that even Peter wasn’t capable at all times. Even though he denied Jesus three times, God still used him as the rock on which to build His church. Talk about second chances!
3. Accept that only God can provide true peace, acceptance and understanding. Depending on human beings to fill the God-shaped hole in your heart will always lead you to disappointment. Only God promises to never leave us or forsake us.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, give others what you feel you’ve been denied. Turn that hurt into healing by recognizing and meeting needs in others.
Our own hurt is what motivates us to minister to moms. Let’s not let our wounds go to waste.