Sunday, March 23, 2014

From Anger to Forgiveness

As I listened to her story I started praying; here is what happened…

She told me she has a son that is giving her trouble at home and at school. She doesn't know what to do. The lesson that day was about the importance of eye contact. As we worked through the lesson together I stressed to her the importance of eye contact while disciplining and encouraged her to look at discipline as a teachable moment. She confessed that the majority of the time she just yells at her children because she has a hard time controlling her temper.

She shared of a time when her son was ready for school dressed in a clean white shirt and dark blue pants. He wanted to clean his shoes so he proceeded to clean them with a rag. In the process, the dirt on his shoes got all over his white shirt. When she saw it, she got so angry she yelled at him. He started crying. She told him he was going to have to wear the dirty shirt to school. Crying even more he yelled, “No, please don’t make me do that!” She said, “This is your fault and you’re going to have to wear your dirty shirt to school!” After a while of screaming, yelling, and crying back and forth she gave him a clean white shirt to wear. We talked about how that incident could have been different if she wouldn't have lost her temper.

As we continued to talk, she shared with me some history of her pregnancy. She said it was an unexpected pregnancy. It took her awhile to come to terms with all the changes that were about to occur.  As she worked through the shock of her pregnancy, she though if she had a girl that would make her happy. So when her son was born she was devastated. She never told her son what she had wished. About two years later she had a little girl, the little girl she always dreamed of. Her son has come to resent his sister over the years and sometimes he tells his mom, “I wish I was a girl.”

Her son has become a loner. He would rather play by himself than with his brothers and sisters. At school he fights with his classmates. His teacher has told him mom that he doesn't pay attention in school by rather walks around causing distraction. His teacher also told him mom that she thinks he’s not getting enough love at home. She told me that she argued with the teacher and reassured her that he is loved by his family.
But as we continued to talk, I saw things beginning to make sense in her head. She started saying, “Maybe I need to spend more time listening to him, eye to eye... I need help in how I discipline him….I think I understand…”

But the incident that touched me the most was when she told me of when her son had been hit by a deep sadness. Growing up he had a stuffed animal. He did everything with it, slept with hit, ate with it, and even went to the bathroom with it. As the years went by, the stuffed animal got uglier and dirtier. She begged him to allow her to wash it. He refused. She let it go a little longer. She said it smelled so bad she would beg and beg him to wash it, but he always refused.

Until one day, she got so angry and couldn't stand it any longer.  While her little boy was away, she threw the stuffed animal away. When her little boy got home, he asked her for it. She told him she threw it away. He ran to his bed and threw himself on it. He cried and cried and cried and cried. She said he cried as if someone had died. She tried to console him and offered him a clean stuffed animal. She argued with him and tried to convince him that another stuffed animal was the same as his old one. He yelled back, “You took away my best friend!” She responded, “But you have your brothers and sister to have as friends!” He said, “My brothers and sister just yell at me. My stuffed animal was always there for me and never yelled at me!” But there was nothing she could do. The damage had been done.

As I listened to her, I tried to put myself in the scene. I completely understood her point. But I also felt the pain of the little boy loosing something that was so dear to him. I asked her if looking back she could understand at little of how her little boy must have felt at that time? I asked her if she had ever asked forgiveness for what she had done? She said she had not thought of it before. As we continued to share together, I could see God working in her heart. I prayed for her and asked God to help her in the process of learning how to communicate better with her son.

At the end of our session, I asked her if she wanted to buy anything from our little boutique. She said she did. And with so much love and thought, she picked out a little stuffed bear. She told me she was getting it for her little boy and was going to go home and ask him for forgiveness that night. I was overjoyed and praised her for her courage and repentant heart.

(Written with permission.)

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