One time I accidentally caught my mother-in-law’s mattress on fire.
I wasn’t sure how to tell her. We had been living with her for a few weeks, and this wasn’t our first major catastrophe. Just a few days prior one of my daughters flipped over in her chair, placing a large head-shaped hole in their dining room wall. The next day, a different daughter shattered a family heirloom. And now this.
It was a disaster, to say the least.
The thought of just not saying anything ran through my mind. How could I possibly tell my husband’s mom we had destroyed something else? Specifically- how could I tell someone I caught their mattress on fire?
As I joined my husband and his family outside, my mind raced with thoughts of what to say. I casually mentioned knocking over a lamp onto their bed. No one cared. As they began turning their attention else-ware, I took that opportunity to quickly slip in the fact that the lamp caught the bedspread, sheets and mattress on fire.
Before I could tell them I put the fire out, my husband’s family quickly made their way inside to see the damage.
What was wrong with me? How can I ever recover from such embarrassment? How could I ever ask my mother-in-law to forgive all of this?
These thoughts lingered on repeat in my mind. My anxiety grew throughout the night. Dread over waking up the next morning only to break something else weighed heavy and deep into my bones.
The thought of causing any further damage felt suffocating.
My mother-in-law embraced me with such tenderness. She reminded me that no matter how angry we get at our children, we still love them unconditionally. She assured me I was included in that as well.
Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.Ephesians 4:32
Just like a mother towards her children, God’s love and compassion for us are freely given.
My mother-in-law showed me great compassion. It was such a gift. Her kindness towards me gave me the freedom to begin again the next day. I felt released from my anxieties over making more mistakes.
In the same way, God embraces us during hard nights, so we can live in freedom the next day. When we live knowing we have been forgiven, we live knowing we have that gift to pass on to others.
Whatever chaos this day holds, may we offer kindness, compassion and forgiveness towards others. Let’s also embrace how God offers this to us.
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