Jan 08 2015


A Lesson on Forgiveness from a Bird Book and a Happy Meal - from Dixie Mama

Image courtesy of dawilken at FreeImages.com

Bird watching had become the new rage for Z and me. It is intriguing, educational and outdoorsy. It also doesn’t require much energy which is a bonus for this mama because my butt is lazy. Or maybe it’s just tired…that sounds better. Either way, it’s the perfect activity for my little man and me to do together, so last spring I bought a few items to assist with this new adventure. I purchased inexpensive binoculars, a journal, an app with 4,000 bird calls and a book. A regular, everyday bird book. Who would’ve guessed this book would teach his mama a lesson on forgiveness?

Never in the history of the earth has a book been more treasured by a child. It was a National Geographic publication, designed for kids. Z was five at the time, and this new activity had ignited a fire in him. At night, he chose learning about birds over traditional bedtime stories. It was fun to see him so engaged, and within just a few days, his “bird book” had become his constant companion. Good thing books are indestructable…right?

One night after work I was particularly tired, and being the perfect role model of a mother that I am, I chose drive-thru for dinner. Z was in the back seat, more interested in his book than his Happy Meal. We were headed home, and all was fine until my son burst into the kind of tears you’d expect if a monster had just ripped off his arm.

“Mommy! I ruined my bird book!” I had to get him to repeat it several times to even understand what he was saying because he was crying so hard.

“Calm down,” I said. “Tell me what happened.”

“I spilled some drink on it,” he sobbed.

“Baby, it’s okay. Mommy knows how to fix that.” I handed a napkin back to him and said, “All you have to do is blot it carefully, and it will be okay.”

Ten seconds later the hysteria and desperation escalated, and it occurred to me that he didn’t know what I meant by the word “blot”. He had rubbed the page and made it worse. Operation Damage Control commenced, and I found myself suddenly hit by a wave of emotion as well. I wanted to cry too, but it had nothing to do with the treasured book of birds. It was for some words I know within the pages of another Book.

A Lesson on Forgiveness from a Bird Book and a Happy Meal - from Dixie Mama

“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” Isaiah 43:25 (New International Version)

That’s one of my favorite Bible verses about forgiveness. The reason is because blotting implies gentleness. I’m no theologian, but I do know how to look things up. The word “blots” in this verse means to wipe away, but it isn’t done haphazardly. According to the lexical aid in my Bible, erasing a word in an ancient scroll was done by washing or wiping it. Imagine how carefully this would have to be done in order to not erase the rest of the content or damage the scroll itself. I would think this would be a slow and painstaking process.

Ever since I was a small child in Sunday School, eating animal crackers and singing “Deep and Wide,” I’ve known that God forgives sins. But I’d never known it like this. I suddenly had a picture in my mind of what His forgiveness looks like. He doesn’t scrub away at me with a brillo pad, nor does he just snap His fingers.

He pulls up a chair…

He takes His time…

And He blots.

Forgiveness has taken on new meaning for me.¬†Does this image hit you like it did me? I believe it is much the same as a parent caring for a child who’s gotten hurt. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve told my son not to run here or climb there. If he does it anyway and actually gets hurt, there’s more to deal with than the disobedience. The consequences have to be addressed as well. So I get out the Bactine and a Q-tip and–you guessed it–I blot. Gingerly, I care for the wound, wipe the tears and use this moment to remind him that this is why there are rules. It’s not to cramp his style. It’s to protect.

Like a kid who runs after being told not to, I often think I know better and choose something outside of God’s well-laid rules. I do what I want and get hurt. But I don’t always rush into loving arms like a five-year-old does. As an adult, I just keep going. By day, I work. By night, I’m Mommy. There’s laundry to do, a bath to give and dinner to cook (or at least drive-thru to pick up). So I go through the motions, and I leave that mistake and the pain it caused in the shadows, and I postpone accepting God’s forgiveness. Do you ever do this?

If so, here is what I am learning to do and what I encourage you to do as well. Stop. Be still long enough for Him to pull up His chair. Let Him look into your eyes to assess the damage, and don’t tell Him how to fix it. Just let Him blot.

From the heart of Dixie Mama…always say grace.


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