In the last couple of months, I started providing my girls with paper and pens at bedtime to be able to journal down any thoughts they need to get out. Most importantly, I invited them to write anything that they may want to talk to me about and maybe just don’t feel that comfortable saying out loud.
While Reagan has leaned more toward creative drawings and “I Love you, Mommy,” Maylie has taken on this adventure with full force. A little too clearly, she heard me when I said that she could write down items that she may not want to say out loud to me.
And let me tell you, either this child went diving into the depths of her soul looking for any and every reason and wrongdoing she has ever done to put thoughts down on paper for me, or she has been holding EVERYTHING in. Night after night I get a detail of something that she may or may not have done wrong. Whether someone accidentally jumped in her lifeboat on one of her games on her tablet (but she got out immediately), or she accidentally saw someone’s answer at school, or even that she may or may not have peed a little in Aunt Nikki’s pool last year (sorry, Nik), she is putting it all out on the table.
And guys, I thought I was handling it exceptionally well. We discussed each and every one the next morning (unless she could not contain it until then) in a calm manner, talked about what we learned from them, and dropped them. Or so I thought.
But she, she never dropped them. While they were out on paper, they were not out of her mind. She was still replaying these things. And I am talking some of these things were from almost 3 years ago! Whether it was that I dragged these things out of her and now she couldn’t let them go, or she had been holding them in for so long that it felt good to just be able to speak about them, I am not sure. But, it was breaking my heart hearing about her small “mess-ups” over and over and how that was making her feel.
Somehow, I had to find a way to get her to release them – to no longer dwell on things she could not change and focus on the positives and the future. Reassuring her repeatedly that she needed to let them go was not doing the trick. She was still bringing them up time and time again.
But this week, the girls and I dove into the story of Easter (with special help of “Resurrection Eggs” from our church). And as we opened each egg, discussed the symbol inside, and read the story behind each one, we really stopped and talked about the reason that Jesus died on the cross. Sure, they knew the story, “He died for our sins.” But it had become just something we say over and over and lost the meaning around it.
So, this time, we talked about what that really meant. Unfolding the Easter story of Jesus carrying up that cross and dying on it, I explained to Maylie that she no longer had to hold onto these sins of hers – that Jesus, He took that weight off of her chest and put it on His as He took His last breath. No longer were her sins hers to carry – she had learned from them – and needed to leave them in his hands.
And as I sat and talked with her about letting go, I realized that I, too, was holding onto some of my own mistakes – things that God had forgiven me for but that I still hadn’t forgiven myself. The poor girl gets it honest, that’s for sure. But, being able to relate to her and empathize with the fact that I know it is hard to hand over the self-forgiveness, actually further paved our journey of allowing our sins to die on the cross along with Jesus.
Don’t get me wrong, it is, in fact, a journey – for both her and me. One or two of her past mistakes came up again late in the week. But, it was much easier to remind her to let go and let God. And at the same time, remind myself.
Isn’t it weird sometimes how God works – I mean, I know that He knows what He is doing, but the circumstances and experiences He has brought along in my parenting adventure have always seemed to be the exact thing that not only my babies need to hear, but I need to hear as well. And I am so thankful for yet another lesson learned alongside of my girls.
Thank God, He is Risen.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.