I put a prayer in my heart this Advent Season. I don't every year - as we all should; but this year felt just right. Even needed.
Advent - much like Lent - invites us to change; but in a less grueling, more gentle way. And it's a season I love. Early winter, some snowfall, a cozy, decorated, twinkling home, the anticipation of the coming of baby Jesus. I always wish Advent could last just a few more days.
And I could use a few more days to work on this prayer that's been in my heart: a prayer of forgiveness.
Less judging; more forgiving. That's the spirit I'm trying to squeeze into my heart.
To say I need a few more days; is, well, to say I'll probably be working on this during Lent, too.
I want to be the kind of mom that judges less. Less criticizing the way other moms and dads run their show. The way they dress their kids, feed their kids, medicate their kids, schedule their kids. Because in the end, I don't want their judgement on the way I dress, feed, medicate and schedule my own children. I want their compassion.
I want to be the kind of wife that stops putting impossible expectations on my husband. Less revenge seeking after his 14 hour deer hunting expedition on my birthday. More looking for the ways he loves me on the other 364 days of the year.
I want to be the kind of sister, daughter, family member who will spend more time focusing on my own challenges; and less time talking about the challenges each member of my family faces.
I've already started this forgiveness thing by sending a little to Phil Robertson in Louisiana. I know Phil's type - rough, course, outdoorsy, plain talkin'. One might say I'm married to one. Phil's words may be have been rough - but they were rooted in Truth, and they were Phils' words. Phil doesn't have fancy words. We love him in spite of that. I love my husband in spite of that.
In the end - what Phil meant to say but didn't have a way to finesse - was that we're not the judge. Our word is not the final word. And who's to say my sins are lesser than yours? God didn't rank the Ten Commandments in order from least to worst offensive. He just gave us Ten - and said to pay attention.
As I squeeze the final presents under the tree, squeeze in an abundance of family and travel in too few days, squeeze a little more forgiveness into my hardened heart, my prayer is that you'll find a little room in your heart to forgive me for my grievances, too.