Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Letters that Never Came

Recently some friends and I got to talking about forgiveness. A couple of them had been through some extremely tough trials as a result of another person's sin. Forgiveness, whether offered or declined, would be a major theme in their lives.

That conversation made me think about my life and how I've never had to forgive an offense that great. In fact, I've been struggling to forgive something so very small and ridiculous in comparison. Every day for the last four months I've mentally punished someone for wronging me. It happens every day during this exact time - when my kids are asleep and the house is still and quiet. I jump in the shower or bathtub to get clean, but ironically my thoughts turn to mud. I become mentally consumed with how this person has not done what they said they'd do. I consider all the things I could say to them to make them feel bad enough to come through for me. I invent passive aggressive threats that might do the trick. It has been exhausting. Any kind of mental bombardment just takes away your joy.

Do you want to know what this whole pathetic emotional hoopla was about? At the very end of November, 2008, I emailed someone about painting canvas letters for Annabeth's nursery. I don't know her, but I'd ordered letters from her for Jackson's nursery back in 2006 and I loved them. I heard back from her in early December and we got the details squared away. She requested payment in early January and I promptly paid. I knew the process would take 10 weeks, but I was prepared to wait. They were worth it! If I counted from my first contact with her, they would arrive in early February. If I counted from when she requested payment, they would arrived mid-March.

Long story short, they still haven't arrived. Supposedly they were shipped to the address where we lived two homes ago (in Irving). Whoever lives there now accepted the delivery, so there was no getting the package back. The letters were supposedly then repainted and sent to me again. Only they never arrived. I've had no tracking number, very limited communication by email, excuses, changing stories, and nothing that would allow me to take matters into my own hands and figure out how to get my package.

I've said so many prayers about those letters. I've even tried to figure out how to make God send them to me. For example, I remembered that I should pray for my "enemies." So I prayed for this woman. God knows my heart though. I tried to be sincere, but instead of being truly concerned for her, I really just wanted to manipulate God into giving me my stuff.

I have driven myself nuts this whole year. Every single day I've thought, "Maybe they'll come today!" or "Maybe I'll have the letters up and the nursery finished by the time _______." Fill in the blank. The baby's born? Nope. The in-laws visit? Nope. All my friends come to see the baby throughout the spring? Nope. Kelly's Korner has the Tour of Nurseries? Nope. In-laws visit again? Nope. I host bunko? Nope.

I've had to accept that they're not ever coming. And by "accept" I mean that I told the artist that if I didn't have a refund or a tracking number by such-and-such date, I would contact PayPal for my refund. After waiting a week longer than I stated in my threat, I was finally done with the polite, but direct emails and ready to take action.

I issued a claim with PayPal. I felt empowered. I was exacting justice! Immediately after I hit send, I got a notice from PayPal stating that nothing could be done for me. The deadline for that had passed after 40 days of the financial transaction. Awesome. My threats had been empty. I'd had no power all along. I was deflated, defeated, and mad.

That night I met with my friends and we had that whole conversation about forgiveness - major life forgiveness. This question came to my mind: If I cannot forgive this woman and just move on...If I cannot let her off the hook for the $111 and all the emotional letdown...If I cannot be wise enough to see that this anger is only hurting me and not doing a single thing to her...how can I expect that I will ever be able to forgive someone for really hurting me or someone I love? What is more, if I know that Jesus Christ has forgiven me for the disgusting, filthy, depraved sin that once made me his enemy, how can I really hold on to this grudge? Over canvas letters? Really, Amanda?

I resolved that I would write to the woman and tell her that while I'm disappointed that I never got my letters, I was going to drop the whole thing. I wouldn't ask for a refund. I wouldn't try to punish her emotionally. I would forgive her and move on. Not only to bless her, but to set myself free! Sweet, sweet freedom from these stupid, tormenting thoughts! I might lose $111, but I would gain rich blessings for my soul. I would extend grace, just as Christ has extended it to me. He paid oh so dearly to do it.

I opened up my computer to draft the email and what do you think happened? There was an email from the seller. My PayPal claim had gone through after all. Subject line: YOU HAVE YOUR MONEY!

Do you think I felt better? Do you think I had peace and joy? Do you think I felt like I had showered and bathed in the beautiful grace and mercy of Jesus? Do you think I felt noble? Do you think I clapped my hands or pumped my fist in the air?

No.

I had every right to do what I did.

But there had been a more excellent way. And I didn't take it.

Now I have $111 sitting in my PayPal account. I honestly have no idea how to use it or even what to spend it on. Whatever it is will have come at a price. I had a chance to cloak myself in my Savior's beauty and be gracious and forgiving - a chance I didn't take.

It's been a week and by now I've let the whole thing fall off my shoulders. I'm no longer carrying the burden, one way or another. It's over and God has truly let me release it. But I will not forget this experience.

Romans 5:1-11

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

91 comments:

Julie said...

What an excellent message Amanda! If you are still interested in getting the letters you might try this site: www.georgiegirldesign.blogspot.com
I really like her work.
Thank you for reminding us that there is "A more excellent way"

Kelly said...

Thank you for sharing this. I have something sort of similar in my life and heart and it's hurting me more than the person I won't forgive. And knowing my sinful heart hurts me even more. Thank you for being so honest about something that is hard to admit.
Wanting to be like Christ and ACTUALLY doing it.....is a tough thing sometimes.

Deirdre said...

I can't stand it when I make the right emotional choice but it is too late to change the impact I've had on someone else.

Susie from Bienvenue said...

Awesome post. I think we have all felt this same way at one time or another. I can recall asking God for help and until you listen to HIM and take his route you will remain a fish out of water. I finally listened and my problem was solved. Easy...not always. I paint. I love to paint . I sell my wares on etsy and love it. I always worry about my work and want everyone to be happy with my work. I think I would walk to the ends of the earth to make a client happy. This person wont stay in business too long if she keeps that up. I dont think I could sleep at night. Good luck with finding your letters you dreamed of. I know it will work out in the end. Im sure God had a lil lesson in there somewhere for both of you. Take care sweet friend~ Susie

Kelley said...

Thank you for being so very honest and transparent.

If I had to define the last year or so of my life using only one word, it would be "forgiveness". I can't possibly go into it all right here and you can thank me later for that : ).

There is a quote I read recently...I believe it was by Joni Eareckson Tada and I'm probably going to butcher it all to pieces but it basically says something to the effect of:

When you forgive, you set a prisoner free and that prisoner is you.

By the way, Amanda, I have to ask: Have you ever read the book "Hinds Feet in High Places"?

twinkle said...

Wow, Amanda. I've been reading just this week about what a STRONGHOLD the enemy gets on us through unforgiveness (Reclaiming Surrendered Ground by Jim Logan)! It is GOOD!!!

You can still pray a blessing over her and move on.

Read Luke 6:28 in various versions. Here's the teaching from The Message Bible.

Luke 6:27-30
The Message Bible

27-30"To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.

That is probably the hardest lesson for us to learn. Next to saved by grace and not works.

I love your sweet heart. God knows your heart. You might not have been quick enough to forgive through paypal. But you forgave. He knows.

Momma-of-5 said...

Amanda,
God's timing is amazing. Seriously. I haven't read your blog in about 3 weeks (life with 5 is crazy and I'm missing my blog time but we won't go there right now...) but today...today I read it. And today...just this afternoon...I had to ask forgiveness when I didn't think I was wrong. Because I was hurt. I was angry. I was mad...over something (relatively) dumb. But you're right...the higher road felt right. She may not realize SHE was in the wrong. She's not gonna learn ANYTHING that I would hope she'd learn...at least not from my point of view. But God's in charge, not me. It's not my place to teacher. It's my place to listen to the lesson God's teaching ME...to be humble. To suck it up and bow down. To be right in HIS eyes...no one else's.

Forgiveness is freeing, isn't it?

Gods Girl *Court* said...

Amanda
I had a tough love trial like that before except it delt with a bestfriend for years. I ended up harboring my anger and dissapointment in my heart for 2 years after the situation blew up and i was only hurting myself. I had to personaly ask for her forgiveness and though i thought i was right in the beginning the actions i took were far worse. As you know our precious loving Savior was right there to clothe me in his mercies when i died to my flesh and chose to walk in his grace. People, family, and friends, will fail you more than once in your life but there is a much Mightier, Higher, Gracious father that has never and never will fail us. Thank you Lord for being the EVERYTHING we need and saving our sinful hearts by shedding your blood.Praises to your name forever and ever!!!

MITZI said...

Don't beat yourself up dear Sister. God is refining you and you have learned some lessons on this life journey.

What to do with the money? So many deserving charities in your city, bless them!

Heather said...

Thank you for this post--it is always so good to be reminded of perspective. I got letters for Avery Kate's nursery and I did the same thing...."They will be ready by ____." They did come (just a little late, but with notice and communication by the seller) and they are gorgeous! E-mail me at kendrick1@conwaycorp.net if you want the seller's etsy info.
Thanks for drawing us closer to Christ with your words today!

Lauren said...

Thanks, Amanda. I've been thinking about forgiveness a lot lately.

Fiery By Design ✞ said...

I would like to recommend a book to you. It is called Unpacking Forgiveness by Chris Brauns. You can visit his website at: http://www.chrisbrauns.com/unpackingforgiveness/

In my opinion the book is a must read. I will say though that there is some bias involved in my opinion because it was written by our Pastor. ;)

Tara G. said...

I had a moment like that this morning. As I rehearsed a thoughtless comment made to me, I realized I hadn't completely forgiven the person and it just made me cry- for the hurt, for my heart's ugliness, for not being more mature in my walk at this point, for God's faithfulness to deal with me in love...

Toknowhim said...

So awesome that you have learned so much from this situation... Life will throw us a lot of these kinds of situations, and it is a chance to become more like Christ if we let it...

Blessings

~Holly~ said...

If you still want some letters, I have made them for a handful of my friends. I would be happy to make them for you too!

katiegfromtennessee said...

Thanks for sharing with us Little Momma. Forgiveness can be one of the harder if not the hardest things we do in life. Esp. if the hurt is grievous. I've had to forgive some people in my life that if I had not forgiven them, I would probably be a very bitter, angry, and withdrawn person. My pastor says that when we forgive a person, we take them off our "hook" and put them on God's "hook." He deals with the sin, and we are not bitter and angry for the rest of our days. To view them as utterly lost and hopeless or tragically gripped by sin awakens mercy in me instead, because, I've been that way too. These verses are completely true. While I was still a sinner, Christ died for me...powerful truth!
Thanks again for sharing, Little Momma.
((HUGS!)), Blessings, Love in HIM,

katiegfromtennessee

Holly said...

Sounds like you are one smart young woman, Amanda. If any part had happened any differently, then the lesson would not have been so very strong. Bless you, Sister. Bless you for forgiving and loving...and passing the tale along.

I have found that in all things for me--esp. with my parents--that forgiveness has allowed me to lively freely, fully and lovingly. Sometimes I have to go through it all over again, though. A re-do.

Bobbie said...

Forgiveness is a powerful thing. Thank you for the insight into this situation, I think it will help a number of us, especially me! I sure needed this today....!

His way is always higher!

Stylish Housewife said...

Hmmm...sounds to me like you are being a little hard on yourself. I believe that the Lord cares more about our character than us being comfortable ie you getting your letters when you wanted.

Once you extended grace in your heart and learned your lesson the Lord was happy to have your money come through to you (which doesn't always happen). And don't forget that sinning in your mind/heart is the same as sinning physically. I think the same goes for extending grace. You extended grace in your heart and set your self free of a hardened heart toward someone and that is wonderful and that was what the Lord wanted the most. Like your said this was more hurtful to you than the other woman.

I think that this situation was such a blessing. What a great way to learn forgiveness vs. the alternative (what your friends have had to do). So, don't be sad that you didn't extend grace through a letter. Be happy that the Lord loves you so much that he created this experience in your life so that your could learn this lesson. Who know maybe He is prepping you for something bigger?
And if you still want to extend grace you could still pray for her with a genuine heart. I just don't want you to beat yourself up too much (that's something I would do) because you can't go back and fix it.

Lindsey said...

Thanks for being so transparent.

I am a 24 year old girl that up to about 2 years ago could say the same thing. No real hard things to forgive. Then, my sister's husband had an affair. Want to know a way to make me mad...then do something to one of my sisters. I was infuriated at what he had done to my sister and our family. I allowed it to eat me up...sulking. Thinking that if he wanted forgiveness then he needed to ask me for it.

Then one day, I realized that housing hatred towards him didn't hurt him and definitely wasn't helping me. It was a long road, but I chose to forgive him. I made the choice everyday...sometimes multiple times a day.

Now I am happy to say that I don't have to live with the unforgiving spirit towards him.

Praying for you...and for all of your friends that are struggling to forgive.

The B's said...

Did you notice the verse? Verses 1-11??? 111 :)

I have been holding onto a grudge and not foriving someone I work with for saying false things about me, yelling at me, accusing me of things I didn't do and telling me I was a liar and everything I said was a lie. Is any of what she said ture? NO and it hurts so badly that she woud accuse me of what she has, and said those things about me. I want JUSTICE to be done. Same thing at our church...a lady has said that my daughter wasn't sick all the times we missed church one month...but she was...just look at our doctor bills. Anyways, God keeps bringin situations like this into my life year after year...and He is teaching me to forgive and I try but there is always a "little piece" that I hold on to. It is time to let go!!!

desertgirl said...

This is a beautiful post, Amanda. Thank you for being vulnerable, and know that God will use this for His glory in your life.

Rhonda said...

I can not tell you how this has resonated with me. I have been harboring bitterness & unforgiveness for about 1 month now. I have tried to forgive and tried to pray and tried and tried. It has been only the last week that I have allowed the Lord to deal with me and have felt the freedom that comes with it. While there is saddness for the time I wasted, there is gladness for a lesson learned.

Amy said...

Amanda... thanks for sharing that, truly.

I had a moment this past week when I struggled with exactly the type of emotional, inward punishing of another person that you mentioned -- in my case, it was a stranger who shamed me and then threw a foul word my way on the street because I hadn't gotten out of the way of her car. I struggled inside for a bit until the Lord gently reminded me that I needed to forgive her in order to be forgiven (in the way that He speaks of)... and then, like you, I resolved to let go and forgive, and He was merciful to show me that my emotions can follow my will first and not the other way around.

I'm so sorry that it didn't end the way you wished it had! But I'm very glad to know that He's released you from it. Somehow, in this post, you seem to be reminding so many of us that there are more excellent ways... and I'm grateful for the reminder.

Three Fold Cord said...

Great Challenge Amanda!!
I love how you pointed out that even getting the money back didn't set your heart free...you still had to press into Jesus! Love that. Thank you for your honesty.
Charlotte

Spicy Magnolia said...

Amanda, thank you for sharing this. It hits home on many levels. Yesterday I had to ask someone's forgiveness for purposefully withholding our babysitter's info from them for fear of them "stealing" her...how messed up is that!? I wonder how my ignoring her/her request had made her feel. I thank the Lord for the way He prompts us to be right with Him and forgives us! Have a blessed night...and how fun that you're headed to WY!! :)

tonya said...

powerful! thanks for being so transparent.

Becky said...

Wow! I was almost laughing while reading the part about the thoughts hitting you, I think you explained the exact situation I've been dealing with. I too have a situation going on that the minute I get up and get in the bath in the morning the awful thoughts start to bombard me. It's like the enemy just wants me to start my day off with that mind set. I have to re-gain my thoughts and not let them steal my joy. I've chosen to forgive, but the enemy sure does want me to take that forgiveness back and stew on it for a little while.

Thanks so much for your honesty! It helps to know we are not alone in our struggles. Keep it coming girl, I love to hear your heart!

Jill said...

What a powerful message. So convicting too as I have a friend right now who has wronged me and I'm holding out forgiveness soley because I'm right. How foolish of me.
Thanks for this little nudge on my spirit.

Mary said...

I'm so guilty of not wanting to reward/(extend grace even) to people who "don't deserve it," for whatever reason. My husband always says I'd be a horrible juror because I'd always think the person on trial should be thrown into jail. It's hard--the realization that I MYSELF should be trapped in an emotional prison that Jesus rescues me from--taking that in and applying it...man that's hard. Thanks for the great wisdom!

Kelly @ Love Well said...

That's a powerful lesson right there, Amanda. I love that, in sharing it authentically with us, you magnify God's blessing in teaching it to you.

I have tasted the bitterness of an unforgiving heart, and I know the freedom and unspeakable joy of finally doing what God commands. It's the best path.

Steve and Cristie said...

Thank you for keeping me accountable. I am still working on my issue of unforgiveness and it is evident that God is calling me to forgive. All I have to do is let go. I wish it was easy to just let go and let God do the punishing.

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

"But there had been a more excellent way. And I didn't take it."

oh, how many times I have thought this. How many times. Just night before last, I had an incident with a family member. I was right, I was right as rain. But was I Christlike? Sadly, not at all.

But His mercies are new every single morning, oh praise Him!

The Skaggs said...

Great word! The Lord is so good and can even use blogs to minister to my heart! Amen! I'm Emily Skaggs' sis in law and she told me about your site...love it..it absolutely cracks me up and yet can challenge me at the same time. Anyways, if u still want/need some letters, I love to paint and could possibly do them for you. You could send me a pic of what they were going to look like and I can try to match. You can contact me thru my blog if u r interested. God bless!

Beth said...

What a great post, Darling. Isn't it often things exactly like this that get under our skin? I totally get this. Don't you worry another second though. I'm going to Hobby Lobby tomorrow and fetch me some letters, some paint pens, some felt, and some glitter. Let's see...2 A's, 2 N's, 1 B, 1 E, 1 T, and 1 H. Got it. You know good and well I can decorate. Surely you remember your birthday cake. "H B A."

dawn said...

Wow, Amanda, thanks for the honest and descriptive post. what a life lesson you have shared with us.

I find that for me, sometimes it is easier to forgive the big things...cause I am so dependent on God's grace to even think about forgiving...and He is faithful to help me do what He wants me to do. the small things though...those are harder. they seem to simmer under the surface and bubble up at incovenient times.

Next time I bet you will make a different choice sooner, and hopefully so will I as I remember this story!

Thanks!

Kiki@Seagulls in the Parking Lot said...

Thanks for being so real.

KR said...

Your honesty is such a gift! I was at a worship service tonight...have some serious issues to be praying about(my son's heart, many other families in hospital) and for about 15 minutes I was just mentally chewing on how angry I am at a family member...and all my "righteous"(judgemental and easily offended)indignation. pathetic. self-centered sludge. Thanks for being so honest and open. So helpful to know we all wrestle with our score-keeping hearts. God help us all.

Erica said...

Girl, I have so been there and I greatly appreciate your honesty!
I love how real you are...real life issues, with real life emotions! But, we know where our emotions can take us. I have been praying a lot about forgiveness lately. Such great stuff this Bible study is prompting.

Eliseo said...

Oh, Amanda. We've all been there. What a beautiful post that so many women need to hear. And yet I know it must have hurt to write it and be so painfully honest.

I love your heart.

Thank you for being transparent about a lesson God taught you so that hopefully, others can take the more "excellent way."

Including myself.

Eliseo said...

I just realized I'm signed on under my husband's name. Sheesh. That last email was from Dionna - http://emphasisonmoms.blogspot.com

emily said...

i am not sure if i could ever do this myself, but as i read this, and then saw that the money was returned i thought how cool would it be if you extended grace towards that etsy seller and sent the money back with a note.. again, easier said than done, but i just wonder what happened to cause all of that with her, and how horrible she must feel, especially since she's avoiding communication with you, etc. we all mess up, but how often to those we sin again shower blessings back towards us as Christ does so freely on a daily basis?
anyway, just a thought.. you could also go get stuff from michaels to make your own? or take a class that teaches you how to make your own.you might just discover a hidden talent. :)

Moose Mama said...

Thank-you for your transparency. You bless me, Amanda.

Melana

lori said...

good post! That money would drive me crazy, just use it to buy someone else a gift.
Besides now your mom is painting the letters ;)

sos said...

What a totally honest post and you can write as well as your mother!
I do think there is something to glean from this--when I read it I thought Amanda has a tender heart that has not hardened.

Daniels Five said...

This has been making me think about some one I should forgive but haven't thanks for making me think. My plog is a private blog but if you ever which to read please let me know, I would be honored. Michelle Daniels
michelledaniels68@gmail.com

Becca~TimeWellSpent said...

Such a timely post for me to read. This past week I was hurt by a very close friend. She's emailed me a couple of time (we usually call each other several times a week). I've responded- but in a very informational way and very to the point. Not chatty or happy. I've not wanted to talk to her and have struggled with the knowledge that I need to forgive her but I don't FEEL like doing it. Thank you for this good nudge in the right direction. She is a dear friend and I need to sit down and talk it out with her.

jennyhope said...

Girl seriously I will do your letters for free. You just show me what you want. I think I remember Jacksons. I have a lot of people ask me to do scriptures and etc and I will not ever let anyone pay me since they are my friends and I enjoy it so you mean the world to me and I would really love to do them for you. Not that you are wanting that but it is something I like to do for fun.

jennyhope said...

ok so your mom just cracked me up!! Felt and glitter...just what the dr. ordered.

Lisa @ The Preacher's Wife said...

Amanda,

You are precious. There's not a one of us who hasn't walked this same road but been too chicken to admit it when we didn't extend grace. The only way this situation would have been wasted is if you'd kept this valuable lesson to yourself. I think your darlin' momma calls it swallowing seed? You've done no such thing but tossed it out there for us to consider. I thank you..:)

Lisa

Shabby Mama said...

you are so precious and transparent.

now maybe go spend that money here www.shopsmallwords.com. i love what she did for my Henry's nursery!

Rebecca said...

Amen! It is so hard to forgive sometimes, and your post illuminates that. But it also points ou the folly in unforgiveness and the grace of our God when we choose to obey.

Thank you,
Rebecca

gena said...

Thank you for sharing this post. This summer I have had a situation that I have been struggling with.....I've read more books and articles on forgiveness in the last month than I have my entire life. They were all good - but your words today brought me to tears. God has used your testimony in a mighty way today and I thank you for being so transparent and allowing God to use you to help me. God's timing is amazing! Thank you.........

G. said...

I was really ministered to by reading your post. I am going through a "forgiveness" issue myself. Through a mentor, the Lord helped me realize that the reason this person has hurt me (and continues to) is because they are insecure and hurt themselves so by administering love to them (often intentionally) not as to manipulate but, to really love them...I may be administering healing to them. It's hard sometimes but, when The Lord changed my heart about it, I started to see a difference in this person. The tough part is like you said, whether offered or declined, I need to forgive...for my own freedom, and the other persons freedom as well.
Thank you! Sorry so long.

colorado girl said...

I'm de-lurking to say thank you so much for sharing this.

It made me think about something similar in my life. My 9 year-old daughter wanted to sell her American Girl doll and accessories in order to buy an electric guitar. Six months after we received payment through paypal and shipped the doll, the buyer reversed the charge to their credit card saying it was an unauthorized charge. Ripping off a 9 year-old. Nice. It's such a relatively small issue yet difficult to bless the person who did this. Why are the little things harder to forgive sometimes?

Anyway, Amanda, thanks for being so real. I love your gentle, sweet spirit.

Christy

P.S. Can your Mom whip up some letters for me when she's done with Annabeth's? :0)

Lauren Kelly said...

What a lesson we could all use. Thank you so much for this, Amanda!! :)

balmingilead said...

I needed to hear that today Amanda. Thank you for your thoughts.
Amy@balmingilead.typepad.com

tiggerdaisy said...

This is good, Amanda! God has definitely spoken to me through you today. You know what's weird though...sometimes I find it easier to forgive the hard things and harder to forgive the small things. Probably because there are so many more small things in my life--and I can beat myself up mentally with the best of them!

Regarding your situation though, I'm glad God released you from it. Even though it didn't turn out exactly the way you wanted it to turn out, remember this...you had purposed in your heart to forgive. In the end, that is what mattered--God was pleased with you.

By the way, have you contacted the folks who live in your old Irving home? Do you think by chance they still have the letters and are willing to give them to you? I'm sure you've already tried this, but I was curious.

Prayers and blessings, Amanda. Thanks again for a great post!

Rebecca

Mandy said...

Hey Amanda!
I've never written here before- I found you through Travis' and the LPM blogs, but have been reading your blog for a few months now as I have friends entering the world of motherhood and I am truly clueless! Your blog is such a nice addition to the LPM blog for us gals who are your age and about to begin similar journeys and want to try and do it the godly and REAL way. You wouldn't believe how much helpful stuff I have picked up from you, so please know God is using you mightily (btw, my friend Brandi just gave birth to twin boys yesterday!)

Anyhoo, I just had to write today because I had read your post about the canvas letters and decided I just had to do that for my friend. I emailed that woman in April, and waited, emailed again and waited, and waited, we had her shower June 11 and waited some more...she never even wrote back to me! So I don't know what the deal is. I finally just last week gave up and had a local artist here in Tallahassee do the exact same idea for the same price and she turned it around in one day! And they are precious- and now up on the walls when the boys come home this weekend. Here is the artist's site, http://www.debbybrienen.com/, in case you want to try it with her.

Thank you for letting perfect strangers (but sisters in Christ) know you! :)

Mandy

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

It is great that you are letting go of the anger, it can be a hard thing to do, I know. However it seems you are possibly a bit hard on yourself. $111 IS a lot of money. You were taken advantage of and stolen from, and you stood up for yourself and your family and refused to accept it.
Use the refund to take a class in decorating canvas letters.

Megs said...

I've shed tears over these situations more times than I care to admit. Thank you for encouraging us to choose the more excellent way.

Gabby said...

Why does growth always have to
H-U-R-T???

Rose said...

Amanda, this will preach!!! thank you!

Susan said...

Wow, this was a divinely planned devotional for me today. I've been struggling majorly these last few days with unforgiving emotions related to a failed adoption 3 years ago. Sometimes I think I've progressed and then I sink backward. Thank you for reminding me of the effects of unforgiveness. Blessings to you, Amanda.

Jessica said...

I'm amazed...I haven't read your blog in a while or all the other ones that I love because I have just been so busy with my children, but this morning when I read this post I knew that this one was for me. I have been struggling since Monday with a very angry and mean woman next door to me. She shouted ugly things to me, and kicked my door over something rediculous. I too spent time in the shower thinking of things that I should have or would like to have said to her to hurt her emotionally. Its been eating me up, and I realized that I refused to let the devil ruin my days with these thoughts. My husband reminded me that the Bible says, Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath. Ephesians 4:20. Although its only been a few days for me, I'm so thankful you wrote this because I'm done with this situation, and instead of wishing bad upon her I will focus on praying for her salvation. Thanks for such a great post!

Amy T said...

Wow! That was really good. Thanks for sharing so we can all be reminded.

CAROL LIVIN FOR GOD said...

Wow Amanda that was eye opening for me I work in avery diffcult work environment and sometimes my mouth just opens between you and your mom scripture post yesterday.
It really speaks to the heart, thank you for being so open with us seista you all rock and are the real deal thanks for encouraging us seista's on a daily basis. I love you all.You all are great
Hey I have one question any word on the block of hotel rooms for the seista scripture memory verse team? Love you Carol Albuquerque NM

Stacie Lynn said...

What a inspiring post! Thank you so much for your realness (if that's even a word !?). It's comforting to know that others who love Christ struggle with forgiving at times as well.

I've had a battle raging in my heart for a long time trying to forgive a particular family that hurt my family and I so deeply....and to make it all the more difficult, it's my former senior pastor's family.

Because we live in a small town and I periodically run into them now and then, forgiving them has been something that I have to lay at the feet of Jesus every morning when I wake up just to make sure satan doesn't let bitterness rear it's angry head again. It's been a hard, but unexplainably freeing process the Lord has walked me through.

Thank you so much for the verses. It's amazing what a breath of fresh air God's word is!

Heather said...

Thank you for sharing your heart with us Amanda, forgiveness is a tough thing. I have struggled with it too, and over silly things.
Such a great word you shared.

Mommy Dot Com said...

It's God's grace that we can let any offense go. To be honest for a second I wanted to take offense at your small offense (sorry) BUT then I realized there are way too many offenses in life that I could easily get stuck in. It would be foolish of me to escape such prior deep offenses by His grace and then allow my pride to land me in the pit of continual offense. Mercy, Lord, mercy!!
Love you, girl!!!! Thanks for being honest and keeping us on our toes.

Georgia Jan said...

Amanda - sweet girl, this is so good. It blessed me.

I've been there - and learned that when I "win" it doesn't feel nearly as good as I thought it would. Somtimes it is much worse.

One of my favorite quotes about forgiveness and bitterness says:

"Bitterness is when YOU take the poison but you wait for the other person to die."

You're right - they move on while you are consumed with whatever.

Good Word girl,
Georgia Jan

PS: Go shop on Ebay and spend that money girl! Buy something nice for yourself...

deborah said...

Amanda, why don't you send the money to the children in India that you wrote about a couple of months back. I'm sure they could use the funds and Annabeth will probably not notice that she doesn't have letters on the wall of her nursery.

Mindi said...

Amanda,

This post convicted me so much. I have someone I can't forgive. Ironically, I talk to myself about this person in the shower—frequently. I rehearse in my mind speeches I'd like to deliver to them on the various ways they have wronged me or my feelings about their weird unexplainable actions/comments.

Every week in church, no matter what the sermon, I feel this tug on my heart to give it up and just forgive them, but then I can’t. I know I should, but I just cannot let it go. I feel so justified in my frustration. When I think about forgiving, one offense after another floods into my mind and I walk away from the sermon with this thought: I shouldn’t have to forgive her.

I can hardly speak to this person without having physical reactions. Shaking hands, shortage of breath, dry mouth—I’m so angry.

Unfortunately, this circumstance probably doesn’t fall into the category of “big life issue” its really a personality rub.

I know this post was meant by God to give me another chance to let go. I still can’t say I am there, but I took a small step today.

Thanks!

Pipsylou said...

I am SO glad you realized this.

A friend of mine has a little one who was born the same day as your Annabeth. He died 2 months ago.

It's amazing how we can let the inconsequentials take our time up, when they really don't matter at all.

Must mean you are blessed, yes?

Little Steps Of Faith said...

Amanda-
Girl, I totally get this!
But being humble and knowing that this isn't for you to take control of...is so the right thing.
I had a friend who owes me close to a 1000 for a phone bill, and I remember being angry at her and everything, but I don't know, and I can't explain it, but today, this friend is 7 months pregnant with a baby boy, and I couldn't be happier for her; I think its about seeing beyond the picture we do.
God sees far beyond the horizon, and while we are looking at the horizon He is looking at the nearest galaxy.
Whatever this person's deal was, its their deal, and I don't know if you think I am completely crazy, but because I knew that money was already lost basically, and that it was returned, I would go and spend it on someone dear to you; I just don't feel like that money is supposed to go back in your hands...again, you probabyl think I am crazy; but when I had the " Believing God" audio books that were supposed to be DVDS(remember?)- When I sold them on Ebay, knowing I wouldn't get what I paid for, I was ECSTATIC to be able to give them to someone who lived in rural area out west somewhere. How did I know whether or not she had access to even a church way out there...ya hear me I am sure.
Anyway, take a deep breath, God has this, as He has from the beginning:)
xoxo
angie

Mandy said...

I do children's art and would love to paint something for you. I don't do a lot of letters but I can. Email me mandymoodyart@gmail.com and I will send you some things I have done. I don't accept money till I have finished a project.

Kelli said...

Amanda thank you for speaking this truth. Thank you for reminding me the importance of giving forgiveness. Thank you for reminding me the importance of showing grace sooner than later. Thank you for not being afraid to be honest and encouraging to us.

Melinda said...

I love your vulnerability. Sometimes I have an easier time admitting to not forgiving the "big" stuff (that seems more justifiable), than admitting to the smaller, pettier stuff.

This was a word I needed today - thanks again.

Blessings,
Melinda

Kari said...

There have been many times that I have done something that would be totally justified by the world but NOT Christ's way. We are constantly struggling to overcome self....

Teri~Facedown said...

Thank you for sharing this story Amanda! It really spoke truth to my heart tonight!

Cheryl said...

That was excellent. I so appreciate you sharing the struggle you went through and what you learned through it. It was very encouraging for me and very applicable for me right now. I love how God opens my eyes/heart about something in my life through something in someone elses life(even a complete stranger)Awesome! What an incredible, awesome, loving God we have!! Keep running the race siesta! :)

theweaver said...

So I read this... really good post... cataloged it... next day... wham! I didn't apply it right away but today as I was spouting about a major ugly on someone else's part to my husband this came to mind... shoot...

Thank you for this message...

Sunni at The Flying Mum said...

Girl, don't discredit yourself...you were very patient! But I'm glad it's resolved. Might I suggest Kim Wheeler's Small Worlds canvases? LOVE HER, LOVE HER WORK!

Sitesx6 said...

OH MY GOSH...I struggle with this very thing so much.

I get so worked up over the smallest (or even biggest) things, mostly when a sense of justice is at stake. I try really really hard to follow through and be a woman of my word, so I get TOTALLY freaked out when others don't do it too. It controls me and my thoughts for DAYS...as I stew over it and come up with all the things I wish I could say.

I get my feelings hurt so badly-and like you said, eventually you just have to realize it is not hurting the other person one single bit, only ME, MYSELF, AND I.

So sorry this happened to you. Glad you got your money. SHAME SHAME on whoever took advantage of you though. :(
Kelly in Michigan

The Bargain Shopper Lady said...

Hey Amanda!
It sounds like a rough go for both sides. You did go through a lot! I can't get this out of my mind, did you try to write the old house a letter or contact them explaining what happened and asking them to ship the letters to you (if they ever got any)? You could offer to pay them shipping. If I got some letters with someone's babys name, I would be on a hunt to get them to the right person!

Emmy said...

"I jump in the shower or bathtub to get clean, but ironically my thoughts turn to mud."

Wow Amanda... I read your post a few days ago and God has used your quote above over and over again in my head! So I had to come back and comment! So powerful!

I was so convicted how many times my thoughts turn to mud! I wish it was only in the shower or tub... but so many times even in prayer when I feel clean... my thoughts aren't!

Thanks for being so real! I LOVE that about your family! That is what makes LPM approachable!

I grew up in the ministry and I think I have enough church baggage to sink me... but that is why I think God gave you all to me! You all are real and not fake!

Thank you! : )

Kathleen said...

So sorry you got burned on the letter deal~I hate to be taken advantage of as well. You handled it way better than me. Thanks for the example.

Polka Dot Queen on Facebook does some really cute letters. She might even do canvas if you requested. Do yourself a favor and check her stuff out.

Patty said...

Someone hurt me a few months ago and truly shocked me by the way it was done. I replayed it over in my mind a lot. It hit me one morning as I was taking a shower that I needed to forgive her and move on. It is true, forgiveness is for us, not the one who has hurt us or wronged us. I was over the constant thoughts about it and I asked God to help me to forgive and to also forgive my unforgiving heart. Thank you for reminding us there is a more excellent way!
Love you,
Patty

Jamie said...

I know this post was actually about getting over the problem but...

I was reading another blog and I thought of you and your letter problem. This girl made letters that sound similiar to the ones that you had ordered (she got her idea from an etsy shop). Maybe you could contact her to see if she would be interested in making you some and actually ship them to you. Here is the blog link: http://justlovelykatherine.blogspot.com/2009/07/i-found-these-cute-personalized.html

Just thought you might be interested.

-Jamie

Tara D. said...

I agree with Sunni. :-) You were very patient and there is nothing wrong with wanting to be supplied with an item you paid for. I know it was a learning/humbling experience for you and God used it...but I agree that you shouldn't discredit yourself too much.

natalie said...

So hard sometimes to forgive and let go of the bitterness... especially when our babies are involved so we can try to justify it to ourselves!

I agree that you were not out of line in working to get your refund... but it sounds like you're maybe feeling more convicted over your attitude than your actions.

Here is a book(let) that I've heard recommended many times...
http://www.gcov.org/articles/bitter.htm