Recently, I said something that I promised to never say.
And for hours after, I hated myself for saying it.
It was ugly. It was a lie. It was a careless insult hurled in a moment of anger. I looked through my seven-year-old daughter who was behaving badly and I called her stupid.
Dread and regret filled my heart like sticky wet cement as soon as the words hit my daughter’s tender soul.
I wanted to take the words back.
I tried to take them back.
I pretended that she misunderstood me … that I had really said that the situation we were in was stupid … but she saw through my excuse.
I then began to apologize and blurt out truthful adjectives … but she was too wounded to hear or to feel anything other than sting of my negligent tongue.
Turning from her room, I gave her space and I reflected on my actions. I asked God for forgiveness and for wisdom on how to proceed.
That night, I tip-toed into my daughter’s room as she slept. I wrapped my arms around her, kissed her head and wept into her soft golden hair.
The sweet little girl who can sleep soundly during a thrashing thunderstorm, woke up, placed her hand on my face and said “Mommy, I forgive you.”
Weeks have passed since that ugly day and still, my words haunt me. I know that I have been forgiven … by both my daughter and by God. I also know that wallowing in the guilt will only lead to more pain, so I am not wallowing. But I am more cognizant of my words … my tone of voice … my anger that sometimes bubbles up and out of me without notice.
Confessing my sin against my daughter in this public format (please know that me admitting to calling my daughter stupid was more difficult for me than writing about my postpartum mood disorder experience I had three-years ago) is my way of owning what I did. Not to beat myself up … not to ask for all of you to build me up … not to dwell, but to own … to accept responsibility for my past actions AND responsibility for doing better in the future.
I must. do. better.
And to my sweet, sweet girl who may read this several years from now … my heart aches knowing that I broke yours. Thank you for loving me and for forgiving me. You are beautiful. You are kind. You are wise beyond your years. You are smart … you are so smart … so valuable … so treasured.
He who guards his mouth and his tongue,
Guards his soul from troubles.
Proverbs 21:23 NASB