I was taught the "Lord's Prayer" as a child (Matthew 6:9-13). For many years I recited it by heart at bedtime with my parents. But the prayer did not come alive for me until later in life. As a parent of special needs boys, I have lived through many adventurous, but painful experiences. During those times, I used the Lord's Prayer as my blueprint for becoming a better parent. I especially love the section on forgiveness, as it has helped me grow into a more peaceful mom. My formula for a life of peace is living in a state of constant forgiveness. I have learned that as God forgives me of my everyday shortcomings, I need to live in a ready state of forgiveness.
One of the challenges our youngest son has is in the area of problem solving. His "solutions" often end up causing distress for my husband and me. One morning as I was getting dressed, he spied one lonely egg in the carton. One of the symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is that you have an intense desire for everything to be even, neat and tidy. Just one little egg in a carton was bothersome to Sean. In his mind, he was solving a problem by figuring out how to get rid of the one egg. So he plucked the egg out of the carton, opened the door to the garage and threw it as far as he could. Then he threw away the carton in the trash. Problem solved!
When I was ready to prepare Sean's breakfast, I searched for the egg carton. "That's funny," I remarked. "I know I had one egg. I was going to use it to make your breakfast, Sean." He looked at me very innocently. Asking Sean if he knew where the egg was, he quickly confessed, "Sorry mom. I accidentally broke it." I asked him where the cracked egg was and he proceeded to give me several versions of the incident as I gave my response of "No you didn't." in between each story.
I kept questioning him until the truth finally emerged. He then explained, "After I took it out of the carton, I threw it up in the rafters of the garage," as he demonstrated the lob. As a younger parent, my immediate reaction would have been predictable: anger. But over the years I have learned to invest time each morning with the Lord, and I've been transformed into a more loving parent.
After peacefully responding, "Well, let's go look for it," we discussed different ways he could have responded to this problem that would have been more appropriate. I wanted this to be a teachable moment, not a time of shaming.
As many parents of young children know, this incident is not an unusual experience. But Sean was 21, and I was still helping him solve these every-day problems. Thankfully I was able to stay calm after we found the egg mess splattered on the unfinished wall by the lawn mower. I was relieved to see the egg had landed nice and low and all in one spot. It could have been so much worse!
I infused humor into recounting the experience later in the day. This allowed Sean to experience my forgiveness. How could I do any less when God has forgiven me of my sins? Mine are messier than broken eggs. Forgiveness is the tool that unlocked the door of my anger and allowed me to step through to overflowing peace and joy. Later that day with forgiveness in my heart, words of reconciliation and restoration flowed from my lips. Then a bond of love enveloped us.
Who would have thought that a broken egg could usher in healing through forgiveness? By hiding the Lord's Prayer deep in my heart as a child, the seed of forgiveness grew so that I might follow the example that Christ laid out for me. I am thankful that Jesus taught me that God's ways are higher than my ways, and His thoughts are higher than my thoughts. As long as I lean on the Lord in the midst of my pain, I am able to live a more excellent life, full of peace.
"The mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart." Matthew 12:34