faith, Family Fun & Fitness

3o Days of Forgiveness in June: Loving Boundaries

“You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.”

(Psalm 86:5, NIV)

Mary grew up with an alcoholic father. “When he wasn’t drinking, he was a good father. But as I got older, the times when he was sober became fewer.” 

By the time Mary graduated from high school, her father was rarely sober. “He wasn’t physically abusive. He’d just yell and carry on about everything. Anything could set him off,” Mary explains.

For years, Mary struggled with the concept of forgiveness. Then one day, she was having dinner with her friend Shannon when the topic came up. Because Shannon was a dear friend that she trusted not to gossip, Mary shared her past with her. 

“He’s not a bad person. He’d like to see his grandkids. I know I’m supposed to forgive and forget. I just don’t want him to damage my kids the way he damaged me and my siblings.” 

Shannon listened as Mary shared her heart. Then she said, “We’re not commanded to automatically forget someone’s actions. 

“As children of God, we are called to forgive. But it’s also wise to be aware of how your father affected you and how he might affect your children. You can set boundaries to protect yourself and your kids, such as not visiting your dad when he’s drunk. It’s healthy to set loving limits in your relationships.”

God, help me to set healthy boundaries with the people I’ve forgiven. I want to be kind, but I also know You don’t want me to be a doormat. Help me to stand up for myself and shine Your love at the same time. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen. 

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Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Celebrating Moms in May: Redemption in Progress

His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?

John 9:2 (NIV)

Sheryl’s son was diagnosed with autism when he was five. After that, Sheryl spent a lot of time online looking for causes. She made appointments with the best specialists in the world. But even with all their medical knowledge, the doctors couldn’t explain exactly why her son had the medical condition.

A few days after another disappointing doctor’s visit, Sheryl was waiting in line at the coffee shop. The woman behind her struck up a conversation, and they both discovered they had children with autism.

Sheryl felt relieved to connect with someone who understood her family’s struggle. “I keep trying to figure out why this happened. I want to know what I did. I must have done something wrong, and God has punished my son for it.”

The other mother smiled at Sheryl sympathetically. She shared the truth of John 9.  “God didn’t send autism to punish you or your child, but He can use it for His glory. What was meant to hurt and destroy your family will become a beacon of light that calls others toward God.”

God, help me to remember that You can redeem any illness or disability. Please take the painful parts of my life and use them to draw others closer to You. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

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