Receiving the Gift of Forgiveness – Day 20

John 3:16

For God so loved the world the He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Acts 10:43

Everyone who believes in Him [Jesus] receives forgiveness of sins through His name.

1. What was your favorite Christmas gift as a child? How did you feel when you opened it?

At the moment my mind is blank for a specific Christmas gift! But that’s because I have received so many wonderful Christmas gifts as a child. My parents always went above and beyond for my brother and me. They always put a lot of thought, time, and money into the Christmas presents they gave us. I always remember waking up really early on Christmas mornings because I was so excited. It was pure  happiness and excitement as I opened my Christmas presents.

2. Do you most enjoy giving gifts or receiving them? Why?

I love receiving gifts, but I love picking out gifts for others even more. I enjoy finding something that I know they will like and remind me of them. I love watching them open the gift and seeing the joy and excitement on their face.

3. It is easier for you to give forgiveness or receive it? Why?

It’s easier for me to give forgiveness. I feel guilty when I hurt someone. For wronging them in someway. My intentions are never to be cruel, insensitive, mean, hurtful, etc. to someone. I hate knowing that I caused someone else pain.

4. Think about God’s gift of forgiveness wrapped up under the tree of eternal life. The tag has your name on it. To:______________ From: God. What draws you to open it? What makes you reluctant to accept it?

It’s from God! Why wouldn’t I want to open it?! Knowing he loves me and will give me His forgiveness is comforting and makes me feel loved. I’d be reluctant because there is no denying that I have wronged God.

5. Whom have you hurt with your words, thoughts, or actions and from whom do you need to ask for the gift of forgiveness? To:_______________ From:_______________ Tell them. Give them the gift of “I’m sorry, will you please forgive me?” and receive the gift from them.

Hannah and Jason

Forgiving God – Day 19

Mark 2:7

Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?

1. Forgiving yourself and others seems natural, but forgiving God? How does that concept make you feel?

God is perfect and cannot sin, but we are not perfect and were born sinners. It’s not a crazy concept to me. Since we are not perfect and are sinners it’s not a surprise that we sometimes get angry at God.

2. Do you at times feel as if God let you down? In what ways? Tell Him.

Dear God,

I wasn’t directly angry at You. I know You love me and I know You love Hannah. You are my comforter and will use the death of Hannah for amazing things. The glory will be pointed back to You.

I have felt like You looked away. I know You could have healed Hannah, but You chose not to. I wish I could fully understand why. But I trust You and will continue to follow You and Your ways.

3. Take a thick marker and a helium balloon. Write on it ways you feel God has let you down.

4. Ask God to help you release your balloon.

Journey to the Snowdrift of Forgiving Yourself – Day 18

Psalm 142:7

Set me free from my prison, that I may praise Your name.

1. How do you feel guilty or blame yourself for the loss of your child?

Right after Hannah’s fatal diagnosis I instantly beginning thinking of things I had done that may have caused her condition. However, it soon became very clear that I had no control over it. Her diagnosis was completely random. I did everything I could to do the right during my pregnancy. I ate right, stayed away from chemicals, exercised, avoided medicines that weren’t safe during pregnancy, didn’t drink alcohol, got plenty of rest, went to all my doctors appointments, took my prenatal vitamins, etc. There was nothing else I could have done and in the end Turner Syndrome claimed Hannah’s life. Even the best doctors in the world couldn’t do anything to save her.

Though, sometimes I still feel guilty that I caused her to pass away sooner. Was I too stressed about her fatal diagnosis, knowing that she was going to die? Did my anxiety disorder cause her to pass away sooner?  If I just controlled my stress and anxiety maybe Hannah would have had more time. Maybe she would have been born alive. I must remind myself that I had no control over the situation. Doctors told me that they didn’t expect Hannah to make it to her 26th week. Doctors didn’t think that Hannah would be born alive. I’m still learning not to blame myself. I have forgiven myself multiple times, but unforgiveness seems to always find it’s way back in.

God was in control. God is still in control. I will continue to turn to Him and ask Him to help me through this blame and unforgiveness every time it creeps back in.

2. Have you forgiven yourself? If not, maybe it’s time to share your feelings with God. Read 1 John 1:9.

Forgiving myself is an ongoing process. Some days I have forgiven myself and others days I haven’t.

3. Now personalize 1 John 1:9: I confess my sin of blaming myself for __________. God is faithful and just and has forgiven me for my sin and purified me from all unrighteousness. I am forgiven! Date_______________________.

I confess my sin of blaming myself for Hannah passing away in her 24th week. God is faithful and just and has forgiven me for my sin and purified me from all unrighteousness, I am forgiven! Date March 25th, 2013.

4. Live forgiven. The next time you are tempted to blame yourself for the loss of your child, refer to this page.

Forgiving Others – Day 17

Luke 23:34

Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.

1. Do you blame anyone for your loss or for hurting you through your experience of loss?

I don’t blame anyone for Hannah’s death. I did blame my CHOP high risk Doctor for hurting me. The day she confirmed our worst nightmare she had wonderful bedside manner. She even gave me her email so I could contact her with any questions of concerns and said she would respond to me, even check in on me if she didn’t hear from me. So, the next day I emailed her. I had a bunch of questions I needed to hear the answers (if there was one). Well, she went behind my back shared my email with my regular OB/GYN and I never heard from her. I felt betrayed by my high risk Doctor. I was very angry at her. I didn’t ask for her email. She could have had the courtesy to contact me and tell me she talked to my regular OB/GYN about my decision, questions, and concerns in the email.

I think I forgive her. I’m not angry like I was. Forgiveness isn’t a one and done thing, but when unforgiveness starts to come back up, I need to forgive her. I need to pray that she doesn’t do this with other patients.

2. List those you need to forgive.

I need to continue to forgive my high risk Doctor.

3. Ho do Jesus’ words “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” encourage you to do the same?

If Jesus can forgive those who condemned Him, tortured Him, mocked Him, denied Him, and murdered Him, who am I not to forgive? Jesus forgave those who persecuted Him. How can I not forgive someone who has unintentionally (or intentionally) hurt me?

4. Write these words in red letters over your list of names. Tear up the paper and throw it away.

Hidden Unforgiveness – Day 16

Psalm 139:23-24

Search me, O God, and know my heart: test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

1. Have you been sensitive or overreacting to people or situations? Is so, how? How is unforgiveness like decay if untreated?

I haven’t overreacted to people or situations. However, I was more sensitive to a specific situation. Being sensitive to a situation doesn’t necessarily mean there is unforgiveness. Losing Hannah has made me more sensitive to certain situations, whether they are positive, negative, or neutral situations.

Unforgiveness is such a heavy burden to carry. I don’t like it. It can make a person bitter and unhappy in life. It can tear family and relationships apart. It affects everyone around, not just the person holding on to the unforgiveness. It eats away at you and when left alone it becomes so deep and so much harder to get rid of.

2. Is there anyone you need to forgive? Who?

No. If I was asked this a week ago the answer would have been yes. But I have forgiven them. Feelings may come up in the future, because I am only human, but I will turn to God and continue to forgive.

3. God will enable you to forgive when you place your confidence in His ability. Read Isaiah 41:10 and Philippians 4:13. Say, “God, thank You for exposing my unforgiveness toward                                                              . I forgive                                                                   for                                                                                                                           .”