I like to pray in the car. It seems to be a good time for me to actually "listen". Here's what I heard this morning on the way to court...
God doesn't differentiate between sins. That means me yelling at my kids and getting angry because of stupid stuff is the same as Pumpkin's mom pinching her.
(I really wanted to argue with God about this.)
God forgives me when I screw up. It's called mercy and grace. It's how He does things.
(And Lord knows I need abundant amounts of grace and mercy.)
If I'm going to show God's love to others, I have to forgive them.
(And not just the easy stuff like someone cutting me off in traffic.)
Oh crap. That means I have to forgive Pumpkin's mom.
I've wrestled with this concept before. Forgiveness is a choice. It is active. And I have to choose to do it. I might have to choose to forgive over and over. But I have to do it.
I have to forgive Pumpkin's mom and show her God's grace and mercy.
This does NOT mean that Pumpkin has to go back home in order for this forgiveness stuff to work. Pumpkin needs to be safe. But it does mean that I have to have the right attitude.
I was nervous about being with Pumpkin's mom today. In my little world things had changed. For some reason (and not a valid one) this physical abuse became worse to me than felony abandonment and medical neglect. I didn't want to trust her (even though we were going to be in an incredibly public place). I didn't want her to be near Pumpkin (even though that's all Pumpkin would want). I wanted to punish her.
But I didn't. I put Pumpkin in her stroller and walked up to the courthouse where her mom was waiting out front. I was pleasant and made small talk. We rode the elevator together up to the floor where court was going to be at. While waiting I talked about the beach on Saturday and told her how much fun Pumpkin had. I also asked if the CPS worker had given her the most recent set of pictures of Pumpkin.
It wasn't easy. I didn't come out and "tell" Mom that I forgave her. And like I said, it's something I'm going to have to do more than just one time. But I tried this morning. And it wasn't nearly as awkward as I thought it was going to be.