Friday, October 4

Cows, Colleges and Contentment...

Less Bitterness, More forgiveness...

Today's challenge is easier for me than overcoming fear, but still something that I think we all need to look into.  Yes, I can be bitter with the way people have treated me.  But when I think about the people who I am bitter at, I have forgiven what they did to me.  But I hold in my heart bitterness for their character, and I thought I would never do this.  I love my mother to death, but sometimes I didn't like to go to her with personal problems dealing with another person.  I knew she loved her daughter so much that she would continually find fault in this person, even if the friend and I moved past our differences.  I told myself I would not do that... but yet I do.  I have forgiven their action towards me, and find a way to move past it to become friends again, but what I do is to judge their character silently.  I mean, I am so mean in my heart towards them that I will look at facebook photos, or hear stories of them, and think well it's only because they are XYZ that that happened for them (usually a negative XYZ...)  When I think about it, it's usually out of jealousy.  I want what they have, so because they have wronged me, I think negatively of them... I know it really makes NO sense, but that is how my messed up brain works.  The challenge for today is to write down the name of the person, write them a letter (you won't send) detailing the harm done to you.  It doesn't end there though!  The letter is to write down how you will let go of the bitterness and then PRAY for them every day of the week!  My generic letter is to write down how I will pray for BLESSINGS for the persons life.  I will pray that God shows me how to see them as He sees them.  I hope that this will help me to see who people really are, and not just their human, broken sides.  I know I want people to remember the good parts of me and not just my shortcomings, so I will do the same for others.

Although today talked specifically about overcoming bitterness toward people, I am also going to be working on not being bitter towards our life situation.  It's not a surprise that I was not prepared for military life.  I really had NO idea what I was getting into when I married The Mr.  I thought, he works for the military, that's his job, we all have jobs and it doesn't define us. It is a lot harder than that.  From where we live(I miss MN and fall and family and friends, and I HATE the heat), to the stress his job brings him, to the fear of not knowing the future at ALL and much more, it is tough to not get bitter about our situation.  I have to remember to be thankful for what we HAVE been given through this opportunity, and what we are able to do.  We get to see the country, we get to teach our children to experience many new things, there are great health benefits (that makes up for the kind of yucky pay), my husband gets to come home almost every night (Even if it is just to watch him eat dinner and crawl into bed, it's better than him being deployed, or being unemployed), we get to learn to really rely on each other and challenge/strengthen our marriage because of the obstacles we face.  My husband although has a controversial job (aka peace vs. war) he gives up his freedom to protect people and their opinions and that is something to be proud of.  We give up our ideal living situation to help and serve others.  And yes, I say we... maybe it is taking too much credit for myself, but I feel that we are in this military thing together.  Too bad if you think I think too highly of my job!  I also complain about not getting paid enough to cover our student loan debt, but I have to remind myself that we are two of the very fortunate people in this world to receive education and excellent education at that.  I wouldn't go back and not do college, so I need to stop complaining, stop being bitter.

See... look I REALLY do have a lot to be content with: an amazing, hard working husband, a beautiful, sweet son, a roof over our head (a new one too, literally!) and a Risen Lord who overcame death to give us life.  

Contentment, happiness and sweetness are antonyms for bitterness.  I can't wait to get back to a place where my heart is filled with contentment and happiness and people see the sweetest exude from me and use it as a defining character for me.  Do you have stories of overcoming the bitterness you feel/felt in your life and learning to live a life of forgiveness? Anything you have learned to help give me a heart of compassion and empathy towards people?  How about not being bitter about situations you have found yourself in?  I'm sure there are stories that are way worse than ours, so I will continually work on praising God for the gifts he HAS given me, and not just see the things that are turning me bitter! I want to be content and happy with this beautiful life I have been given!

PS- A side note on the title... that is SERIOUSLY the slogan of the town I grew up in.  I have a hard time thinking of the word contentment and NOT thinking about our unique town slogan.  I don't really want to add more cows into my life, just contentment! :)


  1. Wow. Forgiveness has been the topic of the week in my life. I just asked for forgiveness from my son, who is almost 26.

    Annie Lamott (you need to read her if you have not) says forgiveness is when you stop picking at the scab. Doesn't mean healing or peace. Just letting it go bit by bit. It does not mean forgetting. It does not mean you have to stay in an unhealthy situation.

    As someone with a toxic mom, I understand where you are coming from. Learning to love your parents warts and all is a lifetime project. Separating their "stuff" from our "stuff" is not easy. Maybe part of the reason you are far from family is to give you time to decide how you feel about certain stuff. Also, remember these feelings when Hagen is 15 and separating from you. Giggle

    I can't speak to your military environment except to say - as I did earlier - to look for support from other women/families in your situation. That whole not needing to reinvent the wheel thing. I have so much respect for the choice to serve!!!!!!

    And as for you college debt, pay what you can and still be able to life. It's not going anywhere. Consolidate it if you can to get the interest rate down and then don't sweat the timetable.


  2. Wow Susie! Thanks for the comments! That's amazing that you had the strength to ask for forgiveness! Luckily, my mom is AMAZING. She just struggles with this ONE area, and I'm learning I see that it is an easy one to struggle with. She just wanted to protect and love her children, I can't really blame her. But I also didn't want to inherit that trait.. but I did. And now I'm learning how to get rid of it!! Thanks again for the other suggestions! I will continue to keep them in mind!