Super Bowl Sunday had proved to be an epic day for me. After church, my wonderful husband, Britton, gave me what every mother with a three-week-old newborn and three-year-old son dreams of…a nap. Not only did he take care of both kids, but also he took care of them without anyone disturbing me for two-and-a-half hours of dreamless bliss. I’m pretty sure I went through the deepest REM cycle of my life. Then, later that evening, I enjoyed getting pampered by all the Lakeside ladies who eagerly snuggled my little baby, Judah, the entire length of the Super Bowl. I cared little about those two teams tackling each other on the field, but rather I did care about the delicious spread of snacks cluttering the table, the interaction with people who are actual adults, and the fact that I wasn’t carrying anything but myself for a while. These simple things were, in fact, the highlight of my whole week.
Then, after the beautiful madness that is America’s Super Bowl Sunday reached its conclusion, and I was sitting in bed finally looking at my phone, something dawned on me. As I was scrolling through Facebook, I saw my aunt had posted on my mom’s wall “Happy birthday Sis!” It was 11:30 p.m. Utah time, and a whole hour later Texas time meaning that I had completely missed my mother’s birthday. What a blunder. Immediately, I did what any person would and called my mom to wake her up in the middle of her REM cycle to say a very pathetic happy birthday. After I hung up, I cried a good bit and sent her a long text with a sincere apology asking her to forgive me.
I felt awful. Anyone would, right? But, my mother had just spent nearly two weeks by my side at the hospital after my C-section and later at my house taking care of my entire family’s needs. She had selflessly done laundry, cooked dinners, and changed diapers without me every having to ask her to do anything for me because she had already done it. She deserved so much better, but that wasn’t exactly the whole story either. Regretfully, I had done this very same thing before and had promised myself that I would never make that mistake again. I had forgotten her birthday when I was a senior in high school. When she hinted about it the day after, I was too prideful to admit my mistake. I tried to play it off that I just had to get her present to her. She had been pretty upset, but didn’t show it. I don’t know if I ever truly told her sorry, but inwardly, I cringed at my own selfishness.
When I reflected about this whole experience, I couldn’t help but notice how it echoes our relationship with God. So many times in our lives we do something that we truly feel horribly about. We sin. Then, we realize our mistake and pray to God about it. We promise God and ourselves that we will never do that again, but the truth is, we can only hope that we won’t walk blindly into sin again. So, we trudge along, and then sure enough, somewhere down the road we mess up all over again. We seem to be forever conquered by our own flesh, by our own humanity. Yet, scripture speaks against this is Romans 8 when Paul talks about our freedom from, “the law of sin and death.” (I encourage you to sift through this passage to grasp and understand for yourselves). Truly, Christ has set us free. We still continually battle with our flesh in this life, but Christ’s blood through the graciousness of our amazing God covers our sin.
With that said, it seems that God isn’t as concerned about us sinning as He is concerned about how react to our sin. The first time I forgot about my mother’s birthday, I hardly admitted my mistake. Instead, I let guilt seep into the crevices of my heart and thought I had done something completely unforgivable. Then, years later, after I did the exact same thing all over again, I reacted oppositely. I felt the weight of my mistake when I thought about how much love my mother had showed me so recently. I openly admitted my stupidity asking for forgiveness, and my mother forgave me with open arms.
As we walk forward in our faith, we begin to know the heart of God, and this understanding changes our hearts. We will inevitably sin, but, if Christ is in us, we learn to respond to our sin with changed hearts full of thankfulness for God’s grace. Our desire is to please our Father, but He knows we are not perfect, and that is why we rest in freedom of His unending love and grace.