Welcome to Flawed yet Function and thank you for stopping by today! I have some thoughts to share with you today. This summer I made some monumental mistakes, and they were all grouped in a one week period. Several BIG slaps to the face in rapid succession. Forgiving yourself is hard to do. For me, I think I should’ve done better or I was in control of that mistake so it shouldn’t have happened. Maybe and maybe not. It is so hard to let our own mistakes go though. I’ve been learning this summer to forgive myself. My family does (did!) so why shouldn’t I?
**Early June 2018**
It’s been a whirlwind of a week here at my house. I’ve been hit in the face several times with mistakes I’ve made, and I’ve had to learn how to forgive myself. It is so much harder than it sounds. Care to take a meander through my week and my brain? Then read on to see what I’ve learned!
In a situation where I am out of control, it is easy to trust God and other people to do what is best. My AVM story is an example of that. God gave me perfect peace throughout the hospital stay, surgery, and recovery. A big piece of that peace came from knowing that worrying or being anxious was not going to get me anywhere. My life and health were completely out of my control. I had nothing to do but wait and let God work through some amazing doctors, nurses, and therapists.
Now, when I do the damage or make the mistake to other innocent people. It is so hard for me to move on and forgive myself, even though (usually) the people I hurt are quick to forgive, because they were powerless to change the situation. I had the power.
What happened, you might ask? I (and my family) just lived through the Stauch version of a series of unfortunate events.
The Duffel Bag
I ordered Dan a new duffel bag, but I was tight on the shipment time for it to arrive before we departed for Chicago for an extend family vacation. I called FedEx to have them hold it at their location so we could pick it up on our way out of town. As insurance, I ordered the same one from Amazon which arrived on time. We pack in the duffel from Amazon and drive to the FedEx location to pick up the duffel on the way out of town. It isn’t there.
Upon looking into this situation after returning home, I didn’t listen to the operator telling me which location the bag was being held at. I took us to the location I knew, 35 minutes in the opposite direction of the airport AND not the location with the bag. Doh!
Well, we do have a duffel bag so…on to Chicago!
This is just silliness, but helps to paint the whole picture. Our flight departed at 6pm from Chicago, so we decided to make a day of it so we weren’t rushed to arrive at the airport on time, and the kids could have time to play. I found a company online that sells American made (sewn in Chicago) jeans. The styles looked good, and they hem on the spot in the store, so we planned to stop there and pick up a couple pairs for Dan and I. It was a bust. Nothing fit us. This is a bigger bummer because Dan didn’t pack a plan B, so he was out of luck for pants for our entire trip to Canada! We hope it doesn’t get too cold!
Dan and I have been preparing for a vacation out of the country, to Canada, with our extended family for about a year. I did a quick Google search to find out if my children needed passports. Since I was biased against getting them, I was quick to accept the first response that said “Children under 16 years of age only need to show US citizenship.” Great, not getting passports.
So that statement is true, from Canada’s perspective, but not from the US’s perspective. I neglected to check, or even think to check, that the US wouldn’t let us leave the country without a passport, even if Canada would let us in. Want to know when we found this out? At the airport check-in counter.
Yes, I had my family packed and at the airport 4 hours from our home…unable to board the plane.
Want to know about grace? Tell your 3 and 4 year old that they will not be able to get on the plane that they’ve been told so much about. After I explained as best I could through tear-filled eyes, they accepted the information. Their response the rest of the day/next couple days? “We were going to go on a plane ride, but we couldn’t!” Almost with a “what-are-you-gonna-do?!?” attitude. No tears, no screaming and yelling, just happily playing on the escalators and people movers while daddy talked to the airline for an hour or more trying to sort it out.
So after a quick stop for dinner and refills on water (we had already emptied them in preparation of going through security…thirsty kiddos!!), we were on our way home, quite bummed. We arrived home at 11:45pm.
I spent the following day just down in the dumps. I couldn’t stop thinking about what I’d done. Unwisely, I looked at the US travel regulations and saw very quickly and clearly that all US citizens, any age, must have a passport to leave the country. This clarity and ease of finding the information only furthered my depression. How had I missed this the first time??
The next day Dan and I decide to do a mini vacation to Mackinac city and Mackinac Island. Even though I’ve lived in Michigan for 16 years, I’ve never made it out to Mackinac Island. Luckily it is not peak tourist season, so we are able to book a cabin with 36 hours notice. Woot!
I still struggled to pull myself out of this depression until the morning we left for Mackinac. As I am showering, I realize there is no reason I cannot be joyful, even when I make mistakes (BIG mistakes). My children have long since moved on, after only 2 days, the great airplane ride is just a distant memory. Dan has been super-duper gracious to me, and he really has moved on too. It’s just me wallowing in despair.
While getting ready for the day, I pray for God to remove this cloud of despair, help me to forgive myself, and enjoy this trip with my family.
The drive to Mackinac goes off without a hitch until we unload at the cabin and realize: we have no idea how to “camp.” By this point it’s just comical, Dan and I are laughing so hard when we realize we have no towels, no dish/hand soap, no cloth/sponge to clean the dishes, no utensils for cooking, not enough paper plates, no beach towels, no sand shovels/buckets, no memory card for the camera, etc.. So the first order of business after unloading was to head to Walmart for crucial supplies.
Once we get the necessities, the rest of the trip is smooth sailing. We take some great pictures, eat good food, enjoy Mackinac Island, s’mores (gluten-free and dairy-free, of course!), campfires, and each other’s company. It was just the break we needed.
Then we went home…
Deep Freezer Error (User Error, I mean)
We arrive home to the stench of peaches and putrid pork in our garage. Did our deep freezer give up the ghost? Nope, we accidentally shut it off, so everything thawed and rotted. We actually likely turned it off a couple days before we left but didn’t notice. The deep freezer is our primary freezer so we effectively came home from vacation to no food…back to the grocery store!
**Back to present day**
What a week, right? The time period is exactly 7 days, Saturday to Friday. It was a hard week that was turned comical and joyous due to my bringing my mistakes to God in prayer. Asking Him to change my attitude and give me joy in the midst of the mess I made. He delivered. He always delivers. That week is fondly remembered in my kid’s minds as the best week, and we have plans to return to “the cabin” next year because we loved it so much.
You will make mistakes. Forgiving yourself is fully possibly with God’s help. He can use all that you do for good and His glory. Will you let Him? He uses me which I hope you can see here that I am a deeply flawed human being. However, God can use any willing vessel, and I am willing.
Do struggle with forgiving yourself? Do you know the ONE who can make that guilt and self-loathing disappear?? Contact me if you don’t!