Sunday, September 28, 2008

Change of Season

Fall is here. The leaves are changing colors and reflect God's imagination - the reds, greens, oranges, browns - it is a kaleidoscope of beauty that takes my breath away. The air is getting cooler and has a crispness to it - breathe deep, can you feel it? Fall means football, blankets and cuddling, warm and yummy food, hiking, exploring, enjoying the last moments before it gets cold, and, most of all, being thankful for what God has blessed us with.


This week's chapter in our bible study is about forgiveness. At first, I didn't really think this was something I struggled with. I don't stay mad and tend to get my feelings hurt more than being truly hurt. However, after reading this chapter, I realized that I do need to work on forgiveness. According to Chapman, forgiveness is using honesty, compassion, and self-awareness to reconcile with someone who has hurt you. When someone hurts me, I usually keep the hurt bottled up and don't say anything to the other person. I usually assume that I overreacted in some way, so the being hurt is my own fault. Of course, then I blame myself. I like how Chapman puts it - that we need to practice forgiveness in small ways and offer apologies even for small offenses. In other words - not keeping the hurt bottled up (which only causes more stress) and be loving and honest. Chapman offers four steps to forgive.

  1. Release - the hurt and anger

  2. Confess - your own failures in the situation

  3. Return good for bad - be kind even to those who don't reciprocate

  4. Use your pain well - inner reflection; using your pain to grow. Chapman states that a "forgiving person will not wallow in hurt or lash out in anger, but will spend energy seeking reconciliation."

To forgive, you must use the above steps each time you are hurt. However, to truly become a forgiving person, you must do the following.

  1. Forgive yourself - this is something I struggle with; to become a forgiving person, we must forgive ourselves and realize that we too are human and make mistakes.
  2. Apologize for your own failures in relationships - this means being quick to apologize and being honest with our offenses. Chapman offers some ways to apologize in a heartfelt way. You can say "I was wrong" to accept responsibility for wrongful behavior. To express regret, "I'm sorry that my actions hurt you so deeply. I feel bad for what I have done." When you seek restitution, "What can I do to make this up to you?" When expressing a genuine desire to change behavior, "I don't ever want to do that again." Or, to ask for forgiveness "Will you please forgive me?" I realized from this that I do say that I'm sorry (a lot), but I need to also ask for forgiveness.
  3. Have an attitude of authentic love toward others - become a conduit for forgiveness at all times - no matter how many times a person offends.

I am working on becoming a person who loves as a way of life. I can feel myself becoming a person who loves as way of life - it is only with God's help that this is possible. It is a journey and blogging about it has really helped me. I express my feeling and learn through writing - random as my thoughts may be.


With fall here and all of the changes it brings, it really helped me to feel a connection to my bible study. Leaves change - from green to vibrant fall colors and then fall to the ground and are raked into colorful mounds that I want to jump in the middle of. I think forgiveness is like the leaves. I get hurt and go through all of the emotions that come with that - like the changing colors of the leaves. Then, with God's help and grace, I learn let go of the emotions and forgive - the leaves falling to the ground. I can them jump into the lifestyle of forgiveness and the emotions get scattered into the wind. I learn to live a life full of love - full of kindness, patience, forgiveness, courtesy, humility, and generosity.


I included some pictures of the changing seasons. The pictures were taken three weeks apart. It is amazing what a difference a few weeks can make - both in nature and in our life! All of the photos can be viewed here - second page of the album.

The week we moved in (taken at the beginning of September)

Mist in the valley - it looks like the fog is rising from the trees. (taken at the end of September)

The valley - look at how green it is! (taken at the beginning of September)
The valley in the middle of the change of season - it is foggy because of the mist. (taken at the end of September)

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