Encouragement: I’m Sorry, I Forgive You

Years ago a friend called me her Barnabus. I didn’t really know what that meant at the time. She explained that Barnabus meant “son of encouragement” or “son of consolation.” The Barnabus in the Bible was known for the way he encouraged those around him.

She seemed to think that I was an encouragement to her. I’ve always held onto that, well, encouragement, thinking that maybe that was a way that God had gifted me, maybe that was something that I was actually good at.

But, somedays I have to wonder.

I hassle my kids.

I nag my husband.

I don’t return my parents’ phone calls. (Sorry, Mom.)

These don’t really seem like the behavior of an encourager, do they? I fail miserably at one of the things that I (sometimes) pride myself at being good at! Ha!

Last night after lights were out, I lay in bed thinking about a conversation I’d had with one of my children. He’d been showing a pattern of rushing through chores and not doing a good job. I confronted the issue with him in a quiet, honest way. He heard me. And he agreed.

But as the house settled down for the night, I realized that I hadn’t given him much encouragement. Sure, I’d been honest. I’d been quiet; no ranting. I had spoken the truth in love. But, at the same time, I couldn’t help wondering if he was going to drift off to sleep feeling discouraged.

We all make mistakes. We all fail to do our jobs properly all the time. And even the truth, though quiet, can be hard to swallow.

I’m Sorry

So, I got out of bed and asked his forgiveness for what I knew felt like “picking on him.” We talked about the earlier conversation. And then I said the things that I had felt, but left unspoken an hour before:

  • I’m on your side.
  • I know that you are a great worker.
  • You have always been my right hand man.
  • I’m very proud of who you are.

Clearly, I am a work in progress. So are my kids. That makes us a good fit for one another. I’m thankful that they are not only brilliant, but they’re also quite forgiving of their imperfect mama. Their forgiveness gives me hope for the future; it encourages me. That we can give grace to one another means that we can overcome a multitude of obstacles — together.

I Forgive You

Encouragement can come in all shapes and sizes. It can be the smile from the person at the check-out counter, a simple card in the mail that says, “I’ve been thinking about you,” or an “I forgive you. I’m sorry, too,” from your man-child.

How do your kids encourage YOU?

Disclosure: I’m partnering with Hallmark to bring you ideas for celebrating life, the ultimate special occasion. I’ve been compensated for my time spent writing. However, my opinions, jokes, family photos, little extras, and funny quirks are all my own. You can sign up to receive regular emails from Hallmark.

 

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Comments

  1. Jessica,
    Thanks for your honesty. An encourager I am not so any bit of advice is quite helpful. You don’t seem like a nag at all here in the blog world! : )
    Hey is that a mustache I’m spying? My 14 year old has had to start shaving his (occassionally). Boo.

    Have a lovely day!

  2. My son is only 3 but he has always had a “sweet spirit” about him. Sometimes when he gives me a hug, he pats me on the back in the same sweet way I pat him sometimes. If I sneeze or cough, he will say “You ok Momma?” The other day while we were going to the store, he said “Mommy, dat’s good driving!” I just never know what he’s going to do or say next, but he always seems to know when I need that “pick-me-up”. I hope this sweet spirit stays with him for life!

  3. i appreciate your barnabas post. your humility brought tears to my eyes. such a good reminder to encourage others as we speak the truth in love.

    thanks for sharing and being an example and encouragement to others.

  4. I’ve actually been thinking about this a lot this week as I’m writing my Thursday Give Back post. Can you believe that I crabbed at my husband last week for cleaning my bathtub and scrubbing my toilet? Of course you’ll need to read my post for the full story – how’s that for a teaser? :) The point is, here was this wonderful guy trying to do something nice for me, all I do is find fault and criticize him. I am so clearly a work in progress and need constant reminding to more encouraging to my family.

    Thanks for sharing your story

  5. Thanks so much for a wonderful post. Your story brought tears to my eyes but in a good way! I have not thought about the way I approach my kids but I am remembering things that I have pointed out that they have not done and not recognized what they have done.

    I will definitely remember this post then next time I talk to my children about something.

  6. I’ve frequently been there with my son (and he’s only 4), but I think that there are few things as sweet as the reconciliation when he tells me “I forgive you, Mommy.”

  7. I am so thankful that my children are still young enough that we put them to bed (7 and 3). I worry about the things they tell themselves in the dark and want to do all I can to make sure it unduly negative. I need to remember that when they are older I will most likely have to make more of an effort on a bad day since I won’t have the routine bedtime tuck-in.

    • Wow – really bad place for me to have left out two words. I want to make sure it IS NOT unduly negative. I’m really not a bad mom :)

  8. Great post!

    My daughter actually encourages me quite a bit. She wants so badly for me to be the way that I “used to be” but still adapts well. When I asked her whether my being in a wheelchair embarrassed her around her friends, she said, no, that her friends love me and if they didn’t like it, they weren’t great friends anyway.

    Love her little heart!

  9. Wow. I needed to hear this today. You are doing a great job, both as a mom and as a writer. Thank you.

  10. I loved this post! Thanks so much for your transparency. It was honest, real and encouraging. Really spoke to me. Thank you thank you for sharing.

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