Monday, September 28, 2009


At precisely 9:00 on Saturday night I came to a horrible realization--I screwed up. Big time.

There I was, sitting at a football game, blithely talking to a friend who mentioned something about someone with a sick child, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I have a friend with a sick child too. And I was supposed to do something very simple for that friend on Friday. I was supposed to take dinner to her and her family.

But I forgot.

My week was busy, B was out of town, and things weren't as they usually were. The week got rolling, and I didn't check my calendar. And I forgot to remember my hurting friend with a very sick little girl.

Stupid, I know.

It pains me to think about this, to even write it. It pains me to think that I disappointed someone, especially someone who is already hurting so much. I was supposed to make things easier on her and my forgetfulness made it harder.

I have spent the weekend thinking about this, crying over it, and I'm wondering why I can't just move on. I wonder why I can't just chalk this up to a simple mistake and get over it. I wonder why it's so hard to forgive myself.

I think there's an answer to these questions. An answer that's tied up in my sense of who I am, or, at least, who I think I am. Strong. Capable. Reliable. I spend my days owning up to these names, especially to the people around me. I work really hard to present myself as all of these things.

But with one stupid act of forgetfulness I am suddenly none of those things. It's like the exterior "me" has been stripped away and the true "me" has been laid bare. Forgetful. Irresponsible. Unreliable.

But each of these images of myself--the strong or the stupid--are false. They are facades that I wear. The truth is that I am both of these things and more at any given moment. And the fact is that my image of me doesn't matter at all and if it does, that's pride.

Here's the thing I've come away with this weekend. No matter how much I screw up, God's image of me is not tarnished. He knows my strengths and uses them, if I let Him. He knows my weaknesses, my moments of extreme forgetfulness, and yet He accepts those as well.

Even though my image may have been a bit tarnished in the eyes of my friend and most certainly in my own eyes, God knows my heart, sees it all the way through, and isn't the least bit surprised by what He finds there.

"O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. . . . You are familiar with all my ways." (Ps. 139: 1-3)


  1. Thanks, Shelly, as always for making me think. As one who likes to be known as strong, capable, and reliable, I know that feeling. And I know the stuggle when you don't live up. And I know that my reponse is often wrong and prideful when I can't. Thanks for letting us know that you're not perfect either.

  2. You are all of those strong and capable descriptions. You are also real. And I'm sure your friend forgives you more readily than you are forgiving yourself.

    I struggle with the same things. As one of my dear friends here is KS says, God is my only hope.

  3. Ooops. I didn't know my daughter had a google account. I used her name!

  4. wonderful post. thanks for your honesty in sharing.

  5. Oh my gosh, I did the exact same thing about two months ago! It is an awful feeling, isn't it?! Forgiving ourselves is always the hardest.

  6. Oh, if we could always see ourselves the way He sees us.

    Great post and great blog too!

  7. We are all guilty at one time or another of forgetting something important. The best thing you can do is own up to your mistake and take them dinner another night. Most people understand that we all have lots on our plates and don't beat you up about it as much as you do yourself.

  8. That is so me. I hate disappointing people, for all the reasons you mentioned.

    I'm thankful God is not as hard on me as I am on myself.


  9. Great post. So true. One of my favorite books ever is "The Ragamuffin Gospel". Forgiveness and love and the sweet grace of God are my life and breath and strength too.

  10. I have done the exact same thing with friends and it IS the worst feeling in the world.
    And we do beat ourselves up about it. Ugh.
    Thanks for your great post on this, though. It's all so true and needs to be read/ hashed out over here often!

  11. This is such a great post, Shelly. As one who has been there and done that more times than I care to admit, I completely empathize with you.

    I feel as if all the façades I've ever put up are slowly being stripped away the older I get. I always thought of myself as organized, capable, responsible, etc. too. But lately, I'm just not as put-together as I thought I was. Is it menopause? Or is it God's grace to get all the junk out and make us more like Jesus? Perhaps a bit of both! :-)