To Be a Good Parent, I Had to Forgive Mine First
Like any new mother, after I had my daughter I experienced a wide range of emotions. Joy, excitement, fear: Those were just a few I seemed to feel on a daily basis. Two emotions I didn't anticipate myself having were resentment and bitterness. They weren't feelings directed at my new child, but at my own parents. And they were issues and hurts that I thought I had dealt with a long time ago.
Growing up, I didn't have the ideal childhood. It was messy and chaotic. I walked away from it pretty wounded. Over the years of being a Christian, I began to work through a lot of old resentments and intense feelings to get to a place of healing. I really thought I had been delivered from all these hurts from my past.
Mother and child photo via Shutterstock.
Having my own child seemed to bring all those old issues back to the surface. Knowing how much love I had for Avery made it difficult for me to understand the decisions my parents had made concerning us. I couldn't comprehend how you could not want to spend time with your child and get to know everything about them. All those old messages of shame and rejection came right back into my life where it felt like I was reliving my past. I knew this was something I wanted to work to address right away because I didn't want anything holding me back from enjoying this new season of my life.
After readdressing all this, I realized that even though I had learned a ton of knowledge about forgiveness and healing, there were still many areas that I hadn't internalized that information. Too much head knowledge and not enough heart. I could talk about God's healing power, but I had yet to ever fully let my guard down long enough to truly experience it.
Slowly I'm learning to allow God access to all those bottled up, scarred areas of the soul. I'm seeing that as I invite God into my hurts, He begins to heal them. And in the healing I have a much better understanding not only of myself, but also towards my own parents. By the grace of God, I get to give my child a different childhood and learn from their mistakes. I have a chance to see generational strongholds broken. It's been an amazing and painful journey, but the freedom that forgiveness brings is worth fighting for.
Ashley is a wife, mother and follower of Jesus. She blogs about gospel centered recovery at RecoveringMama.blogspot.com