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Healthy Family's Forgive

by Donna Sheppard

To create healthy family relationships I have to assume responsibility for my part.

I attempt to offer forgiveness when I offend someone or make mistakes (past and present)- even in the small things- like being late with a birthday card. This also means not going to someone else in the family when I feel offended and 'gossiping'.

Never missing an opportunity to say "I love you" is a reminder to my family that they are missed and accepted unconditionally.

With my mother who has Alzheimer's Disease, it is simply sitting quietly and holding her hand.

Having healthy family relationships is creating an atmosphere where everyone can be themselves, even in their pain and desperation, and know that they are truly accepted and loved.

I struggle most with my part in creating this atmosphere because my father passed away last year.

It would be easiest to blame other family members, show jealousy toward siblings, and resentment for needs of mine that were not met in the past nor being met now.

I deal with this by remembering that for ninety-two years my dad lived in doubt and bitterness, but three days before he passed away, he accepted Christ as his Savior. He died in peace. My 'daddy' would want my mom, brother, sister, myself and all six grandchildren to live in harmony; rejoicing in the good memories and forgetting past mistakes.

This Thanksgiving I can be thankful that each member of my family is continuing the processing of healing and growing toward healthier relationships with each other. I forgive others, but I also forgive myself when I fall short.

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