Purposeful Faith

When Forgiving Yourself is Hard (Linkup)

When it's hard to forgive yourself


When I heard the bloodcurdling scream, worry welled up in me.
When I saw the agony on her face, anxiety overwhelmed me.
When I analyzed the deep gash across her toe, guilt washed over me.

Could you imagine being the one to cause your baby girl so much pain?
The one to crush an innocent toe into a slamming door.
It was me who did this.

Pain  – all I could see was all the pain I caused.
Pain as she got stitches.
Pain as we found out it was broken.
Pain as she looked up at mommy.
Pain as she longingly looked to be saved.
Pain as I saw her tears coming down.
Pain as I noticed her toenail was gone.


I left the hospital with a damaged baby and a bag full of guilt.

How could I?
Why did I?

I knew that I needed to come to terms with this. I knew that Jesus tells us to forgive – ourselves included. I knew that this was an accident – but still…

What do you have for me God?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

He died for BIG wrongs, BIG mistakes and BIG traumas.
For the ones who, without him,
could never find consolation, reparation or exoneration.


For the ones who, without him, deserve nothing but condemnation.

And, this is me. I am this kind of sinner. Not just in this case, but in so many shameful ways.

Jesus agrees.

He agrees, but he doesn’t cast shame or blame.
He agrees, but doesn’t make me retreat in defeat.
He agrees, but rather than enslave, he saves.

He removes the enslaving power of shame, guilt and regret – and replaces it with love.

A love that is victorious and makes us glorious.
A love that showers compassion, with passion.
A love that doesn’t end, but mends.

Much like me with my daughter:
Jesus cries over our pain.
He so deeply desires to wipe every tear away.

Jesus stands ready to save our day.

And, much like I cried over her trial and her agony, Jesus cries over mine.

But, Christ went to one place I can never go. He went one distance I can never cover. He went to one length that sealed the definition of  “love”: He took my place. He stepped in. He absorbed all the wrath, torment and agony that was set aside for me.

He did this so I could be forgiven (and so that we could forgive others).

Who am I to take that away from him?
Who am I to negate the incredible sin load that he suffered?

Who am I to think that the power of my enslaving sin could overcome the power of my life-giving Savior?

When we can’t forgive, we are essentially are saying
that we have more power than the cross of Jesus Christ.

We are saying that our sin is greater than our Savior.
That our actions are more weighty than his.
That our inability to forgive is greater than his ability to love.

Because he forgave, we take eternal forgiveness to the grave.  Because he is mighty to save, we are no longer enslaved. Because he rose out of that cave, we can all be brave.

There is no arguing with that.

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Kelly, a fun-loving, active and spunky mom of two rambunctious toddlers, spends her days pushing swings, changing diapers and pursuing the Lord with all her heart. Called a "Cheerleader of Faith", Kelly's greatest desire is to help women live passionately, purposefully and unencumbered for the Lord.

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53 CommentsLeave a comment

  • God is a Big God with big love, grace and forgiveness. I understand a momma’s guilt and you will feel it many times over the years but oh how He loves us and for that we are truly blessed. Beautiful illustration of our amazing God in all situations.

    • Thank you Mary. It is so hard to do something to someone so innocent, but Christ was the ultimate innocent one. Thank you for reminding me of the grace that I will need to extend myself over the years to come. Much love to you.

  • I am so grateful that He covers my sins and guilt with His grace and love. So many times, I have said I am grateful that He has covered my “mom” mistakes & worked in the lives of my children in spite of me. Beautiful to think of His love for us in every situation. It was also nice to hear your voice 🙂 Thank you for encouraging us all!

  • Thank you so much for your words of truth this morning Kelly. So often I live unforgiven by myself and fail to grasp hold of the forgiveness that Christ has already freely given me.
    Thank you for the reminder that I live in a grace place and I AM forgiven!
    Love you and your words xox #RaRaLinkUp

    • You SO are FORGIVEN Sarah. He just loves you so much. I am so glad that you are my sister in Christ Jesus. I can’t wait to see where he takes you. It is a joy to be able to speak to your heart. Love you!

  • Kelly,

    I am relate. I felt the same when I wanted a tall floor lamp fall and come crashing into my son’s head and I felt if I had reacted a second quicker I could have caught it. Well I didn’t catch it and it came crashing on his head, splitting his forehead. There is a long scar there and he is so ashamed of it. He actually attempted to catch the lamp to keep it from hitting his baby brother so I always commend his act of bravery. I also link it back to his name which is Stone and tell him he’s living up to his namesake. That was 4 years ago, he was just 5 at the time. I’m at peace with it today but sometimes why I look at the scar I do still ask God why. Yup…we need grace for this parenting journey. He assures us He gently lead those with young. Thanking Him today for gentle guidance.

    • Thank you Tyra. Mom’s guilt can be so hard. How wonderful that your stepped in to save his baby brother. That is a good scar to have and for him to remember. I am so glad God just dumps grace all over us. We need it so badly, don’t we Tyra. Much love to you today; may God’s love entirely fill you!

  • Thanks for preaching the gospel of God’s grace to us here, Kelly! Your words are powerful. I especially like this: “Who am I to think that the power of my enslaving sin could overcome the power of my life-giving Savior?”

    Sorry about your accident and your baby girl’s toe. And yes, I understand mama guilt. Can only imagine how you felt.

    • You bet Betsy! It is the best to talk about the grace of Jesus, isn’t it? Thank you for your encouraging words to me. They mean a lot Betsy. Praying over you – for God’s abundant joy in your life.

  • Oh Kelly, I have been there. My oldest son still has a small scar from when we was running away from me as a toddler and I went to grab him and accidentally swiped his nose with my nail. Ouch! I am so thankful that Jesus love goes so much further than my guilt. He truly does remember it no more. Thank you for your encouraging words, friend. We mamas need these truths!

    • Yes, Abby, it is so hard. You are right – gone are our transgressions. Praise you Jesus for this. Even while we want to hold onto it with all our might, he is casting it as far as the East is from the West. I am so grateful for this. Much love to you Abby. Your words encourage me.

  • Hope your little girl is all better soon. And mommy guilt is one of the hardest of “needing self forgiveness” sins. BUT GOD…the answer to our every need. And I loved your audio minute! Had a hard time signing in to comment so here it is…Kelly, you are a sweetheart! Thanks for your inspiring words that shine with His love. YOU are His glory, too. And we are each encouragers to the one another. Praising His Holy Name together and grateful for this community! #RaRaFriends

    • She is coming along. We have the most amazing group Sheila. We are just all vessels of his story, his glory. I am loving our group. I love you. You bring me such joy. I am thanking the Savior for making you right now!

  • Wow! What an incredible post! As I was reading this, I felt an overwhelming sense of GOD’S love for me and my heart smiled so big. This was a wonderful reminder of who HE is and has the power to be in our lives. We serve an amazing GOD! Thank you so much for sharing this! I can forgive others so much easier than I can forgive myself and so you truly spoke LIFE into my spirit with this one. Infinite blessings to you, Love!

    P.S.- Your daughter is an angel; so beautiful! 🙂

    • Thank you Tai. She is my little bundle of joy. She has a determined spirit about her much like her momma. Our God is soo… good! I am so glad he spoke love to your heart through this. He does love you so. Sometimes we are that hurt little girl – so often we are. You bring him so much joy Tai; I know that.

  • Oooh – Mommy Guilt… I think we have all been under the heaviness of that cloak! Praise God He covers us with love and we walk in forgiveness and grace! Here, here to all being Brave! Here, here to mourning turning into dancing, my friend! (And I am loving getting to hear your voice!)

    • Don’t you just love that Mommy guilt Karrilee? It is always there to grab you and hold you captive if you let it. I am praising Jesus that he offers us so much more. I am glad you liked my voice. It is fun to share via audio.

  • So sorry for her toe and your heart Kelly! Hope she is healing well.
    Thank you for your words of truth and words of encouragement this morning.

  • Kelly,
    Oh, hope your girl is feeling better and so are you…and able to forgive yourself…This:”He removes the enslaving power of shame, guilt and regret – and replaces it with love.” Yes, so very grateful 🙂

  • Oh, that must have been so hard to take, Kelly. I hope your little girl’s toe is doing better as well as your heart. Thank you for this beautiful message of forgiving ourselves as Jesus has so graciously forgiven us!

  • “When we can’t forgive, we are essentially saying that we have more power than the cross of Jesus Christ.” – such truth in these words. And the hardest person to forgive is ourselves, but the power of the Cross enables to do that too. Praying for healed toes and healed hearts. : )

    Thank you for your encouraging words, Kelly, for us #RaRa friends. : )

  • I hear you. I hate to see my lovies hurt and sometimes it’s totally my fault. I hate having that kind of power to harm another…. and self loathing comes naturally anyways. I keep reminding myself that God is in my kids stories too and that I am not powerful enough to mess up or stand in the way of his ultimate plan for them.

  • Kelly, I am so sorry for that pain…and yet I’ve been there too! Oh, it hurts! If only we could take it away from them!!! But I love the way you were able to see a huge lesson about forgiveness in this. Sounds to me like a whole lot of beauty came out of that chaos! Thanks for sharing!

  • Oh, Kelly, I know just how you feel. When my oldest daughter was maybe a little over a year old I was the cause of a cut on her arm. I was trying to help her and her arm got under a folding door we had and because it was a little sharp on the bottom it cut her arm. It wasn’t a bad cut at all, but I felt so bad. It is sometimes hard to forgive ourselves until we realize that God has forgiven us. When we don’t forgive ourselves it’s like we don’t believe Him. I love how you ended: “Because he is mighty to save, we are no longer enslaved. Because he rose out of that cave, we can all be brave.”

  • Beautiful, Kelly! You always have the perfectly gentle way of pointing back to the cross and make me want to sit at the feet of Jesus. Many blessings to you! Thanks for hosting and I can’t wait to check out these fabulous posts.

  • Oh, Kelly! Owie! I’m so sorry. I know that makes you shudder every time it crosses your mind. Poor baby. Accidents happen but it still hurts our momma heart, doesn’t it? I can’t even bring myself to share mine. And that was 42 years ago! Such a great post, Kelly. So grateful for the Lord’s forgiveness. Oh, my! Bless you, Kelly! <3

  • Oh yes, Kelly, I’m so glad we have a God who loves us EVEN so. And that mommy guilt is a hard one to bear at times, isn’t it? Thank God He covers that, too. Thanks for sharing from your heart, as always. It’s a beautiful blessing. <3

    • Me too! I would be a complete mess without his all consuming and never ending love. Thank you Jesus. Meredith, thank you for your kind words that drop me on my knees in thanks to my great King.

  • Kelly,

    This is my first visit to your blog and wow are you speaking to me! I find it fairly easy to forgive others, even for some pretty serious offenses. But to forgive myself has been a journey that has been slow and incredibly painful. I am finding freedom though as I learn to trust that God will redeem my brokenness for good. I am newly sharing my story of healing from abuse at incrementalhealing.wordpress.com I would love it if you would stop by and share your thoughts!


    • Kamea, I am overjoyed that you came to visit my blog. I know the journey of forgiving ourselves can be a long and hard road. I know it can take time. I have been there. I also love though to imagine that God puts our sin as far as the East and the West. When I can visualize this in my mind, I notice that I can no longer even see it. I can’t reach it. I guess at the bottom it really comes down to our faith to believe God will forgive. Love you! Praying more and more that you and I can embrace forgiveness. Will check out your site. I am sorry about the abuse; I know this is something that is hard to move past.

  • He is indeed a BIG, mighty God who does incredible things in our seemingly small lives – turning beauty to ashes and bringing hope in the darkest places. Our God Who went – Who goes – the extra mile for the undeserving. Standing in awe with you over that great love. Happy to be linking up with you this week – though a day late – ah, life. 😉 Blessings to you, Kelly!

    • Late – is always welcome. I know how it is – there is so much to do and so little time. Our God is seriously an AWESOME God. There is no question. I enjoyed reading your comment about his amazing majesty. YAY for Jesus!

  • Forgiveness… it is a word that is often whispered, because we sometimes don’t know what to do with it. Yet, Jesus does, and you shared that here. You pointed out how He guides us, leads us with the grace to forgive…even ourselves. Especially ourselves. That’s a hard one. Sometimes we can wrestle with forgiving others, though we don’t have a right to do that, yet, when it comes to ourselves it becomes a different paradigm. I know for me, forgiving others is much easier than forgiving myself because I can give them the benefit of ‘not knowing better’ in my head, right? 🙂 I on the other hand..’should have …..” and I find that vicious cycle is repetitive. However, like you said, He went somewhere we couldn’t go to bring us to a place that we all long to be and the road to forgiveness, walking with Jesus, that is the first step.
    Thanks for sharing your story.

    • You are so welcome Dawn. I really understand what you are saying. It can be so hard. He forgives. It is a simple, done, over, final kind of thing. Lord, help us to grasp this more and more!

  • This is beautiful Kelly – forgiving myself is something I beat myself up with- often. Just this morning I was kicking myself for a situation that happened years ago with my boys. I think when we grow up with distorted and dysfunction views of GOD, it’s so hard to grasp that grace. Thank you for reminding me dear.

    • You are so right Melanie. It is very hard to feel completely loved and always accepted sometimes. I know what you mean. It can be hard to feel like God doesn’t hold us against us. Praise Him – he is that good!

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