“Hindsight Helps” by Katie Wilson
Watching old family videos is one way I can actually get my whole crew “joyfully” together. We don’t do it nearly enough but when we do, it leaves behind a beautiful memory of us watching a memory. The videos are unedited, unscripted and embarrassing at times, but they generate endless laughter regardless of poor quality or random content.
Our home videos document ordinary moments and special occasions, but the setting is not what draws us in. We are drawn in because of the unconditional love we have for one another, regardless of the scene being savored on the screen.
I would like to say that the snapshots of our lives are all clean, kind and cute, but that would be a lie. Sandy siblings, cake covered kids, and muddy (sometimes bloody) athletic angels share the spotlight in the stories of our lives. Bickering, pushy, rude and impatient sometimes set the tone, while bad haircuts, missing teeth, awkward middle school looks, bed heads, black eyes, and unflattering poses make us the motley crew we are. And I wouldn’t have it any other way!
So what does this have to do with giving ourselves grace when we treat the people we love the most the worst?
One particular video is a gut-buster for my entire family, and I will warn you, it is not my finest moment.
Let me set the stage:
It is November 2000 and I am mega-pregnant with my third child. I have on star flannel PJs, no make-up, and a strange, short, George Washington, haircut. It seems to be just a normal night and I am literally following my husband around the house complaining about something. I literally won’t shut up. We keep walking and I’m incessantly talking and you hear a little voice chiming in over and over, “I need a ‘nakin’, I need a ‘nakin’, I need a ‘nakin’.” Mind you, my husband is videoing this weird circling through our house. I continue in my ranting, walking after Jay (video man), while grabbing a wet dishrag and tossing it on my baby girl’s head without missing a beat in my march of madness. Needless to say, that precious little cotton top stopped asking for a ‘nakin’ and slowly took the dirty dishrag instead.
It is an appalling scene. It really is. But watching it through the lens of hindsight, laughing alongside my three, now grown, children and Godsend of a husband, I am able to give myself grace for the moments I may have treated the ones I loved the most the worst.
I have learned, and am still learning, to keep short accounts. I ask God to convict my heart sooner than later when I am out of His will and treating my loved ones in ways that could possibly cause them pain. God is faithful, kind and just. I am quicker than I used to be to apologize; I choose forgiveness over harboring resentment more, and I practice gratitude by remembering the tremendous grace that I have been given. In light of HIS grace and mercy, how could I give anything less?
Hindsight really does help. As you look back over your life, literally at home movies or just a mental walk down memory lane, I pray you are encouraged to see what may not have been your finest moments with those you love the most through a new lens of generous grace. You will be able to laugh at some things, make amends for others, and move forward with Christ, unencumbered by the chains of shame and regret, because you know “love covers over a multitude of sins.” And not just for others, but for you as well.
Listen, if Mary and Joseph lost middle-school Jesus for three days in a crowd, we should feel a little better about giving ourselves some grace when we are at our worst with those we love best. Their “worst” may look different than ours, but I can confidently say that losing sight of Jesus is the root of all of our “worst.”
So now what? Just like Mary and Joseph, go find Jesus (and you always will; because HE said, “If you seek Me, you will find Me…”) and together, get going again IN GRACE.
Read more from Katie Wilson at katiejwilson.com