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I'm a single mom with two great kids living near Dallas, Texas. This is my life; day to day things that are probably only important to me. This is my record of my ups, my downs and the road that I've taken along the way. For whatever reason YOU'RE here, I hope you find something you can enjoy and/or relate to. God bless.

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Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

Monday, August 28, 2006

It's Not The Same Thing.

This isn't going to be one of my best posts. If you're in a great mood and want to stay that way, you may want to head over to one of my favorites on my side bar. Seriously, I'm in the mood to vent, and it may not be pretty.

I'm amazed at how people get forgiven and respect confused. I do not believe in holding anything against someone, whether they ask for forgiveness or not. Forgiving someone is as much for them as it is for me. I've explained before that I believe holding something against someone for something they have done wrong to you is the equivilant to inviting a cancer to grow inside of you. It will destroy you, it will consume your heart and your mind until your life revolves around that person that has wronged you. I refuse to give anyone that much control over me other than God, and God alone.

With that said, because I have forgiveness in my heart for someone who has wronged me in no way means that I have to remain friends with them, that I have to want them in my life any longer or that I have to respect them. Forgiveness does not equal respect.

Would I feed them if they were hungry? Yes. Would I clothe them if they were naked? Yes. Would I give my life to save them? I believe I would, yes.

Let's say I was raped and I knew my attacker. Would I forgive him? I believe that I would, yes. Would I pray for him? Yes. Because if I chose to hate him instead of forgive him, I would live 24/7 in torment and he would still have control over me. Would I want him arrested and held accountable for what he did? Without a doubt, yes. Would I ever invite him into my home? No. Would I consider him a friend? No. Would I respect the person that he is? No, I would not. But I do believe that 'hating' is a choice that is ours to make...and giving in to hate is refusing to forgive.

My boys and I have had many discussions about forgiveness, given our recent circumstances. I am proud of both of my boys, and especially of Casey, because it was hardest for him to forgive his father. But he has forgiven his dad, we pray together for his dad and for his dad's family. He (Casey) has, however, lost respect for his father. He chooses to avoid his dad when he visits us on Sundays. Casey is 17 years old, a senior in high school, an extremely responsible young man and one of the most generous and kind hearted people I've ever known. I am not going to force Casey to face a man who sneaked out of our house leaving behind his little brother with the responsibility of telling his mom and himself that his dad had packed his bags and moved out to live with another woman, even if that woman is a lesbian, he left his family to live with her. Our respect moved out with him that day.

As if that wasn't enough, when my boys and I asked if we could visit their grandmother, my mom-in-law, the next week, she told us no. She told me that she didn't feel like waiting on us. This stunned and hurt us, because the boys and I had always went to get groceries for her, did chores, even washed our bed sheets and re-made our beds with the clean sheets before leaving. The boys and I were devastated. The boys felt that not only did they lose thier dad, but the only grandparent they have left. But, my mom-in-law is battling cancer (which we believe and thank God for her healing) and so as much as it hurt, we tried to believe that she just didn't feel well enough for us to visit. That is until Mark told us that she wanted the boys to come visit, but only with him...not me. I've loved my mom-in-law for 22 years. I lost my mom nearly 15 years ago, and she has been my mom as much as my friend. My mom-in-law and I have vacationed alone together, we've been close and I've never had anything but respect for her. When I told the boys that it wasn't them, just me, that she didn't want to see...they were offended for me. I can't blame them for that. I'd have felt the same way. Do I want them to stay close to their grandmother? Of course I do. Will I force them to? No. Though she wouldn't see us, and has never called to see how we were doing or if we needed anything since Mark left, she did continue to send the boys Christian cards the first few weeks. And now, I'm being told by others in Marks family that I shouldn't let the boys know any of what's going on because they believe I'm poisoning their minds against Mark and his mother. I have never that first time said one bad word against the boys dad or their grandmother. I never will. I love Mark and I love my mom-in-law. Mark gave me two wonderful sons and my mom-in-law gave me Mark. How could I not love them and not be forever grateful to them? It isn't possible. But I've lost respect for them.

My first and foremost responsibilty in this life is to raise strong, responsible and loving young men. I teach them forgiveness by example. I teach them love by example. I teach them being a Christian isn't how you talk, but how you walk...by example. They're learning the hard way that someone can talk like a Christian for a lifetime, and yet not walk like one.
They're learning that respect is something that you earn and something that can be lost. Hard lessons to learn, at any age.


Blogger ~Deb said...

Why does it seem that no one understands this concept--the difference between forgiving someone and having respect for them, or lack thereof?

This was an intense post Kath. You have a HUGE heart---but you don't let people walk all over you.

That is the very reason why I have respect for you...because you have respect for yourself.

Love you! xxoo

5:29 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

deb ~ I love, adore and appreciate you. Thanks for everything you said, it means more than you know to me. ***HUGS***

5:36 PM  
Blogger Greg - Cowboy in the Jungle said...

"Let's say I was raped and I knew my attacker. Would I forgive him?"

Nope! God is in the forgiving business. I'd hate to muscle in on his territory. Each of us is good at something and when it comes to forgiving, that's his bag. What do I excel in? Making sure that meeting happens. That's right. I think if I was raped, I'd make sure that ((*)&#@#@!# showed up at the pearly gates for his forgiveness.

You are a much better person than I.

6:43 PM  
Blogger samuru999 said...

You do have a huge heart...
I am in awe of you!

7:37 PM  
Blogger Shawn said...

I agree with everything you've said about forgiveness and respect.

You're a wonderful living, walking, talking epistle. Your kids are fortunate that they have a great role model in you.

8:01 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

greg ~ I'm not better than anyone...well, maybe you, LOL, kidding!

samuru999 ~ girl, look who's talking!

shawn ~ babe, that means the world to me, thank you.

8:36 PM  
Blogger LoveLladro said...

Good post Kathi... I think that being a Christian gets confused with a being a doormat and that makes me angry... it is possible to forgive and forget and move on... sometimes it is the only option.

As for your mother in law... I am deeply sorry if that is the way she is choosing to be. It is a small mind that thinks that sides need to be chosen.

I am praying for you and the boys! And good for you for letting these young, mature, intelligent boys make their own decisions... shows that they were brought up right.

8:56 PM  
Blogger SmileDragon said...

Kathi, you are an amazing person! You always touch my heart when you write like this. I agree with Deb, very intense post!

If you are still lookin' for someone to visit I'm only about 3.5 hours away. You and the boys are always welcome in our home. :)

9:37 PM  
Blogger ~ Amanda X&O said...

You and the boys know the truth. Let everyone else make their own decisions, they are the ones that have to live with them.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Johnnie Avocado said...

Stay True, Kathi

7:23 AM  
Blogger DaBich said...

Your boys reactions and thoughts reflect the great upbringing they had with YOU. Kudoes to you, lady, for sticking to your beliefs. I wish I had half the integrity you have.
I don't forgive as easily.

7:29 AM  
Anonymous 3carnations said...

I'm so sorry for all of this.

Regarding forgiveness...you are absolutely right. During discussions with the pastor at our old church about some old extended family ugliness, he told us virtually the same thing. That to forgive the person in question was essentially for us, not them. To pass the burden to them, so to speak, because whatever the burden was would no longer have ahold of you. It doesn't mean the relationship would go back to how it was before, or that you had to be close to the other person. It just meant that you wouldn't let the burden hold you down.

As far as the inlaws...My ex left me. It was a surprise to everyone we knew. His parents lived out of town, and they were very much against us getting together in the first place. But when the you-know-what hit the fan, and he told them he left, and why, they called me on the phone and said that they were sorry and did not agree with what he had done. His grandmother sent me a letter saying that she missed me. We never had more contact after that first year, but I always remember that kindness, because his parents weren't always so accepting of me. Your mother in law should have treated you the same. If not out of the goodness of her heart, then at least for her grandchildren. I'm very sorry.

7:40 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

lovelladro ~ thanks for your support hon, I appreciate it so much. Praying for Adam and his job...I know that God has a perfect plan for him.

crystal ~ be careful what you say darlin, we love the area where you live and we may take you up on it!

amanda ~ tis true. Casey tells me when I let them bother me that I'm renting them cheap space in my heart and mind and to stop doing it. He's so much smarter than I am.

johnnie ~ no other choice. Hugs guy! Oh, and thanks for not quiting your blog, you have no idea how much we all love your pics and updates on Frodo...oh yeah, and you too. :)

dabich ~ thanks babe, I appreciate you words so much. Oh, and for the record, it's actually easier to forgive, it just takes practice. It's the resentment that I find hard to handle. And who are you kidding? Integrity? You're full of it, and you've got a huge heart...read your own blog!

3 carnations ~ forgiveness is a lesson learned, I don't know if it's something that comes natural and I learned it from the Word, just like you whether it's from your pastor or the Bible.
You're blessed to have had that support from your in-laws. When my mom was alive, and I'd call sometimes mad at something Mark had done or said (you know, new marriage stuff) she'd always tell me that I was blessed to have a man like Mark and I should appreciate and thank God for him. Sometimes it'd make me so mad cause she'd hold up for him or not take my side and bad mouth him when I was mad at him, now I know she was just being fair. Shame not everyone has that ability.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Anne said...

Awh Kathi. Of course your boys are offended for you. Im offended for you. That was innapropriate of your mother in law. Her saying that was putting more of a burden on the boys in my opinion. I would have lost respect too.

I wonder if she just didnt know how to handle things. Maybe she is embarassed by what her son has done? Maybe he pushed it? (I can see him not wanting you guys to chit chat too much..might make him look bad). I hope that she realizes that it is not necessary to puch you away before she does more damage.

I remember your posts in the past that talked about your MIL and this just really makes me sad.

I think you are a way better person than I would be. I tend to get bitter. And mad. And mean.

11:45 AM  
Blogger Heart Of Darkness said...

I'm confident you are doing a great job on your boys!

I think the view on life, the respect and moral you bring into the world, you get from home. Your parents give you a foundation to build on, then the environment ads to it, but without a good foundation, you have nothing.

Don't worry. You ARE a good foundation.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Sorry I'm just now clueing in that you had a new post. :-(

We've talked about some of this, and it would seem there's some new stuff that's gone on, but I know that you and the boys will hang tough and support each other through this nightmare.

In the end, Mark and his family will be the ones that lose by their actions. You and your boys will miss the people you THOUGHT they were, but THEY will miss out on the people you and the boys really ARE.

Love you hun {HUGS}

3:45 PM  
Blogger BigBill said...

Sorry this stuff is happening to you. Remember "if it don't kill you it makes you stronger!!" This is just another way to show your boys about respect and forgiveness and how different people can be. It will (along with your guidance) show them how to react to these types of scenerios as they go through life... "Feeling stronger every day!!" (Chicago)

4:51 PM  
Blogger SmileDragon said...

Kathi, it's beautiful out here! Our home is open to you. :) Just beware, the river is now a creek, 'cause of the lack of rain.

9:20 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

anne ~ thanks sweetie. You bitter, mad and mean? I can't imagine that...wait, let's ask _ _ _ _ (you know who) :).

heart ~ hon, God is our foundation, otherwise I'd be a mess! :)

lisa ~ yeah, we've not talked in a couple of days, huh? I'll call you tomorrow. Love you, hope you're feeling better!

bill ~ you've got that right, I'm so much stronger now than I was a couple of months ago and getting stronger every day. I'd make you proud. :)

crystal ~ look at you with all them pretty flowers around you... Thanks, honestly, means a lot to me that you'd invite us. Hope to take you up on it.

9:59 PM  
Blogger DZER said...

I just wanted to say that I think you're doing a great job with your boys ... *hugs*

10:55 PM  
Blogger DaBich said...

Full of it, huh?


hehe :X

7:04 AM  
Blogger Kellie said...

The boys are lucky to have such a wonderful example and mother as you are. I admire your ability to forgive- and you are right- holding onto it just makes you miserable. Stay strong and know that God has it all in his plan.

7:38 AM  
Blogger sassinak said...

oh kathi, you're inspiring you really are.

that's just how i feel toward people who have betrayed my trust. sometimes it festers but then i work very hard to forgive them or at least to let it go.

it's the ones i don't understand that are hardest to release. i guess it's my inner control freak.

you and your boys have every right to lose respect for mark and his mother for their behaviour, utterly.

they've earned that and made that bed for themselves, i'm so proud and impressed with you though for not letting them bring you down to their level.

(also, i'm a firm believer in telling kids the truth when they ask questions... )

10:59 AM  

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