I first met Jill McSheehy a few years ago in a Christian writers group. I was immediately struck by her quiet intelligence, her remarkable discipline and her variety of skills. Since then she has journeyed the challenges of losing her mom, changing churches and publishing her first women’s Bible study. I have watched her travel these rocky terrains with calm poise and a sure determination.
Jill describes herself as a small town girl who is passionate about Jesus, her family and gardening. She hosts a podcast for beginning gardeners, blogs (journeywithjill.net), teaches women’s Bible studies and speaks to groups both about gardening and her faith.
In addition to growing a variety of fruits and vegetables she is growing two gorgeous, godly kids! I love Jill’s honesty and willingness to tackle the hard subjects in life. In fact, her blog post last week was so honest, so raw and so good that I asked her permission to share it with my readers.
Enjoy this slice of life and then sign up for the whole pie at Journey With Jill. You’ll be glad you did!
THE HORRIBLEST DAUGHTER EVER by Jill McSheehy
The downside of long summer days is when we finally start getting to bed way too late, we can get a little cranky. I have a bad tendency to rush my kids to bed so I can have some alone time and wind down. And last night my daughter was having none of that.
At one point, as my nerves were already frayed, she responded in a way she shouldn’t have. It’s unlike her, really, but that sin nature slithered out.
But the thing about my daughter is her tender heart — and since she accepted Jesus as her Savior recently, I have watched in awe as she buckles in godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10). Oh, that I would have sorrow for my sin like she does.
Like a dam bursting, her wet face buried itself in my chest as she heaved out tears.
“I’m so sorry, momma. I’m so sorry!” Endless grief.
“I forgive you, Alyssa. It’s okay. I love you.”
But my assurances didn’t touch her pain and she repeated herself, soon adding, “I’m the horriblest daughter ever!”
My heart broke. I don’t know where that came from. It took 30 minutes and some creative distraction to get her through it.
Of course, not to paint myself as a saint here, you must know my sin nature had slithered out earlier as I lost my temper with my son, and at this moment I just wanted to put the kids to bed and drown my guilt in Gilmore Girls. Which made me feel even more selfish and sinful.
After Alyssa calmed down to sleep, I found myself on the couch praying, “I’m so sorry, Father. I’m so sorry!”
Over and over.
I’m a failure. I’m sin-sick. I wanted to chill with Netflix more than I wanted to comfort my daughter and I hated myself for it.
“I’m the horriblest daughter ever.” Okay, I may not have prayed that grammatically incorrect prayer, but suddenly I realized my feelings were just the same as hers.
As a mom, what did I want her to understand in that moment?
Yes, you sinned.
But you confessed and you repented.
You are not the horriblest daughter ever. You are beloved more than you can imagine!
Stop wallowing in this grief! You are forgiven. Your tender heart endears me to you no matter what you did.
I love you. You bring me such joy.
Could it be, my heavenly Father has some of the same thoughts toward me as I have toward my daughter?
Yes, I sinned.
But I confessed and I repented.
I am not the horriblest daughter ever. I am beloved more than I can imagine!
I need to stop wallowing in this grief! I am forgiven! My tender heart doesn’t escape God’s notice.
God loves me. I bring Him joy.
Sometimes we can be so hard on ourselves. And when I say that, I don’t say it as a hall pass to sin. No, I say it because godly sorrow leads to repentance. Restoration. Renewal. Godliness.
But worldly sorrow leads to death. Condemnation. And a whole host of other things God never intended us to walk in.
Perhaps that’s why I’m not so quick to repent. In the back of my mind I’m fearful of worldly sorrow. So I sweep my sin aside and pretend it doesn’t exist.
But if I really understood the restoration of godly sorrow, I would turn my face to Him more. I would wet God’s chest with my tears and heave with remorse, but then He’d stroke my hair and whisper, “You’re forgiven. Now rest.”