from the woman’s side of things… We all have a choice. And there is always a choice.

This is something I am teaching our children. I give them choices for almost everything. Of course the choices are within my boundaries so either one works for me and if they choose poorly they suffer the consequences.  I want my children to have a sense of themselves and learn there are natural consequences for every choice, some good and some bad. I feel it’s also important for them to learn to take responsibility for their choices.

I especially want to teach my children they have a choice in how they feel. It is even the topic of my first children’s book. They can choose how to feel about any given situation. It’s up to them (all of us) to decide if they want to feel good or bad, then act accordingly.

This having a choice message seems to be the message this week to me as well. I’ve had two references to it from different places. One is something I copied from a book while I was going through a difficult time. Since that time has come back to haunt me, as times like that can do, I was rereading some old notes:

“In any unpleasant situation, we have a choice. We are free to choose how we respond. We can choose a healthy response or an unhealthy response. We can choose to become bitter or become better. Obviously, in the beginning, we’re going to intensely feel hurt, angry, betrayed, etc. And that’s normal. But in the long run, we have to decide what to do with those feelings. We can let them sit and fester or we can decide to let go of them. If we chose to hang on to all our anger, hurt, and frustration, we’re going to get bitter, not better.” (I’d offer the title and author but I can’t remember where exactly it came from.)

Pain can come from many places whether caused by another or caused by tragedy or loss. Even in pain we have a choice. We can choose resentment and anger and ultimately suffering. Or we can choose to take it as a learning experience, grow and move forward, move on. It’s a choice.

Pain may be an inevitable part of life, but suffering is not. Suffering is optional. To suffer is a choice you make and forgiveness is the key to dislodge the suffering.

I’ve heard forgiveness described as not for the offender but for the “victim” of the offense. Forgiveness does not mean removing consequences. Forgiveness is a gift to yourself, a gift that heals your heart. Forgiveness is not always the easy choice. But I think it’s easier to choose near the beginning of the pain than after time has hardened the suffering inside your heart and it has become a part of you.

I get to choose. I always get to choose. And I choose love and forgiveness.

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