I blacked out forgiveness. Before you unsubscribe me for fear, I’ve departed my Biblical values and beliefs, please hear me out. In the US we just celebrated Mother’s Day. It can be a day filled with difficult emotions for people who are grieving the death of their mother, the loss of a child, those in the throes of infertility, or for other reasons.
I’m within that demographic list. My mother died seven years ago but even before her death Mother’s Day was hard. We had been estranged for over a decade. The loss, betrayal, and emotional pain seemed to outweigh the good that was once part of our life. I would wrestle with how to honor someone you can barely speak with.
A few weeks ago, my teen granddaughter and I went to a creativity class. (Bear with me, this leads to my blackout forgiveness incident.) The class instructor emphasized that we each have creative gifts that God instills in us. All attendees were given a packet of supplies that included random pages from different books and a black Sharpie® marker. We were introduced to blackout poetry as a form of creative expression. My granddaughter enjoyed the exercise and I was pleasantly surprised by the activity.
Blackout poetry is created by using a page of text from a book, magazine, newspaper, brochure, etc. You take a few moments to read and circle or box around words or phrases that stand out to you. You may repeat that step a few times further adding or eliminating words. When you’re satisfied with your word selection, then blackout all the other words. The circled words become a free-verse style poem. We were also shown examples where people used various art supplies from colored pencils, and crayons, to paint and some people would doodle or make art to go with their poems.
While I was reflecting upon my mother, I chose to tap into my creative abilities rather than dwell on all the ugly relational events, hurts, and losses. I scanned a random page from a book off my shelves. Then attempted the poetry exercise from class with a focus on my mom. I was surprised at how it flowed and how fun this was. I chose to use colored pencils and draw a bit too after I found the words. Here’s my poem, “In Memory of Mom.”
In Memory of Mom
The King’s son came.
She would follow him,
with tears yielded.
The King said,
“Thou canst find mercy and
thou shalt have hope
thou dost not deserve.”
The King and his daughter
went away together
to the golden castle.
While doing this, it became a therapeutic art form. The Holy Spirit ministered to me. He gave me a paper parable right before my eyes—a visual of God’s forgiveness in any life that is surrendered to Him. We are all flawed1 with many sins represented by the blacked-out words. Yet, there is good in every person on planet Earth. The good is not of ourselves but we are created in the likeness and image of God2. With the touch of Adonai, our blacked-out sins will be transformed into a thing of beauty and inspiration3.
“For if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your offenses” (Matthew 6:14-15, CSB).
Dear Reader, is there anyone you need to forgive? If so, you may want to do a little art therapy to move along the process of forgiveness and healing.
Dear Father God, thank you for giving me physical life through my mother. Thank you, for teaching and demonstrating the power of forgiveness, through Jesus. Holy Spirit, help me to surrender everything to the Father and to trust His perfect plan. Amen.
I am a follower of Jesus Christ, grandmother, great-grandmother, foster care parent, and trauma survivor. I enjoy sipping tea, writing devotionals, prayers, short stories, and unburdening my heart to the Lord. Check the About page if you want to read more of my story.
Would you like to know more about the afterlife and how you can be assured of eternity in Heaven? Check the Questions page.
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All photos by Manette Kay.