Tuesday, January 18, 2011


"The work of children is to forgive their parents,"  one of my favourite writers says. I have thought about this a lot. I worry forwards.

I have been thinking about how if the work of my children will be to forgive me (and oh, how I hope they do), maybe the work I have now is to give myself grace. Because in giving myself grace I am teaching them how to forgive by example.

By forgiving myself; allowing freedom for failure, loss and laughter; I am paving the way for them to forgive me and forgive themselves and forgive others.

I open an atmosphere. I create a home. I allow for a way of accepting and friendship that is not paved on perfection and peace, but on release.

"What if we laid down the expectations — of our parents and of ourselves and of perfection ..." Ann says. And I think.

A while ago we had a meal with friends. My daughter doesn't know yet that I endured fourteen years of battle with my body. She has never heard the stories of coming out of that and my fears of what residue will linger over her.

The topic of weight came up. Silly comparisons emerged between the kids and I jumped in - words and distraction - a memory of what I didn't want the future to be. My daughter was calm, perplexed by my sudden interruption into the kids' conversation. "It's okay," she said soothingly, "I like my weight. I think it's fine to say what we are."

Turning to her table-mates, "My Mom says my weight is perfect and that I am beautiful just the way I am. I don't want anything to change about me." There was no pretense or attempted convincing. Just a shrug, a reality, and a little concern about my (!) passionate body language.

I stepped back. I was quiet. I was silenced by grace.

Because this time grace is not forgiveness anymore, but is birthing celebration. It pivots on it's own momentum and becomes joy. The years of built up choice become a new reality and the reality belies a history that always was. A truth just buried under layers and film of worry, fear.

A new unity cautiously unfurls. Between what is and what is given.

In so many areas right now I am being invited into an arena of grace giving way - via trust - to see a new reality. Where the past, the future, the fear, no longer determines my present. But the present truly is a current. One bubbling up and under, not from broiling pain, but newness and hope.

One step at a time. One touch in a moment. Where pain increased, grace abounds even more.


deb said...

I am seeing this, knowing this, learning this.

oh thank you Misha.

Cassandra Frear said...

How wonderful that your daughter feels that way! Sometimes I worried that I might be passing on things to my kids. But if we are doing our own work with God, there is a grace that covers them. I've learned this.

Now that they are adults, I can say their faults and weaknesses are their own. And God will help them as they walk with him.

aimee said...

I know this desire so well, to give my daughters the acceptance and love of their body, a gift that I'm still unwrapping at 33, a gift that wasn't given as a child and that has been one of the most difficult things to recover from as an adult. And I know that in my eagerness, I speak too quickly sometimes to reassure my daughters and they look at me oddly. Because their comments about their bodies were made with sweet innocence, simply a description, not as the condemnation I hear echoed from my past. I wonder if I can possibly give this gift of beauty and give it without any distortion?
Thanks, as always, for writing about true things.

Chelle said...

Big fat lump in my throat...
How beautifully you are mothering her...She just blooms with beauty.

I see this same unashamed confidence in Annabelle and pray the day never comes that she loses it. What precious grace-lessons they teach with their sweet, uninhibited, unbruised hearts.

Jessica said...

I can so relate to every word of this. It seems a girl can only learn this kind of confidence from her mother- and you are doing a great job. I can only hope my girls an learn to have the same confidence and acceptance of themselves at such a young age.

Jennifer Jo said...

I, too, struggled for 10 years with a (mostly mild) eating disorder. I'm so aware of how I talk around my kids. So far I've been relieved to see how confident my oldest daughter is, but I'm sure there will be bumps (boobs, bellies, and otherwise) up ahead. The more I love my body (belly dance helps!), the better off she is...

tonia said...

oh look at this...this beautiful thing God has grown while you weren't looking. this lovely gift He helped you plant in your daughter while He was healing you. such a beautiful, hopeful thing.

my daughter is 15, at the age where staring in the mirror and hating your thighs is as regular as breathing. if only i could clip the cord that holds her back, that fear that she is not pretty enough, and let her fly.

you have done well! GOD has done well for you. wonderful post, beautiful heart.

emily wierenga said...

oh misha...

this is exquisite. absolutely. i often tremble, thinking of having a daughter, wondering how i'll help her understand she's loved, and how i'll share my story with her. thank you for sharing your story with us. xo

Misha Leigh. said...

Thank you - each comment each of you has written has brought a new piece to me in trying to articulate what exactly is happening - Thank you!