I Left My Gift at the Altar

I sped down the winding hill from our house, my 14-year-old daughter sitting beside me. I tried to take each little curve with just a little jerk, just so she would know just how angry I was with her. I cranked up the Christian music station, just so she might “think” about her rude behavior toward me that day.

We were on our way to church and, oh, how I hated to go to worship with such an angry heart—but she was just so impossible this day.

I felt like leaving her at home. But, NO, I wanted her to go to church! After all she NEEDED it!

I needed it more.


I love worship! I am truly a worshiper, no matter what may be going on in my life.

Worshiping the Lord in truth and spirit always makes me feel better. It always sets me free. So I was anxious to get my heart right before the Lord and enter into his gates with thanksgiving.

But something happened…

I began to worship with my heart and my mind fully fixed on Him, waiting on Him to pour his spirit and love into my heart and refresh me and cleanse me and…

WHAT?! You want me to do what?

As clear as day, God spoke into my heart:

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24

Now I have to confess here. Sometimes I’m a little slow to obey, but I didn’t want anything to come between my Redeemer and me, especially after a day like today!

I pulled out my cell phone and began to text my daughter. “If you have your phone on and you are reading this, please meet me in the lobby right now.”

Five minutes later, I was standing face-to-face with my daughter. I confessed to her about how my prolonged anger toward her was wrong and my attitude was childish as I was driving. Would she please forgive me? She just stared at me for the longest time.

She wanted to know if the service was about repentance and if that was why I was asking forgiveness. I explained how the Lord had spoken clearly to my heart that I was to leave my “gift” at the altar and go to her. With tears in her eyes, she quietly began to turn and walk away, and she whispered, “I forgive you.”

She didn’t say she was sorry—not right away. Not until later that evening. She is that way, a thinker, a processor.

But me: I had freedom to return to worship, to look my Savior right into the eyes again, to offer my gift of sacrifice and to receive all that He had for me that day.

Was it worth risking rejection from my daughter? Yes!

I am not perfect by any means; however, the one thing I know from many years of “practicing” forgiveness is that it is a true work of the Holy Spirit. We must let Him do the supernatural work as we do the natural—even when we don’t want to.

Don’t let things fester in your heart toward your children. It is better to have only one debt in this life: the ongoing debt to love.

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another.” Romans 13:8

shari1Shari Lynne blogs at Faith Filled Food for Moms and loves cooking up original recipes. She is an overcomer, conquerer, foodie, learner, wife, mom to seven, and grandmother to five. Follow her on Twitter @shari_lynne.


    • Shari Lynne says

      Awww Jillian you are so sweet…and believe me I’ve had to practice that one a lot! LOL Thank you so much! Blessings!

  1. Deb says

    Thank you so much for sharing this very touching story, Shari Lynne ~ God speaks through you!
    We ALL need forgiveness.
    What a wonderful role model you are for your daughter….and for us, too!!
    I love your tender heart <3

    • Shari Lynne says

      Thank you Deb..my heart is truly humbled. I think I need forgiveness more than anyone sometimes. :) Many blessings to you Sister :)

  2. Shari Lynne says

    It is definitely the hardest thing in my opinion…only done by the power of the Holy Spirit for sure :) Blessings Christina!

  3. says

    Hi Shari,
    Great post today! I enjoyed reading it so much. It brought back memories of my daughter and I going through similar trials together. God is so good! He never fails to invade our thoughts when our hearts are aligned with his. Your obedience and testimony spoke and refreshed my spirit! Thanks friend! God bless you bunches!
    Kimberly :)

    • shari lynne says

      Thank you Kimberly..that is so sweet… A Mom is a Mom and I am so glad that your heart was refreshed with the post. Thank you for stopping by to comment. May the Lord Bless you!!


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