Cold coffee sloshed over the rim of the near-empty mug. Onto the desk. And my laptop.

My stomach knotted as I watched the screen freeze. The power light blinked a final good-bye.

How could I have been so stupid? So irresponsible? So careless?

Self-deprecating thoughts bombarded my mind. Like the rat-a-tat-tat of a machine gun.

Over seventeen years ago, I graduated high school and left home. But those first eighteen years of mental and emotional childhood abuse still plague me today. No amount of time or distance can seem to erase the harsh words drilled into me. They are seared into my mind. Branded into my being.

As I berated myself over the coffee spill catastrophe, my husband quietly walked in the room.

“Let me help you dry it out,” he said. He knew my anguish.

An hour or so later, we both knew the laptop was toast.

And so I continued the barrage of self-inflicting painful words.

“I can’t believe I did this!” I cried to my husband. “I’m always so careful. How could I have been so incredibly ignorant?!”

He pulled me close. Held me tight.

“It’s okay. We’ll have it fixed.”

His gentle words pierced my heart.

How could he be so kind and loving and merciful to me, when I’d just caused a costly mess?

“I love you,” he continued. “And it’s okay. It’s just a computer. It can be fixed. Do what you need to do to send it in for repairs.”

Forgiveness. Grace. Mercy.

Just like that.

Just like Jesus.

How many times have I created huge messes in my life, only to chase them with self-defeating thoughts? Bruising–wounding–my heart, mind, and spirit with negativity, rather than bringing it to my Father?

Sitting there on our bed, embraced by my loving husband, I think I heard the voice of my Father whisper, too.

You are loved. Forgiven. Accepted. Held.