Everyone fails often, but only those who live in grace survive.


Mary Cassatt

"Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation." --Willard Beecher


"For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith." Romans 12:3

Pounding down our long winding stairs, anger was mounting with each step. I could hear my boys fussing. Sarah and Joy were nowhere to be seen and still the dishes were piled high  and I knew that none of the chores I meted out had been accomplished. As I reached the bottom stairs, I began blasting. I was yelling from the bottom of my toes.

Sarah and Joy came out of their rooms and peered over the railing to the main floor to see what all of the ruckus was about.

And it wasn't just for this day. Seemed I had been storing up my anger for quite a while. All the children stared at me somewhat in fear and partially with humor twittering at their lips--which made me all the more angry. I did not appreciate being a source of humor to this crowd.

Of course, as soon as I quit, I was appalled at myself. What mother yells like I did? What damage had I done?

Sarah, the typical oldest child, responsible, compassionate, taking responsibility,  brought me a cup of tea, and sheepishly began smiling.

'Mama, you know how much we all love you. I think you should consider when you feel anger and frustration building up and try to manage it--decide not to blow-- just before you feel like you are going to, because it always makes you feel worse than we do."

Does anyone else ever feel this shameful regret? After all, I am a fairly mature believer, I write about motherhood, I love my children---what comes over me at these times? Maybe I should quit writing and speaking until I have integrity, the voices whisper to me in my failure.

Sometimes I punish myself when I blow it, as though I am above sinning. I hate to hurt the feelings of my children. Just hate to do something like this.

All of us blow it most every day. We are selfish at heart, limited in virtue and all in need of forgiveness--but mostly we need the grace of living beyond our guilt.

Each of us is tempted at times to the kind of pride that pretends we are better than others. However, Jesus was so very clear about our nature and propensity to fall short in every ideal possible.

John says, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves."

I am so very glad Jesus chose Peter to be the rock. Peter, falible, wrongly self-assured, and the one who abandoned Jesus. Couldn't Jesus see His flawed character. And yet, instead of judging him by his works, Jesus judged him by his heart. Peter, the rock, who greatly failed was Jesus' choice to be the rock of the early church. He accepted his role, after he found the gracious forgiveness of His Lord, to guide and shepherd the early church in Jerusalem--not perfectly, but with a whole heart. He gave his life for the cause of His dear friend and savior.

And so, Jesus does not judge me by my fleshly fallacies, but by my heart of love for Him, my utter dependence on His grace, my heart of gratitude for His enduring patience.

If you have blown it, and feel like a failure, walk in His wonderful grace today, even in the midst of your shortcomings. Remember, you are defined by His strength and provision, not your own limitations. It is why you need a savior.  He forgets our sin, but we remember his grace and humbly walk each day with Him.

Ponder these verses:

Peter reminds us, "Love covers a multitude of sin." Repent and ask for forgiveness to your children and kiss them, hug them, love them and give them words of grace. You are modeling to them what they can do when they fail.

"There is therefore, now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1

"It was for freedom that Christ set us free, therefore, keep standing firm so that you may not be subject to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1

"Nothing can separate us from the love of God," Romans 8

May you find today, the rest and peace that comes from living into His gracious, gentle and compassionate heart.