Life has taught me so many lessons. The one that seems to most repeat itself more consistently than any other is starting over. Starting over in the middle of a day go awry. Starting over in the middle of a conversation when the conversation has gone a direction that I didn't intend for it to go or my emotions got the best of my tone of voice. Starting over when I decide that I would rather retire for the rest of the day or maybe even the rest of the month. Starting over writing on a blog that I have the best intentions of keeping up with but seem to fail at every time. Starting over when I miscount how many cups of flour I have put into a recipe because I am distracted by the children hovering around the Kitchen-Aid. Starting over when I say 'No" to the kids without thinking about why I just answered 'No' and going back to apologize and say 'Yes'. The amazing thing about God is he allows us the ability to start over, if we are willing to humble ourselves under his mighty hand. To say we are wrong and need to start again. To seek forgiveness and then right our wrongs. Sometimes they may not even be wrongs, they may just be a different direction than where God desires us to go. How often I am reminded that God's mercies are new each and every day. How many times I also forget that and I get bogged down by the past, the mistakes that I have made and the consequences that my family or I suffer as a result of continuing in my willfulness instead of listening to "the still small voice" and turning from my ways and running toward him.
I am beginning to see these things in my children. One of my daughters spoke out of turn and disrespectfully to her teacher, who is also like her aunt, today. When Jared and I sat her down to talk to her about it. She said, "I didn't mean to say that or say it like I did, it just came out that way." She started to cry and wiped her tears with her t-shirt as she lay in my lap. I saw myself in her as she sat there and cried over what she had done. She meant no harm but was unable to stop the words before they left her mouth. It is a 'start over' moment. She cannot undo what was done, but she can go back and right her wrong. As we know, that is where the hard part comes in. Writing a heartfelt letter of apology is easy, but standing up in a classroom full of children to apologize to them and to her teacher for her conduct is not easy. She is worried about what they will say about her. At eight it is hard to understand that others opinions should matter little to us in comparison with what God's opinion of us is. I desire for her to stand before a living and holy God, able to humble herself and find his forgiveness. We will be standing beside her as a physical reminder to her that Christ is with her at all times. His strength is made perfect in our weakness and He will uphold her with his mighty hand. Seeking forgiveness from others is so hard because it requires us to lay our pride down. I know that God will honor KK and bless her willingness to seek forgiveness both publicly and privately. I also know that she will be setting a great example for the other children in her Sunday School class. The freedom she will feel on the other side will be tremendous and will make it so much easier for her to apologize in the future. The public profession of her disrespect will also help her to think twice about saying unkind things. She isn't one who would ever intentionally hurt someone with her words or her actions but she is really beginning to understand the pull between our flesh and our spirit. Starting over would have been much easier had she stopped with what she thought and repented of it at that time before she let it slip through her lips. How many times I have done the same? When I wished that I would have thought something through before I said it or I look back in disgust at times I have acted in ways that our not pleasing to the Lord.
Through all of those things God has taught me tremendous lessons, just like he is teaching KK. He continues to teach me as I am teaching my children through the mistakes that their Daddy and I have made. I am learning through the mistakes that they make. How can a holy and perfect God give us start over moments? I wonder how often I have missed the opportunity to start over, to fix or mend a wrong that I have caused. I pray that my children don't miss the boat as many times as I have, that their precious hearts would be sensitive to the spirit's leading and they would be willing and obedient to Him who calls them.
1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
Matthew 6:14 "For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
2 Corinthians 2:10 "But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ."
Colossians 3:12 "So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."
His word reminds me over and over again how important forgiveness is. He knew we were going to struggle with forgiving and seeking forgiveness. Oh, what an opportunity for KK to see how important it is that she is forgiven by her Savior and that he is presenting her with an opportunity to seek forgiveness from the ones she has wronged. She is a precious girl and loves the Lord. I know he will use this tremedously in her life. He has used tonight tremendously in mine. To see heartfelt repentance and sadness over sin. I think as grown-ups we often forget to be 'child-like' and truly broken over our sin nature. Yes it breaks my heart but many times I miss the seemingly small sins. Oh, Lord forgive my blindness. I wish to see all of my sin as Jesus sees my sin. Not in the jaded view of my human flesh. Open my eyes to see Lord. Help me to listen. Let us start over fresh tomorrow and remember that your mercies are new each and every morning. It is never to late to start over. You are the God of redemption and restoration. You specialize in start overs, from the biggest to the smallest. My life is a living, breathing testimony of that grace. I pray that the fragrance of our lives would be pleasing to you. May all the glory be to you Lord Jesus.