My son groanish-growled a little under his breath, and then came a moment forever frozen in my mind:
He lifted a sharp, bright yellow number two pencil and chucked it to the floor with gusto.
I secretly thought it was absolutely adorable.
I was administering his first ever End of Grade test (we homeschool) and the wording of one of the problems was awkward and confusing.
He yelped to me in despair: “This isn’t fair! It doesn’t make sense!”
That tiny second grader is now in junior high, and yet I treasure that silly moment. I treasure it partly because it was funny, and partly because it was a joy to be present and to be able to gently encourage my son that it would be okay, that one missed answer wasn’t going to mess up everything, and that he could just keep trying to do his best. No matter what, it was going to be okay.
Fast forward five years, and I’m sitting in my office one day, carefully pondering and rearranging text in a form online when I click the wrong thing and boom… all those words, carefully arranged and rearranged disappear. There’s no back button, there’s no way to recover that work, and I’ll have to start again.
In the heat of the moment, I tossed my black-and-white composition notebook to the floor with a groanish-growl… and realized I am sometimes that second grader, too. I’m in need of the compassion, the encouragement, and the gentle voice of reason that says, “It’s okay… keep going… even this can work out for your good.”
Psalm 103: 13-14 says:
“As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.”
My pride doesn’t like being called dust. I want to be better than dust. I want to handle a moment like that loss of hundreds of words and lots of time with the air of Audrey Hepburn and the grace of Mother Teresa.
But what a gift it is to remember the Father who sees me right here, and has those same feelings I had for my own son, and then even more… because He intimately understands how I’m knit together and is full of mercy to help me get up, dust my knees off and try again.
God’s grace is enough. His love is unfailing.
He is ready to forgive me when I radically mess up.
He pays for my broken windows from His own wallet.
He pays for my broken choices with His own Son.
He gently stoops down, picks up that number two pencil, and says, “It’s okay. One mistake isn’t going to mess everything up. Just keep trying to do your best. No matter what, it’s going to be okay.”
About the Author:
Caroline Collie is a homeschooling Mom with four kids born on three different continents. She is married to her South African Hero Hubs, loves Jesus and dark chocolate (in that order) and writes, speaks, and creates resources to help people find deeper, more meaningful relationships with God and each other by focusing on better communication.
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