We rise most mornings at 5-ish. The first snooze alarm coincides with the beeping of the coffee pot, both of them annoying but necessary, and I’m usually in the kitchen with freakish hair and one eye open by the time he’s pouring his mini-wheats.
It’s a slow awakening, with the requisite silence of early morning.
But after I’ve made his millionth sandwich and he’s taken his vitamins with the milk from his millionth bowl of cereal, after the lunch box is packed and the coffee and cream have mixed to the perfect color, we sit together.
It’s routine, and we love it. Coffee time and the first thoughts of the day. We are fairly guaranteed that the phone won’t ring and the kids won’t wake and the only other one who greets us that early is the dog, waiting to go out.
So Monday, after the bowl was in the sink and both eyes were finally opened, the topic of discussion was failure. Specifically, the ways we’ve been failing in our parenting and our walks with the Lord and just life, in general.
This is the point in the conversation where I generally get hurt feelings. I have all the normal coping mechanisms when it comes to critique and I’ve probably added a few new ones to the list, namely, a dogged determination to prove you wrong by my sheer awesomeness.
But this was a different conversation with a different outcome. This was more of a here-we-are-how-do-we-get-back kind of mutual discussion. An assessment. A taking stock and evaluating the outcomes.
And the diagnosis was true. The cold, hard, and unemotional facts are that we are failing in areas.
We’re dealing with people and you don’t make charts evaluating successes and failures, like some business plan. But you do step back and look at fruit and relationships and you examine your days. You walk circumspectly and gain a heart of wisdom.
You guard against being marched around by your emotions, because there’s more at stake here than your ego.
And again on Monday night, again in quiet discussion but this time with several others involved, we are faced with failure. Our motives are checked by the Holy Spirit and isn’t that always the best confrontation? The one that comes between us and the Comforter?
The brokenness is a hopeful-cracking and we all know that we fall short.
It shouldn’t be such a shock to be faced with your own imperfection, but we often shield our Precious Selves and shy from it. We don’t let it have it’s perfect work in us.
But this is a different conversation with a different outcome. This is redemptive, because I’m determined to make the hard stop and look the ugly truth in the eye.
The ugly truth is that I fail daily.
The redemptive truth is that I am not doomed to string up failures for a lifetime of rotten days. It’s amazing, but I’m holy and blameless in the eyes of God, and I can choose to be grounded and steadfast in Him and to be unmoved from the hope of the gospel (Col. 1:21-23).
I can take stock and pray through changes and come back to Center.
I’m thriving from this failure because of hope for something better, and thankfulness for another chance, and the knowledge that He is shaping us. All of us and each of us.