We are well into the new year and, for many, the newness is already waning. “Normal” days have returned, and this can mean greater peace and less stress. But for many, the stress has increased and the focus has again shifted to the daily grind of jobs, traffic, bills, and children all vying for much needed and deserved attention. Often the characteristics of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are seemingly out of sight, and while we desperately long to exude Christ in all we do, we fail miserably. Guess what? When (not if) you ever feel you’re spinning your wheels and fighting a losing battle, I have good news for you:
“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!'” ~Lamentations 3:22-24
Every morning. 365 days per year, God faithfully gives you His mercy. While many confuse and interchangeably use the terms “mercy” and “grace,” they are different. Receiving God’s blessings while not earning them is His grace; God not choosing to punish us when we deserve it is Him extending mercy. I don’t know what is on your heart when you wake in the morning, but when I rise, my morning anthem is Lamentations 3:22-23. I wake grateful that with each new day, I have been extended undeserved mercy. And since God goes before me and knows all my day will hold, I’m even more amazed. Why am I amazed? Because while I always enter the newness of each day with the best of intentions, I fall miserably short every day. I often feel like I’m the world’s greatest failure as a parent, struggling to measure up to ridiculous standards and praying God will forgive me for my mistakes. Realistically, I know I’m not the world’s greatest failure as a parent, and I thank God that He knows, He sees, and yet He still loves me and offers mercy! That is the undeniable truth for all of us.
As parents, we will have good days and we will have bad days. For a time, we walk in stride with the Spirit, parenting with joy, feeling like we’ve “got this down,” and then we stumble, walk in the flesh, and question if suburban America is actually setting us up for the loony bin. But no matter what happens throughout our days, God is here, and He is merciful! Don’t let the depth of this gloss over your heart—soak it in and let it permeate your soul, especially if you are a parent who throws the gavel down on yourself. “Lord, have mercy” is a common saying in the South, and while often used flippantly, the reality is nothing close to flippant. He does have mercy, and while the familiarity of these words can lead to us forget what they truly mean, they are huge. Perhaps with this new year, we should rise not only thinking of God’s mercies, but granting ourselves mercy, as well. We aren’t called to be perfect, and the only One who is perfect really does love you in spite of yourself. How is that for a great reminder during your days?
“But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, His merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great Your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left.” ~The Message, Lamentations 3:21-23
For His Glory,
Gabbie Nolen-Fratantoni loves Jesus and is passionate about serving him through the arts by leading worship and writing for various ministries. She is married to Greg, her hard-working, iron-sharpening-iron spouse. They are opposite in personality but equal in dedication to their marriage and family. Gabbie and Greg are the proud and sleep-deprived parents of two active, sweet, and fun boys and are eagerly anticipating the arrival of their first daughter in March 2016. An Aggie and graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, Gabbie is a small-town country girl trapped in the city and loves getting to know people and encouraging them as they seek to know Jesus and make him known.
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