(I'm on the left, mom is in the center holding my brother, Andrew)
I acknowledged my sin to you to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin (Psalm 32:5 ESV).
Everyone makes mistakes. We all fail no matter how we attempt to hide behind titles, social media links, awards, screens, and egos. Even me. The perfectionist. The one who’ll pull an all nighter to get the wording for a chapter or an article exactly right. Yet, I’ll find a typo or an erroneously placed serial comma.
Inevitably, there’re turns each of us will take in life that’ll be more difficult to recover from than others. Still, one of the best ways to experience a life filled with more joy, is to be at peace with our biggest blunders.
I’m not suggesting we need to make mistakes purposely or stop holding ourselves or others accountable. We should do our best to avoid pitfalls, and obvious disaster.
Neither am I saying we should take a flippant approach to making mistakes. I’m pointing out the importance of our mistakes. It’s how we grow.
When I was seventeen years old, I made a mistake I’ve never forgotten. This mistake, however, was one of many that I made that helped me become the woman I am today. I learned more from that mistake because I grew spiritually to regret my decisions, asked God for forgiveness, and then changed my behavior.
Although I had peace with God regarding my mistakes, I’d always felt burdened because I’d kept certain things away from my mother. Year after year, I kept feeling God pressing me to confide in her. There was a problem. She was perfect in my eyes and she believed the best about me. I stubbornly continued to avoid the conversation.
One Monday afternoon, I arranged to have brunch with my mother in her sunny, yellow kitchen. Before I lost my nerve, I wiped my clammy palms on her placemats and blurted out my horrible secret. Immediately, my mother smiled, poured me another cup of tea, talked about her mistakes, and God’s forgiveness. She single handedly wrapped my past with love, grace, and understanding. I left her bungalow as buoyant as her delectable teacakes.
No, I didn’t enjoy coming clean. But, in an instant, I’d been released from a self-imposed prison of guilt and shame.
Four months later, my mother passed away suddenly from COVID. My world shattered. I’d lost the sister of my heart. As I savor my memories of her, I finally understand. I never lost my worth in my mother's eyes.
I am a treasure. I'm the daughter of the forgiven and I choose to make peace with my mistakes.
Dear God, help me to be obedient when you ask me to do something. Help me to learn from my mistakes, move on, and forgive myself. Show me how to give others love, grace, understanding, and forgiveness. Please heal my heart from the stunning pain of brokenness, hurt and loss. Amen.
Your turn: Do you struggle with the pain of holding onto your prior mistakes or the mistakes of others? Is there someone God is pressing you to speak with? Could there be unconfessed sin you've never confronted? Did you know secrecy is often our greatest enemy doing its most destructive work in silence? Don’t wait. Speak up. Make peace with your mistakes.