This is the title of the last lesson in the Bible study I have been leading this summer. It has been an interesting couple of days here as I have been preparing for this last class. One of the days talked about letting your kids fall so that they can see their need for God's grace. It also talked about extending grace to each other. I don't think we extend each other enough grace. Here are a couple of examples of grace 'n failure I have seen since I completed that lesson.
Princess TD has learned to ride her bike sans training wheels. Last night we were out riding and she was getting dangerously close to parked cars. I stopped her and told her a story about when I was about 8 years old and I was riding my bike. We lived in a small neighborhood that had a block that was about 1/4 mi around, so all of us kids would just ride around and around and around all day long. I was on my 5th or 6th lap and I wasn't paying attention and as I came around a corner, I ran smack into the back of a parked car. I went over the handlebars and landed on the trunk! I told her about going to the door and telling the owner of the car that I had hit their car and how scary that was (in that day, we didn't need parents to go to our neighbors homes, so I did this alone). She was astounded that I had hit a car. I think she was trying to figure out how I could have made that mistake, but I explained that it was an accident. The owner of the truck that she came dangerously close to hitting was in his front yard and heard me tell this story. After I got her back on her way, he told me that he has had to buff out at least a dozen scratches from the boys in the neighborhood (who never told him, BTW) and that it was "ok" if she hit his truck. He said that he appreciated me trying to teach her not to hit it but if she did, he knew it was an accident! Grace.
Ok, here's what happened in the end of my story: The lady who owned the car actually saw me hit her car out the window. She was impressed that I came right away to tell her about it. She insisted that I sit in the shade and have some cookies and lemonade! Awesome Grace.
My dear friend, Erinlo, has a post regarding a similar situation to this on her blog. Go check it out and tell her what you think.
I have always been a perfectionist (I know, no surprise). I do not like failure and do not like to admit (or even acknowledge) when I have failed (or am wrong). When I was younger, I was very critical of others choices that didn't match my "correct" way of thinking. I was watching a DVR episode of Dr. Phil from yesterday and I saw myself in the overcritical, overachiever big sister. It made me think about the hurtful things I have said to several of my lifelong friends and family members. Even with all of the hurtful things I have said, they have forgiven me and still love me. Grace.
I also see some of these same critical, "always right" tendencies in Princess TD. I am praying for the right situation to come up and the right story to help her to see that it's not the way to go, that she needs to extend grace to others.
I pray that I can find a way to teach this to my children. We are all a failure. We all need Grace. Each of us in our own lives in our own way is rejoicing, hurting, serving, being served, playing, working, stressing, relaxing, holding on and letting go. Grace to us all.