–Mary May Larmoyeux- Have you ever made a big mistake and wanted a do over? Perhaps a dying relationship needed new life, a misstep had to be corrected, or some unintended consequence happened because of a poor decision. What should you do?
Not too long ago I was reminded of our ability to recover from mistakes in a very unusual way. And it all began in an art class on a Saturday.
Four horizontal rows of tables filled the room. On them stood small wooden artist easels holding blank white canvases. Nearby were paper plates dotted with splotches of paint. Everything was prepared for the workshop to begin, and I was ready to try my hand at painting.
The instructor said we’d start by drawing little birds sitting on some kind of outdoor line. How hard could that be? To many in that room, the assignment was child’s play. But for me, it was difficult. I had never painted before. Ever.
And the dream of painting a “masterpiece” that day quickly shattered. After I painted the birds, they looked like fat chipmunks sitting on a rope. When I showed the picture to my oldest granddaughter, obviously trying to be positive, she said, “I like your sky.”
Artists often make mistakes
When I told a true artist friend about my discouraging experience she said not to worry, that I could paint over the disaster and begin again. She said that artists often make mistakes and that they frequently change their work long after it first dries. Somehow, I had never considered that true artists have do overs, just like we can have in life. That there are times when we just need a fresh start, a second chance.
The Bible is full of people who had second chances: David, Samson, Peter, and Paul, to name a few. God offered each of them an opportunity to cover past failures with His love and grace. David became a godly king. The Lord used Samson to set His people free. Impulsive Peter became a rock of faith, and Paul, who persecuted the Jews, became a passionate follower of Jesus Christ. Those pillars of faith were offered do overs, accepted them, and taught us lessons from the ups and downs of their lives.
As parents and grandparents, let’s remember that failure is not final. And when our children and grandchildren … and we … make a big mistake, may we remember James 3:2a, “We all stumble in many ways.”
May we find the hope in the words of Isaiah 43:19,” Behold, I [God] am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
And encouragement in the words of Benjamin Frankin: “Do not fear mistakes, you will know failure. …”
Author John C. Maxwell also points us in the right direction. “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes,” he said, “smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.”
Don’t we all need do overs from time to time, especially after we’ve made a mistake? So when we see a sunrise, let’s remember that God is giving us a new day with untold possibilities.
In some area of your life, is it time to learn from a past failure? Is it time to take God at His word and, with His help, begin again?
© 2017 by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.
Would you like some more creative ideas for grandparents? Then check out The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild’s Heart. Paper and electronic versions are available. (Great for parents, aunts and uncles, too!)