My coworker and good friend Patrick Witherow and his wife Kara are going to be parents tomorrow, and have named their baby daughter Nora. Such an amazing time in the life of a couple, and they will be faced with many, many decisions and choices for this child as it grows. I thought about what I would tell them having raised two children of my own. It got me to thinking about the patterns in life, and how there is this general and incredible framework that God has created for our lives, strongly infused with grace. Let me explain.
From the basic building blocks of life, we are created in our mother’s womb. God watches over us at that time and determines our sex, our unique character, and our general physical makeup. God is there to take care of us, and we really can’t make choices about what happens. Then we grow and develop these incredible relationships with our parents, siblings, and other family members. God chose those people for us, and he wants us to each help each other, and offers us guidance along the way, but we can choose to be good or bad to those around us. Thus begins our path of choices. Then we make friends, and it is at this point that we make more choices, be they good or bad ones. As we grow, we choose how we will live our life, we choose a mate, we choose an occupation, we choose lots of things. God is still in control, but we can choose some pretty bad things. Bad choices are called mistakes, and we have to decide what to do with them.
We are faced every day with many opportunities to choose, and those choices help determine the direction of some things. We make good choices, and we celebrate those. But what happens when we make a bad one? A lot of times we try and deny them or rationalize it to a point where it is not our fault. Bad choice, and that usually turns out poorly, plus can lead to more bad choices. It is certainly not what God wants us to do. He would far prefer humility, honesty, and offers us grace to admit our weakness. I like what Jay says has always told his kids about how to handle a mistake. Admit it, address it as best you can, and move on. That is the path to perfection, since it honors God and exposes his grace. Consider this verse:
2 Corinthians 12:9 (New International Version) But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Boast about my weaknesses? Not what we are taught to do is it? Making bad choices will happen, it is inevitable. Sometimes it is because we are not in touch with our own weaknesses, or are not able to admit them. God knows us, and he honors us admitting to weaknesses and mistakes by offering His grace.
So to Patrick and Kara, I offer this advice. Make decisions prayerfully and cooperatively, and understand that your choices now affect the life of little Nora. Understand your weaknesses and admit mistakes to each other, and even admit it to Nora when necessary. Learn from those mistakes, admit them and deal with them, then move on in God’s grace. And to the rest of us, boast of your weaknesses, and people will help you with them. Even if they don’t, God’s grace is complete in the incredible framework he created! And remember that your choices affect others as well. Good or bad, all decisions are covered in grace!
Have a great week, and make good choices!