• Amber Albee Swenson

Listen, Friend: You are not a failure

In the era of epic fails, my morning was epic and failure was happening in epidemic proportion. To begin the day, my teenage daughter and I had a disagreement about leaving the house with wet hair. I made her dry her hair, only to arrive at church about a minute into the song she was supposed to be singing with two other people. One person missing in a trio, especially when the other two have set up your microphone and music, is, well, obvious.

Next, I run into a relative who asked about the trip I had just returned from. Specifically, said relative asked if I had in fact managed to see some other relatives. I had visited some, but not all. Disappointment was apparent.

Enter Bible class and the topic of hospitality, specifically inviting people to your home for a meal, which I would LOVE to do, but haven't for several years now, mostly because housekeeping is not one of my top ten talents.

The writer of Hebrews, inspired by the Spirit, said, "Encourage one another daily, as long as it is

called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness (Hebrews 3:13)."

Sin's deceitfulness says, "You are a nobody, you mess everything up, no one cares."

Thankfully having an epic fail morning is best done at church, where the kindhearted single man asks how your morning is, and when you tell him, gives that little smirk while he shakes his head and says, "Just blow it off. It's ok." And that father of one of the other girls who is up there singing when you walk in late says to you, "Our biggest disappointments teach us the biggest lessons." And one of your good friends tells you of the time they brought their child to the wrong church thereby causing their child to miss what they really wanted to do. And then you sit down in church and the Sunday school children sing four verses of "Nothing but the blood of Jesus" and you realize none of this does matter. And when your daughter finally sings in the second service the floodgates open, and all the fails of the morning fall in tears, not unlike Peter's outside the courtyard, because you have failed, epically! BUT, that gaze from Christ doesn't condemn, but rather says, "Don't worry, friend. I've got you this time, and next time and the time after that, too."

I have not seen the fails you are dealing with today. I'm not sure if it's your health or an attitude or just a whole lot of circumstances heaping up that seem like they are about to swallow you, but this much I know: You are someone special, bought and paid for by Christ. His blood covers every failure in your life, even the ones you haven't experienced yet. It's ok if you can't get your house clean, or if you can't lose those thirty pounds or if you've made a decision that screwed something up for your family. Redemption is so much bigger than condemnation. Love covers over a multitude of sins. And you are not alone. We're all right there with you failing epically day in and day out, but looking to Christ to right the wrongs.

And, please, if you are ever going to be in the vicinity of my house, please do not hesitate to call (preferably at least three business days in advance) so I can show you hospitality.

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