Do you ever just need a do-over in life?
This last Christmas was a do-over for our family. Christmas of 2016 was to be our family’s first Christmas in our new home; however, my Dad was in the hospital fighting for his life, (another story for another day) and we spent two weeks at UT Medical Center. When Christmas 2017 rolled around, the girls kept referring to it as our “second first Christmas” in our new home. They called it our “Christmas redo,” and we went with it.
In fact, it was a redo in more ways than one. A couple of years ago, I got my husband, who deep down has farmer in his blood, an awesome Carhartt coat and work overalls. We had just bought our farm, and even though we weren’t living there yet, I knew he’d love it and start making use of it! Well, first let down…the work overalls didn’t fit, and then a few months later, in the craziness of moving, the coat went missing. Guess what Casey got for Christmas this year? Coat and work overalls (that fit this time)! A win for the redo year!
I was also the happy recipient of a redo gift. For my birthday last year, Casey and the girls got me one of those bath tub trays - holds a book, drink, candle, etc…. Sadly, it didn’t fit the tub and was promptly returned to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Christmas this year? New bath tray. Redo!
I could have opened that gift and said, “I’ve already tried this. I can’t believe you got me a Christmas gift that you’ve already tried to give me before.” And Casey could have done the same. I mean, how special is it really to get a gift you’ve been given once before? We could have responded with frustration and irritation; thankfully, we didn’t. Thankfully, we saw it as a chance to try again.
We laughed together on Christmas morning as we realized the gifts we were giving each other were gifts we had once opened before. We delighted in the fact that we got to try again.
I think we get “redos” in life. We get chances to try and try again. God is gracious and allows us the opportunity to flub up and mess up, and then He gives us a chance to try again.
Yesterday was a challenging day in our home. It was just one of those days that we kept running into each others’ flesh…the girls with each other, me with the girls, Casey with the girls. We just seemed to keep tripping over each other. It wasn’t any one major bad attitude or huge ugly moment; it was simply little things. But, it was little things all day long.
Sometimes those days are the hardest for me…hard to make a comeback from. I have always told the girls, “It’s ok. We can have an ‘etch-a-sketch’ moment.”You know, the old children’s toy that you could draw with, and then turn it upside down, shake it, and presto change-o you had a blank slate again!
We get do-overs. We can restart. We can try again. But somedays you just get tired of shaking the etch-a-sketch.
That was yesterday. How many times is it possible to have a do-over? Arguing at breakfast between the girls. Shake the etch-a-sketch. Grumbling and complaining while doing school. Shake the etch-a-sketch. Frustrated tone of voice with Casey. Shake the etch-a-sketch. More arguing between the girls. Shake the etch-a-sketch. It was exhausting.
Today, however, I am grateful that He never grows so frustrated with us that we stop getting do-overs.Yesterday, there was a moment when I was ready to call it: “Everyone to your own room! There will be no talking with each other the rest of the day because nothing good is coming from it.” My grace tank was running low, and my strength to shake that etch-a-sketch was waning.
I am growing increasingly thankful that our heavenly Father’s grace tank never runs low. He is never ready to send me to my room and have no connection with me the rest of the day. His strength to shake that etch-a-sketch for me is never failing. He is always willing and ready to forgive every shortcoming and every mistake. His grace is there to hold me as I get the chance to try again. He says, “Redo, Kara.”
His redo moments for us are so full of grace.When he says “Redo. Try again,” it’s not with a chip on His shoulder and an irritated tone of voice— doubtful that we can make a good choice this next time around. No. It’s full of forgiveness, hope, and grace. That’s what He offers.
Oh, how I want to offer that same forgiveness, hope, and grace to my babies, to my husband, to those I walk with…and to myself.
When I say “Let’s try again,” am I saying it with hope filled expression or with frustrated exasperation?What a mess we would be in if our Father didn’t offer grace…if He didn’t offer forgiveness. Seventy times seven. Sometimes I think I could hit that number in a day - both in giving and receiving.
As I am more and more aware of my need for do-overs, I am also growing more aware of my need to extend that same grace to others.
If there is anything I want my precious daughters to grow up knowing, it’s this: they are not perfect, but they are being perfected, and their heavenly Father will always be there extending grace and forgiveness and a chance to try again…and so will their mother.