Friday, December 26, 2014

Grace upon grace upon grace

For Christmas this year, I gave myself a gift. I gathered a few documents that make me cringe and put them in a folder. I labeled the red folder "My Failures, His Grace."

Happy new year to me.

I will always remember the morning I retrieved my SPM exam scores (SPM was the Malaysian standardized tests for high school students). This piece of paper was the culmination of five years of stress and studies. I was confident that I had done well and I could not wait to see the results. It was going to set me apart, and rescue me from the pit of mediocrity. This piece of paper was going to define me, my future schools, my future career.

I was ecstatic.

I gave the person at the desk my name, showed her my ID, and waited as she looked for my exam results. Butterfly fluttered in my stomach as I held in my hands the paper of my hopes and dreams.

I was devastated.

I had done well in most subjects except for the one that mattered the most: the Malay language. This one grade dragged my overall score down significantly. As my friends gathered around and shared their results, most had done better than they expected. I wanted to dig a hole and hide.

No, this is not a story about how I would be made stronger. Or how I would learn something through that experience. Or how everything happened for a purpose. No, this is not a story about how I would survive. In fact, I went on to face even bigger disappointments, made bigger mistakes, and fell into bigger deceptions.

As my three boys grow, they will one day be utterly crushed. They will fail and see that they are not enough. Their mistakes will be costly and they will feel the sting of rejection. They will be devastated by the weight of their guilt and defeated by their fears. One day, hearing "I still love you" and "I still think you are awesome"—from their old mother—will not be enough.

I pray that, in these moments, they will pray, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." This is our end, to love the Lord our God, and nothing more.

As this year is ending and another is coming, I have no doubt that I will mess up my brand new year pretty quickly. Probably within the first few minutes. I know there will be new additions to my folder of failures, and there will be many more that will not be recorded (thankfully). But all of them will point me to grace upon grace upon grace.

My one resolution is that I would pray more, and more truly, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." And nothing more.


Stephanie said...

I love this prayer for the new year. It's an exercise of faith to pray it even when our hearts do feel like they want's like the man who prayed, I believe, help my unbelief.

E! said...

Devastation. Nothing like it to reveal misplaced hopes... And patient grace