I am a dreamer. An idealist. An addicted-to-hope optimist. When one commits to living an intentional life — to not letting moments slip by without assigning to them thought and care — she can set herself up for the perfect perfectionistic storm. I am an intentional mother, not a perfect one. My ideals and my dreams and my plans often far outstrip my realistic ability to make them happen, at least to make them happen in the way I envision. If I let myself look back and see all the ways I’ve gone off plan, all the things that didn’t work out quite the way I imagined, it could discourage even the most stalwart optimist.
Every bend in the path, every place it was this and not that, there is the fingerprint of grace. It’s not that God always gave me something happier than what I’d conjured in my idealistic list making. It’s that He gave me what I needed. Sometimes, frankly, I needed a kick in the pants. Sometimes, I needed to come face to face with my failures and drop to my knees and surrender to His mercy. And there it was: mercy new every morning.
He promises us the fresh breeze, the clean slate, the ability to begin anew. There are no limits on the promise. He goes so far as to assure us that we can begin again every morning. Every, single dawn for the rest of our lives, He will be there, with mercy unbounded.
“The Lord’s acts of mercy are not exhausted, His compassion is not spent; they are renewed each morning — great is Your faithfulness"
There it is. Every morning, we are given a fresh supply of mercy. Every morning, we are assured that God has compassion on us, that He hears our dreams and our desires, and He sees our lists and our lamentations. He knows about the wet bed, the spilled milk, the burnt toast that set off the smoke detector before everyone was even out of bed. He shows up, every morning, offering grace enough for the day and grace enough to forgive whatever we messed up the previous day. We just need to meet Him there, in the morning, in the promise of a fresh start.
Before anything else, in the bright promise of the day, God wants us to surrender all to Him. For just a few moments of stillness, steeped in Word and prayer while we hold that first cup of tea, He wants our hearts. In return, we get His mercy in that moment and all the moments that follow.
Even more, we are granted the great grace of forgiveness in the sacraments. We can meet Him in the morning, tell Him our hopes and plans, and, in quiet stillness, listen to what He would have us do. Then, every single day, He is waiting to offer us real strength that comes with His body and blood, a fresh infusion of grace for whatever comes our way. But wait — there’s more. We are also given the opportunity to pour out all those shortcomings — those sins, dirty and accusing — and leave them at the foot of the cross and actually hear the words of forgiveness in confession. Clean slate. Start again. Go forth with the full confidence that we are a new creation, and we can grab onto our optimistic ideals with both hands and live with the reckless abandonment to joy and mercy and grace that is the great gift of this crazy life of faith in Christ.