Second Chances

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” — Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery

The rhythm of a school year is so natural for me… Maybe because, as a teacher, there has never been a season in my life when my life hasn’t been dictated by a school schedule. I love the way that school winds down in the summer and begins again in the fall, just as the world gets cooler and and ready to focus on work again. I love the built-in redo of a new school year. Last year didn’t turn out the way you wanted? Guess what? You have a chance to make it what you want it to be! You can learn from your mistakes and make changes and create an outcome you can be proud of.

The reliable fresh start of a school year has given me a better understanding of the unfailing, never-tiring grace of God. Second chances--and third, and fourth, and billionth---are His specialty. “His mercies are new every morning” is an even better deal than a new school year. There will never be a day when God decides we have exhausted His mercies, and we will never graduate out of needing them!

So often we look at our latest failure and feel that we’ve finally reached the point where God can’t do anything else with us. After all, if we can’t forget the mistake we just made, how can He? But that’s part of the awesome, mind-blowing glory of God. Psalm 103 says that the distance that the east is from the west is how far He’s removed the memory of our messes from us. East will never become west the way that north will eventually become south on our earth. There’s no way to have two directions that are further apart. God, who knows every hair on our heads, and the whereabouts of every sparrow, has purposely, permanently forgotten our sins. Isn’t that comforting? As a teacher, I have a hard time forgetting the time a student was disrespectful a year ago, but God has forgotten all of our mess-ups. On purpose. Our heavenly Father can look at us and only see the love and righteousness He has given to us.

This summer was a busy, messy time for me. It was a time where I felt like I had so many things to do that I couldn’t do any of them well. As I look back, I wish I had a redo button to press on the whole summer, to redeem what I didn’t do well and take time to savor the things I did. But life doesn’t work that way, and as the season shifts yet again, my comfort comes not from knowing that I did things perfectly--but knowing that I have a God who is working to make me perfect. And who can redeem my mistakes far better than I ever could.

What in your life needs a fresh start? Is it a strained relationship, a habit that you just can’t shake, a dream that seems just out of reach? Bring them to God and see what second chances He can create. His tomorrows are always fresh with no mistakes in them.

Emily Dech