Well, that was a failure

lamentations 3-22

Our morning routine on that first day back to school after winter break went flawlessly.  My kids were up, fed, dressed, and packed for school 20 minutes before the bus’s arrival.

We even added in the coats, hats, and gloves for the first time this winter and my kids still walked out the door early that Monday morning.  Someone pin a medal on us or something!

And then.

Only one word describes that afternoon: STRESS.

Before Christmas break, we had those Monday afternoons down to an exact science: Forty minutes between the time we get home from school and the time we need to walk out the door to ballet.

No problem.

In those 40 minutes, my kids changed out of school clothes and into dance attire.

I emptied the backpacks and lunchbags.  By the time we left for dance, I had their school folders cleared out; reading logs, behavior logs, agendas, and take-home folders signed; lunches packed for the next day and dinner made.

Wham.  Bam.  Thank you, ma’am.

But not this week.

Oh no.

We were a right awful mess.

Over the break, I washed all the dance clothes and thought I put everything back in the right dance bags.

On the contrary, my six-year-old couldn’t find her tights.

No problem, I found them.

Then, she had the wrong leotard in her bag.

A little more of a problem, but after some searching, I found it.

Then, her dance shoes felt tight and didn’t fit anymore.

Okay, I pulled down our bucket of dance shoes (I have quite the collection) and resized the child’s foot.

She put on her dance clothes, but forgot to take off her underwear first.  (For those who are not dance moms, underwear under your leotard is a no-no because it shows and looks embarrassing. I actually Googled that once to find out how ballerinas kept their underwear from showing.  Seriously.)

My baby girl and I had a good laugh at how much we’ve forgotten over the break and I asked her to change again.

Only then she put her stockings and leotard on inside out.

Bless her heart, I thought she’d cry for an hour over that one.  She was just so tired of changing her clothes already.

This time, I helped her into her dance clothes myself.

I loaded everyone into the minivan with five minutes to spare, plopped into the driver’s seat and realized I didn’t have my key.

Then I spent the next five minutes searching the house for the missing key only to find it on the key ring exactly where it’s supposed to be so I don’t lose it.

For real.

It was an all-out miracle because I didn’t lose my temper or explode.

But I did cry.  I sobbed a little around the house as I hunted for that key and called out a desperate cry over and over, “Jesus, help me.  I know I’m a mess and I’m just not making it today.”

But here’s the thing:  We arrived at the dance studio on time.

My daughter looked perfectly cute in her shoes, leotard, and tights (sans underwear).

I even remembered my checkbook to pay the tuition for the month.

It probably looked like we had sailed through that afternoon of craziness just fine.  Maybe it looked like I had it all together.

Nevermind that internally I had one grade to give myself for my afternoon’s performance: F as in Failure.  F as in good grief, Mom, could you possibly get yourself together already?

But oh such grace is this: We can try again.  I know we’ll get back to that smooth routine and it will go better next time.

And, even if it doesn’t, Jesus isn’t giving up on me because of a lost leotard and foolishness over my car keys.

I read this promise in Scripture:

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease (Genesis 8:22 ESV).

The rhythms of creation itself are a reassurance of the rhythm of grace.

Day and night come ceaselessly.  I will wake up to a new day, a fresh start, an opportunity to try again and maybe even get it right this time.

More than that, whole seasons come and go with certainty.

One bad year of planting isn’t the end.  Spring will come anew and I can plow the field fresh, drop the seeds into the earth, and look forward to a better harvest.

I can count on it.

The failures of one day, one moment even, are only permanent if I choose to give up instead of going forward.

Fresh starts and new beginnings: That’s what God promises us, season after season, day after day.


Bible Verses and a Prayer for the New Year


  • versesnewyear
    Psalm 33:3 NIV

    Sing to him a new song;
        play skillfully, and shout for joy.
  • Psalm 40:3 NIV
    He put a new song in my mouth,
        a hymn of praise to our God.
    Many will see and fear the Lord
        and put their trust in him.
  • Psalm 65:11 NIV
    You crown the year with your bounty,
        and your carts overflow with abundance.
  • Psalm 96:1 NIV
    Sing to the Lord a new song;
        sing to the Lord, all the earth.
  • Psalm 98:1 NIV
    Sing to the Lord a new song,
        for he has done marvelous things;
    his right hand and his holy arm
        have worked salvation for him.
  • Psalm 144:9 NIV
    I will sing a new song to you, my God;
        on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you,
  • Psalm 149:1 NIV
    Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of his faithful people.
  • Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV
    There is a time for everything,
        and a season for every activity under the heavens:
  • Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV
     He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
  • Isaiah 42:9 NIV
    See, the former things have taken place,
        and new things I declare;
    before they spring into being
        I announce them to you.”
  • Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV
    “Forget the former things;
        do not dwell on the past.
    19 See, I am doing a new thing!
        Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
    I am making a way in the wilderness
        and streams in the wasteland.

  • Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
    For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
  • Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV
    Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
        for his compassions never fail.
    23 They are new every morning;
        great is your faithfulness.
  • Ezekiel 11:19 NIV
    I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
  • Zephaniah 3:5 NIV
    The Lord within her is righteous;
        he does no wrong.
    Morning by morning he dispenses his justice,
        and every new day he does not fail,
        yet the unrighteous know no shame.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
  • Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV
    You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
  • Philippians 3:13-14 NIV
    Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
  • Colossians 3:9-10 NIV
    Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices  and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
  • 1 Peter 1:3 NIV
    Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
  • Revelation 21:5 NIV
    He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”