Using Failure

This thought of coming to the end of me has been ringing in my head for a few days now. I feel like I have done this many times and yet I seem to be like an onion with layers of surrender and self-endings. God has been pushing on my heart to minister in some way to young single mothers and even though I am very willing to do that I feel like what I have to offer falls short of anything impressive or even hopeful. Like Paul I have this long list of life altering changes that Jesus has made in my heart and I have no problem expressing the goodness of my Savior or the blessing of being forgiven and loved. I also know my failures, the ones that have left scars not just on me but people I love. I’m not sure if I am able to put into words the connection I see in John 21 but it has me thinking about that story in a different way. I see Peter as a kindred spirit up to this point, a getter-done kind of person that lives from moment to moment, kind of loud and impulsive. In the story Peter and the gang have gone fishing and they have caught nothing all night. Jesus is on the shore and yells out for them to throw the net on the other side, long story short they do it and immediately Peter knows who it is standing on the shore. Peter can’t wait for the boat to get to the shore and jumps into the water and swims to Him. The other disciples come they cook fish and eat dinner and then Jesus ask Peter do you love me? I know that Jesus looks on the inner man; He knows the intentions of the heart, so the question was not because He didn’t know the answer but it addresses the elephant in the room. Everyone at the cookout had spent the last three and a half years together and they knew each other’s failures and they all knew Peter talked a big game but fear beat out his love Jesus. For me it comes down to vulnerability, to allow my mistakes to be used requires I admit that I worked constantly and used the excuse of having to provide so that I could justify my fear of not being enough. I carry this guilt around because I have always known what they needed was for me to be present and what I gave them was financial reasons for me to absent. Jesus wanted the lights to come on for Peter so that he understood he couldn’t take back his denial and he couldn’t do anything that would warrant forgiveness. Like Peter I failed to live up to my own standard of acceptable behavior so how could I ever live up to God’s? The answer is I can’t, guilt and grace contradict each other so all the knowledge of grace does not compare to experiencing it firsthand. “When I am weak He is strong”, but I find weakness to be failure and He shows failure to magnify His grace. I cling to this guilt because I see my sons hurting and I can’t help but feel it is very unfair for me to experience this kind of grace without them but what if I lay it down and they see how sweet walking in grace can be? Jesus and I have settled that I love Him and today His question to me is do you trust me? He is forever faithful and He calls me beloved!

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