One of our children often finds herself in trouble. Early on, I became acutely aware of how much we were disciplining, addressing, and correcting her. Though her behavior very much needed correction, I found it a bit discouraging as a parent. I felt strict and unyielding when I so desired to be encouraging and nurturing.
Every night, I would spend a few minutes with her before bedtime. We would often talk about how the day had been. Over time, I found myself reflecting on Lamentations 3:22–23. It became a resting point for me as I interacted with her.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
It encouraged me to remember that God’s mercies are new every morning and that no matter how much trouble she had gotten herself into, or how upset we were over her behavior, his faithfulness to our family would not waver. I would regularly try to end her day with this hope: "Honey, no matter what happened today, tomorrow is a new day. You are forgiven and loved. Tomorrow is a fresh start, and God's mercies are new and waiting there for you."
My desire was to help her move from guilt or shame over her behavior to hope in One outside of herself. I wanted to point her towards a good, loving God who avails himself to her in every circumstance. Little did I realize that the same sentences I spoke to her would come to be used over and over again—in my family, in my life, and in my counseling.
We all need the same hope that my daughter needs. We are so easily consumed by our circumstances and our failures. We need to be persuaded that what makes the difference is God-centeredness—a deep conviction that God is in the midst of our day-to-day living, a trust not in the quality of our situation, but in the character of our Creator.
So here is my prayer for my daughter, for me, my family, and maybe you, too.
Lord, remind me that my failure does not swallow me. When I wake up, your mercies will be there waiting for me. My circumstances will not overtake me, for tomorrow, or this afternoon, or this next conversation, your mercies will be there—waiting. Your goodness, your grace, your faithfulness are new in every moment, in every circumstance. Help me to turn away from my laments and despair toward belief in your great character. For you are the God of steadfast love, and great is your faithfulness to me. Amen.