For When We Fail

It’s half an hour to the game. On good roads. The game starts at 10:20. I want to leave by 9:30.

I’m up, showered, dressed.

I yell up the stairs at 9.

The roads don’t look so good.

At 9:30, he’s shoveling, and I’m muttering.

At 9:40, he comes in, putters in the basement.

My muttering becomes stew.

At 9:45, we are backing out of the driveway.

At 9:50, he decides the highway will be better than the country roads.

He turns around.

And I start.

We are going to be oh. so. late. You knew it snowed. Why didn’t you get up? I am not happy. If you make us late . . .

The highway is not that much better. And we have more miles to go than the back way.

I pout.

I’ve already missed enough games while I was out of town.

So I start again.

I can’t believe we’re going to be late. We had plenty of time if we’d only gotten on the road. Why didn’t you get up? You’d think at your age you’d have learned to plan better. I am so mad at you.

He sighs. “I know. I should have gotten up. Why didn’t you wake me up?”

Last. Straw.

Why is it MY responsibility to be responsible for everyone else?

I yank the visor down. Flip up the mirror flap. Yep, that’s my mouth moving. And I’m wearing what my son used to call my mean face.

Just so you know, I’m not talking to you for the rest of the weekend!

I guess I should have eaten breakfast.

I jerk my face toward my window. Watch the white world pass. Snap some pictures. Keep my mouth shut.

He stops the car in front of the door.

What are you doing?

“Do you want to get out here?”


He pulls up further to parallel park on the side of the drive but stops before he straightens out.

“Why don’t you get out here so you don’t have to step in the snow.”

I yank the handle, throw the car door open, slam it closed, stalk through slush.

He parks, runs, beats me to the school door, holds it open.

I stomp inside, smile at the money-taker, hear ball thump and feet pound floor. A whistle blows.

I glance up at the clock. It’s already the second quarter. We’re ahead with three fouls. I later find out that two belong Grace.

My daughter waves, laughing. I’ve already texted that I’m going to kill her dad.

I plop myself down next to the other “nama” and tell him to “go sit down there.”

But we’re all laughing. And it’s all good.

And as she would say, all is grace.


On Sunday he talks about Jonah.

About how Jonah tried to run from God’s call.

Like he could hide.

How he got found and tossed and swallowed and urped.

Because God’s the God of second chances.

And so he did what he should have done in the first place, and God had compassion on the people of Nineveh.

Because God’s the God of second chances.

And Jonah got so mad he started spouting stuff like “just kill me now.”

But God doesn’t. Because, he tells us, failure is not final with God.

He’s a God who forgives and fixes.

He is a God of grace and compassion.

He observes that often we learn best from the situations we respond poorly to.

I’m a slow learner.

I need fixing.

That night we go back to church to watch the movie Luther. I try to take notes in the dark. There are some great lines.

Like when the older monk tells Luther, who fears he is losing his faith,  that “we preach best what we need to learn most.”

Maybe I should teach about grace-filled, salt-seasoned speech.

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. ~Colossians 4:6 (NIV)

So when the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this: “I admit that I deserve death and hell, what of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where He is there I shall be also!”  ~ Martin Luther (in the movie anyway–maybe for real?)

Getting my eyes off myself and counting the gifts: #1KgiftsDare 

January 13: Three sounds you hear.

37. Birds singing for and because of their seed.

38. The gentle snore of one I love–and the ability to hear it.

39. Furnace fan that reminds me of the blessing of warmth in the cold.

January 14: Three ways you glimpsed the startling grace of God.

40. A nine-year-old involved in a rollover accident on the way to her basketball game is okay and still arrives in time to play.

41. A husband’s unconditional love.

42. The world quilted in white.

January 15: One thing you wore, one thing you gave away, one thing you shared.

43. Love my high-heeled black boots!

44. Regret for yesterday’s failure.

45. Lots of hugs.
On In Around button


  1. says

    Thank you, Sandy, for the reminder that “failure is not inal with God. He’s a God who forgives and fixes. He is a God of grace and compassion.” I needed to hear that today for myself and for those in my life who have failed me.

    I liked the Luther quote from the movie, too. Facing the enemy head on with God’s salvation stops those darts in mid-air.

    Janis@Open My Ears Lord recently posted..Reaching for the Joy

    • Sandra says

      Thanks for that, Janis. The reminder of the second chances for others. We need to remember that their failures aren’t final–and that we can’t fix them, but He can.

    • Sandra says

      I’m glad you laughed, Michelle. I hoped for that. Do you have those days when you know you should zip it? The voice is telling you to. But you just don’t want to? Sigh.

    • Sandra says

      And don’t you love how easily we can leave that mean face in the car once we get where we’re going? Especially church. Good sign that we can control ourselves when we want to. 😉

      Thanks so much for your encouragement, Shelly.

  2. says

    Oh, yeah – the Grrrrr moments. Had plenty of those. And why do they so often happen in the car?? And Ms. Etole is right on – 9 times out of 10? on the way to church! Ranting sometimes helps, but not so much when other people are there to hear it. :>) Thanks for the giggle tonight, Sandy. Glad you got there for most of the game.
    diana recently posted..Just an Ordinary Saturday…

    • Sandra says

      I’ll bet the hubs will be up on time this week. Oh, wait. Game’s not until 6. But we did make it to early church with time to spare. :)

  3. says

    Ahhh, life. We wait a lot at our house, too. I’m learning about keeping my speech grace-filled. I just wish I practiced from my heart what I know in my head. My husband rocks at this. Prince of offered grace, just like his Father, the King.
    Pamela recently posted..Singing from the Sheltering Tree

  4. says

    Oh, friend, I know this lesson well. Preaching grace…I could use some grace glasses today. Some days things just go all the wrong ways…
    laura recently posted..Visionary

  5. says

    We all know how petty we sound when we complain about little things, but the voices in our head insist on arguing, “But they’re *important* things!” Sometimes it’s terribly hard to keep our conversation “full of grace.”

    After some minor outpatient surgery yesterday, and a hurried trip to plan for a loved one’s memorial service this weekend, I’m feeling tired and cranky today. Your message is just what I needed to hear. You remind me of His grace, His love, His patience, and how badly I need it all.
    Carol J. Garvin recently posted..Sunshine, Shadows and Moving On

    • Sandra says

      Oh. Those. Voices. And I do think it’s harder when we’re tired or hungry or stressed. You’ve been so much on my heart these last few days, Carol.

    • Sandra says

      Thank you, Janet. I love that we can all walk together and pick each other up when we stumble.

  6. says

    just found you…I love honest post…one woman can relate to…my goal is life is to be gray and gracious…I laugh…I am graying very slowly…sometimes I wonder if my crown of glory will ever come:)

    • Sandra says

      Thanks so much for coming by. I just visited your blog. What a testimony!

      My goal is to be gracious–but not gray. :)

  7. says

    Years and years ago, when my 2 kids and I were living with Susie and her husband for several months … another long story … every once in a while she would just quietly say to me “Salt”. That was the indicator that I was sounding harsh, cranky, less-than-kind. Heavy sigh… not perfect even 36 years later. Try more, though. Life happens; mouth does, too.
    Joanne Norton recently posted..TRAGIC WEEK… AND BLESSED