Failure. Somedays I think the word should be scrawled across my forehead for the world to see, so they'll know what they're getting into. A few others could go with it, maybe in smaller print under the main theme. Loser. Not good enough. Mistake.
If there were remedial courses for faith, I'm pretty sure I would be enrolled. I would be that student who shows up semester after semester, trying but never really getting the hang of things. I would be the person the teacher looks at and thinks, "Really? You again? Why don't you just quit - you'll never get this right anyway."
I try to be a good Christian. I try really hard, but it doesn't always work. I brush aside my time with God in favor of other, less important things. I lose my temper. I complain. I let bitterness or discontentment take root. I battle the same sins over and over again, and too often, I lose badly.
Time after time, I go to God, asking for His forgiveness - again. I hurt Him. I disobey Him. I promise Him I'll do better next time - but when the next time comes around, I mess it up again. It should be enough to make God turn His back and walk away from me.
But He doesn't. For reasons I can never understand, He loves me. He loves me when I can't even love myself. When I call, He runs to save me. He picks me up when I fall down. He pours undeserved grace into my life. How can He love me like that?
He's the God who created the universe. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The God who parted the Red Sea and raised the dead. But you know what really amazes me? He's MY God. He holds MY world. He created it all - yet He cares about tiny, insignificant me, one woman in a sea of billions. He knows every detail of my life, every hair on my head, every mistake I've made, and He still loves me.
It's not just love. It's extravagant love, a love that would do anything, a love that gave everything He had to redeem me. God doesn't see me as a remedial student or a failure. I'm a slow learner, but He's a patient teacher. And when He looks at me, He doesn't see a mistake - He sees His daughter. He sees me with fresh mercy, even when I don't deserve it.