I was gifted this quote graphic when I purchased one of my (now many) Good Word Candles and loved it so much I framed it. It sits on my desk as an obvious reminder, but has also become encouragement for me when I wake up at
the crack of dawn my new morning time each day. As I was groggily sitting in my office on Monday, sipping my coffee and wondering if even Bolton could bring me to life, I found myself really thinking about what the framed words meant.
His mercies are new every morning.
Maybe I was still half asleep but I found myself wondering what “mercies” truly meant. So of course I googled the definition. (If webpages could be on speed dial, Dictionary.com would be #2, right after my mom.) (Sorry, Christian.)
Mercies (noun) –
- compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone
- an event to be grateful for, especially because its occurrence prevents something unpleasant or provides relief from suffering
- (especially of a journey or mission) performed out of a desire to relieve suffering; motivated by compassion
- an act of kindness, compassion, or favor
- something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing
Let all of that marinate for a minute, I mean dang. It’s one thing for us to know that Jesus died on the cross for our sins – the ultimate display of love and mercy – but what does His Mercy mean when put in daily context?
I have always been a bit of an emotional scorekeeper. Even when I was little, I remember thinking that I wouldn’t sit next to my friend Amy at the next birthday party because she didn’t save me a seat at the last one we attended together. (We’re talking 1st grade here and yes- this is a true story.) The whole way home from our friend’s party, I stewed in the backseat, feeling so hurt because we ALWAYS sat next to each other. I vowed to not save her a seat next to me the next time (because THERE IS NOTHING WORSE, am I right?) and don’t you know it- that very next week (because when you’re in first grade, there’s a birthday party every 7 seconds – it’s a fact), I ran over and sat in the middle of a couple of stranger girls. Now, I’ve always had a forgiving heart too and cannot stand it when others feel sad or bad so the second Amy teared up over me choosing to sit next to someone else, I kicked one of those stranger girls right on out of their seat, crying out, “Amy! Ok! You can sit here! Amy! Your seat is right here!”
I have no idea where this emotional scorekeeper attitude came from but I think part of it had to do with the fact that I personally always wanted to do the right thing, the right way – because I didn’t want to personally let anyone down. I didn’t care if friends or other people did things differently than me on their own, but if their way of doing something affected me directly, I felt I emotionally had to protect myself and would mentally keep a score in my head of these instances so that next time I would be a bit more cautious… and instead of learning to fully rely on and trust others, I began to get into the bad habit of doing everything myself. It kinda takes “Planner” to a whole new level, even in 1st grade, you know?
When I found myself in my first corporate job, my boss suggested I request an assistant to help me with things like faxes, emails, phone calls, etc. He was right – I was the only one in my “department” and was putting in 13 hour days most days each week; I was overwhelmed and at first, his idea of me getting an assistant sounded SO great. So HR got me an assistant, she was sweet and capable, and yet I had such a hard time handing anything over to her – even a fax – because I’d gotten so used to doing it all on my own. (She lasted 2 weeks and I went back to overloading myself… for almost 4 years.)
My mostly Type-A/Planner/Particular-Way-Of-Doing-Things personality only continued the older I got and I know what you’re thinking… I must be an absolute JOY to be married to 😉 While Christian and I have a lot of similarities, this Emotional Scorekeeper/Don’t-Worry-I’ll-Show-You-How-I-Load-The-Dishwasher gem of a trait is not one of the ones we share and I’m so thankful to be married to someone who encourages me to step outside of the rules/my way of doing things just by being himself. We are opposite in all the right ways and it’s enough to stretch each of us to be better people, which- while this is often a tough thing to learn in marriage, it’s also one of the absolute best things. I had to make the choice early on in our marriage that I wouldn’t – I couldn’t – keep score of “mess-ups” or “wrongdoings” and I had to really learn to trust that his way of doing something, albeit different than my way, was OKAY.
All of this reflection earlier this week got me thinking about Jesus and how beautiful and kind His ways are. I’m so thankful that He isn’t an emotional scorekeeper. He doesn’t greet me in the morning with a comment like, “Well yesterday you really messed up, so today I love you a bit less and am going to make things really hard for you all day.” And what’s more is that He trusts me each and every day with the plans He’s created for my life. He offers me the tools and then let’s me choose – each and every day – all the while helping me when I cry out to Him and rescuing me every single time I screw up. (And not with an “I told you so” response.)
There are no tallies of the times we’ve fallen flat on our faces – instead, Jesus wipes the slate clean for us each and every morning. He begins at the same place with us each day. His mercies are new every morning and His love for us remains the same, and we can rest in knowing it will be this way tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness!
– Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV