I was walking through the bread aisle at the grocery store feeling quite proud of myself because all of my children were walking in a nice little row behind me as they had been taught. Several folks had already commented on how cute and well-behaved my girls were, so I was mentally patting myself on the back.
Then, this sweet elderly woman walked up to me and said, “Honey, are you aware your child is not wearing any shoes?” Yeah. Wow. I turned around and, sure enough, my three year old was shoeless. I mumbled something lame, laughed it off and hurried away. Inside, however, I was waiting for the announcement over the loud speaker.
Bad mom on aisle 3. Bad mom on aisle 3.
Just like that, I went from thinking I was rocking this motherhood thing to feeling like I was an embarrassment to mothers everywhere.
The reality was, however, that I was no worse of a mom when my child walked around Kroger barefoot or when that same child knocked over the cereal display a few aisles later. And I was not a better mom just because, for one brief moment in time, they were content to walk single file through the bread aisle. Isolated moments do not make good or bad moms.
And, also, isolated moments or mistakes don’t make good or bad people. We think that, though. As we are packing our Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes or sitting on the front pew at church, we think we are doing well. We think God is probably pretty happy with us.
Then, we slip up. We fall into a pit that we have climbed out of multiple times in the past. We do that thing that we promised God we were not going to do anymore. We hang our head in shame because we are certain that God is shaking his head in disgust.
Here’s the thing, though. God does not portion out his love for us like the daily manna in the desert. When he chose to love – he just gave it all. He held nothing back.
Long ago the Lord said to Israel:
“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. – Jeremiah 31:3
That means that there is nothing you can do to gain more of or lose some of his love. So, that thing you just did? That thing you swore you would never do again? That place you promised you would not go? The doubt that, for just a moment, crept in? The fount of forgiveness has not run dry. It still flows freely and it covers our failings. Not because we are good. Not because we are bad.
But because he loves us – with an everlasting, unfailing, never gonna stop kind of love.