Failure Rests in Yesterday

I have become a morning person. I don’t know how or why it happened, but there it is. Aside from enjoying the magnificent blend of caffeine and worship time, I just love the feeling of a new day and the concept of a fresh start. New decisions to be made, new ways to see God working….new chances to avoid forgetting my kids’ Google classroom meets, and to be the kind of wife who patiently endures her husband’s continual questioning of her hair color expenses. He knows now what he speaks, Lord.


One of my favorite Bible verses states God’s “mercies are new every day.”  The Biblical definition of mercy means God’s pity, compassion, and kindness toward people. Also of note, his mercy triumphs over judgment. For people like myself, this scripture is a gem. 

I’m perpetually grateful for a lot in life- thank you Jesus for the ocean, a fast metabolism, and children who go to bed quickly– but God’s mercy has always topped the list.

My entire ministry to women is basically grounded on receiving continual mercy and second chances, despite my mistakes.  I’ve had a knack for taking the hard path over the smooth road paved with that allusive mix of wisdom and self-control, and God’s been there at the end of my ridiculousness, every time.

But letting go of failure can be hard. I think as women, we’re especially prone to guilt and self-loathing, especially when we fall into patterns that affect the ones we love. We can sink into actual depression when ruminating too long on the ways we’ve “failed” as mothers or wives or friends, because we too often find our identity and value in the eyes of others. I’d have been crushed long ago by the regret of neglecting maternal duties to pursue selfish ambitions if I didn’t actively trust in God’s mercy. And even worse, I’d be of no use to him. 

Our failures should never define us, but when we persevere and eventually overcome them, God ultimately gets the glory. I could write an entire series on relationship mistakes but when finally overcoming the issues causing bad decisions, God brought along the best husband I could’ve ever imagined…it was a clear testament to his mercy. God has used my pitfalls and weaknesses like a nasty eating disorder and a prior fondness for Marlborough Ultra Lights to be more relatable and empathize much more deeply with the young women I work with in prison ministry.

Life is complicated and we’re all broken, so no one’s immune to failure. Sadly, walking through this life is usually uglier than we predicted and more difficult than we imagined. How many of our younger selves would’ve believed we’d experience divorce? Or raise rebellious teenagers, or file for bankruptcy, or fall into sins like pornography or dependency issues? 

These can be hard to talk about in Christian circles but they all happen, and commonly. And the enemy would love nothing more than to convince us we’re alone in our failures, we’re weak, not worthy of love, and simply prone to repetitious harmful patterns. 

This is where the Word comes in, and we need to stay in it to avoid condemnation and defeat. Thank God for examples like Peter, Saul and David and so many others who were closest to the Lord, and yet let him down the worst (murder, denying Jesus, adultery). I believe God exposed their failures to make it impossible for us to believe we’ve screwed up beyond repair. When I get to heaven, I personally plan to high five that woman at the well with five ex-husbands. “Tough road getting here, huh? Cheers!”

I used to feel like I was constantly letting God down, every time I’d screw something up. Like and the angels were just standing there, mouths open, all “this one is as thick as granite.” But over time, I’ve learned God’s way, and I’ve seen his perspective. We’re a work in progress. And he’ll use us, and bless us, right we’re were at. When feeling unsure of this, I always remind myself that God has extravagantly blessed me knowing how much I would sin, fall short and disobey later on- even a day or week later. He’s not surprised, caught off guard, or confused about one single mistake. 


At some point we’re all faced with the decision to believe that he’s good and forgiving enough to turn every single one of our failures around, or else give in to defeat, stop dreaming, settle for less, and live with the heaviness of regret. Because he is good enough. I can attest that as much as I’ve felt his disappointment and disapproval of my wrong choices, I’ve felt a double portion of his love and mercy when I surrendered, and refused to give up. There’s nothing out of our grasp if we take our eyes off the past and fix them to the ultimate restorer.

I am so grateful for newness. And for the permission to never, ever, look back. Let this be the day we hand over our failures to him, and commit to believing he’ll make our story a beautiful one. Every single, page.

“Behold, I am making all things new…” -Revelation 21:5.

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JESSICA KASTNER

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