Hadley Grace Frierson, 8 months old, flashed her bright shiny eyes all around the church congregation. Robert Koke, Pastor at Shoreline Christian Church, Austin, Texas was in the process of leading Hadley’s parents in an oath to rear her in a Christian home. Standing with Hadley and her parents as witnesses to this joyous occasion were her grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles, and little cousins. Upon arriving back at Hadley’s home after the ceremony, cameras flashed with everyone wanting to capture this moment. “Smile, Hadley, smile,” and immediately she would flash her shiny big eyes and smile for the camera, never shedding a tear throughout the hour long photo session.
As I stood over in the corner of the living room waiting my turn to be photographed with my granddaughter, I couldn’t help but think: “It is easy for Hadley to smile and be joyful. She has nothing to worry about like we grown-ups do. She’s one of God’s new creations with a new beginning.”
No sooner had I sized up the reason for Hadley’s smile and joy, I heard a little quiet voice within me say: “When you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you, too, were a new creation with a new beginning in life just like Hadley. But often times, you have allowed the circumstances of life to put a frown on your face, instead of joy.”
My thoughts raced back to one cold January morning a couple of years ago when I had sat down to write out my new year’s resolutions. Number one on my list - -“Bridle my tongue.” About that time, my husband entered the room and said something to me that made me want to scratch that new year’s resolution immediately, and let the words on the tip of my tongue flow. Instead, I decided it was time to take a walk to the local high school track. It is there I often retreated to walk off my excess body fat, as well as my excess frustrations.
By the time I finished the first mile around the track, I had poured out all my feelings to God about what my husband had said to me on this particular morning. However, I wasn’t finished with him. On Mile 2, I poured out what he said last week. On Mile 3, I poured out what he had said ten years ago. By the time I reached Mile 5, I had remembered everything he had said and done the last 40 years of our marriage. What a fantastic memory I have!!
At last, I came to the 6 mile marker, and my steps slowed down to catch my breath. It was during this slow pace that I came to a realization that:
I needed to experience a new refreshing of God’s faithfulness every morning, not a list that left me feeling hopeless and like a failure for not keeping. Lamentations 3:22-23 says it so beautifully. “It is the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.”
And that, I believe is the secret to retaining joy in our lives - -knowing that God’s mercies are NEW every morning because of His faithfulness to us. He is the God of second chances and we can have a new beginning every day of our lives.