About 12 years ago, my 4-year-old grandson taught me a lesson that continues to be beneficial today. When I arrived at my son’s home, Daniel was using an art software program on his dad’s computer to draw pictures. As we talked about what he was doing, he said, “Grandma, I learn lots of new things when I make a mistake.”
What a positive attitude and different from my thinking at the time. I hated making mistakes! I’m not referring to willful sin or knowingly making choices that could lead to great disappointments, but those that normally happen through being human. Most of us have heard from childhood that we should learn from our mistakes, but we are still embarrassed and have a sense of guilt when we realize we’ve erred.
From my grandson’s simple statement, I had a paradigm shift and began to realize that mistakes are part – even an essential part – of our growth process. They allow us to see our strengths and weaknesses, show us the need to ask for help, increase our knowledge, help us to learn new skills, and even teach us about others.
As widows, mistakes are inevitable. This is an uncharted path – not just a bump in the road but a mountain to climb. Through our mistakes, we can help other widows avoid the same pitfalls.
Several Scriptures remind me that God looks at our imperfections with grace and mercy:
“Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me” (Philippians 3:13).
“Don’t remember the prior things; don’t ponder ancient history. Look! I’m doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it? I’m making a way in the desert, paths in the wilderness” (Isaiah 43:18-19).
“If any of you lack wisdom, he (she) should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him (her)” James 1:5).
The antidote for condemning ourselves when making a mistake is to admit our error, and view it as a learning opportunity. We can ask God to give us peace in the circumstance and move forward with confidence knowing that everyone makes mistakes.