Poor old letter F. Don’t you just feel bad for someone or something that has ended up with a terrible reputation through no fault of their own? F is a perfectly fine letter, but for at least two reasons now has a negative connotation. Obviously, there’s the word. The BIG word that, for some reason, is just one of the worst words ever to enter the English language. I’ll apologize now for getting that word in your head, because once it’s in, it can be tough to remove. It’s the word makes me flinch when I hear it since, thankfully, it’s not that often. Some people, however, seem quite fond of it. Some people are also fond of snakes. I will put all above people in their own category. :)

But Letter F’s troubles don’t end there. He’s the worst of the worst when it comes to grades, too. Even students who regularly get C’s and D’s on their report cards can say, “At least it’s not an F!” He’s the letter no one wants, poor guy. It’s not his fault he landed right after A, B, C, and D. I guess they were so close to the letter that starts the word “Fail” they just decided to skip the E and go straight for poor old F.

Though my heart goes out to Letter F, I’ll admit I’ve never wanted much to do with him. My choice curse word, in moments of sudden pain or fright, happens to begin with S (not that I’d ever let it actually come out of my mouth). And the grade I preferred on my report card came a little higher in the alphabet chain. Okay, he’s at the top. If I ever were to get an F on anything, it would probably be handy to have a defibrillator around. The horror!

That’s always been me. Not only do I prefer to steer clear of failure, I fear it. (Oh, man. Another bad F word.) I set up my whole life to avoid it at all costs. If there’s anything risky or uncertain, you can just count me out. I want to take no chance that failure can occur. It’s kind of amazing I decided to get married and have kids, because those are two of the hardest things ever. I was under the assumption that I’d do a better job than I am, I think. Really, though, the whole reason I have an Elementary Education degree is because I thought I couldn’t mess it up too bad and I was too afraid of messing up Secondary Math, or heaven forbid, something crazy like Interior Design or Photography. Oh, no. Much too risky.

Ironically, I thought I’d be a terrible elementary teacher when all was said and done, so I never used my degree anyway. I didn’t even think I could convince a principal I’d do a good enough job to get hired. Can you imagine the horror of getting fired because you stink at something?

So when I got a big, fat F in front of what seemed to be lots of people a few days ago, I was horrified. I mean, what’s worse than failing? That would be failing in public. I’m so hard on myself that I just couldn’t get over it. I hate to fail. The reason? Must be my old pal PRIDE.

Failure hurts our pride. To think that everyone knows we messed something up in a royal way is too much for our ego to handle. It’s humiliating. Funnily enough, I’ve been praying for more humility. I knew in that moment that God could use this, if I’d let Him. He didn’t want me to sin, but He could use it to teach me something. And He has.

I will fail. It’s inevitable. If I’m walking with the Lord, I’ll be doing it less and less as life goes on, but it will still happen. I’m living in a fleshly body in a fleshly world. Sin will happen. Failure will happen. And people will see.

But the beautiful thing about our failures, our mess-ups, our cracks…it’s just an opportunity for the light to shine through. What a wonderful chance to point to something many of us will be pondering this week…


My humiliation. My failures. My sins. My shame. My curse. My bad reputation. My punishment. My destiny.

Taken and nailed. By the One who loves me despite all that. By the One who gently, faithfully picks up the shattered mess I have made, am making, and will make of my life and turns it into beauty…if I’ll let Him. If I’ll humble myself and accept the gift I will never deserve.

He takes my failing report card and stamps His A across it forever. Failure erased. Perfect record attained.

His love. His freedom. His reputation. His holiness. His righteousness. His grace. His mercy. His destiny.

I don’t want to trample on that grace. I don’t want to disappoint Him. I don’t want to ruin His reputation or steal His glory. I don’t want to fail Him.

But sometimes I will.

Yet His forgiveness, love, grace, and mercy will be waiting for me. His arms will be open to accept me again. He will rejoice at my repentance. And He will use it all to change me. Mold me. Make me more like Him.

Sometimes it takes seeing our sin all over again to appreciate the cross like we should.

I am not worthy, nor will I ever be, of grace so great.

Thanks and praise be to God our Father and our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

Romans 8:1-4


  1. Beautiful post Amy. Just last night Paula F reminded me that its not "when we get it together" that we can find Jesus. Its "in the midst" and when we truly seek Him we will find Him. And He's not hiding. He's right there-in the midst of our daily life-all the ups, downs, ugliness, sins, joys,-He's there.


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