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A new day with no mistakes

"Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?" -- L.M. Montgomery

I love this Anne of Green Gables quote. It is nice to awaken to a new day, fresh without any mistakes yet in it. The celebration of the new year is a little like that, too. All shiny, unblemished calendar pages - nothing crossed out, nothing forgotten, nothing regrettable.

And then we put our feet on the floor. And inevitably, we mess up.

The mistakes make us humble; they drive us to our knees and they inspire fervent prayers. I've made such a mess of this God; please fix it. Please, please fix it.

He always does. He always offers the opportunity to begin again. He always extends forgiveness and mercy. And then, He fixes it, if only we let Him. Often, His "fix" doesn't look the way we thought it should be fixed. Sometimes, we are disappointed in the short-term. But always, always, God's will is for our good. He wants only and always the best for us and for our children.

We have to get out of the way. In our pride and in our fear, we can think God needs us to make good things happen. St. Isaac Jogues wrote, "My confidence is placed in God who does not need our help for accomplishing His designs. Our single endeavor should be to give ourselves to the work and to be faithful to Him, and not to spoil His work by our shortcomings."

When children are little, mothers can fix most of the hurts. They cultivate a habit of creating opportunities, of arranging successes, of healing hurts. It's fairly easy, in most cases. The challenge for a mom is not to grow too complacent in the role of "she who makes it all better." One day, she can't make it better. Indeed, she can spoil it by her shortcomings. It's humbling for the mother, and it's necessary for the child, to let God be God.

As a child grows, he has to develop for himself a relationship with God - who is not a magic fairy, not the granter of wishes - but an unfailing, unchanging Savior. God is better than Mom. God loves unconditionally, and He is faithful and unchanging. He always knows best and never makes mistakes.

With maturity on the part of our children (and ourselves), it becomes more and more apparent that we need God and they need God. We will never be big enough to fill that role. We'll never be able to manage all the details, to soothe all the hurts, even to make all the right decisions. But God's got this. And our job is to believe that for ourselves and then to show our children that it's true.

I've already messed up that blank slate in ways I couldn't have imagined when the New Year's horns were trumpeting. I've begged forgiveness. I've been brought to my knees. I've learned lessons in humility. Now, there is more to learn. Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes yet in it. Can I learn to let God accomplish His designs in the life of my children?

It's my prayer for the new year that I can.

Foss, whose website is elizabethfoss.com, is a freelance writer from Northern Virginia.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015