I Missed My Turn but I Didn’t Miss God by Becky Keife

Do you believe it’s okay to fail? If you asked me, I’d be quick to say, “Yes! Failure is a part of life. Failing means you’re human. Failure is an opportunity for learning. Failing means you tried.”

But turns out, what I know is true doesn’t always translate into how I feel.

Recently I messed up. I was talking on the phone while driving (yeah, I know) and I missed a turn. I didn’t realize my mistake until much too late. So late in fact that by the time I turned around, backtracked, and made it to my appointment, I was told that the doctor could no longer see me. The appointment I had waited months for. The appointment I had taken time away from work and arranged childcare for.

I stood in front of the receptionist, flustered and sweaty and desperate to turn back time, and I started to cry. Tears of frustration and embarrassment. And also tears of shame. But as I drove home, silently wiping tears and berating myself for my mistake, I realized that my response was less about the inconvenience I caused and more about what I believe:

I believe I shouldn’t make mistakes.
I believe I should always be focused and timely and efficient.
I believe a string of bad nights’ sleep shouldn’t affect my clarity of mind.
I believe failure is an indictment on my character.

As I type these words though, I can name for myself all their slippery slopes and half-truths. I would never believe these things for you.

But sometimes it takes missing a turn and crying in front of a stranger to realize you’ve got some work to do in the department of self-kindness.

Self-kindness doesn’t mean making excuses or justifying poor behavior. But it does mean making space for mistakes. It means acknowledging that you’re human. Perfectionism is a myth. Performance-based living is soul-crushing. So why do we live like a mistake-free existence is the ultimate achievement?

I drove to my mom’s house to pick up my kids. I thought I had collected myself, but as I sat on a little stool while my mom putzed around the kitchen, the flow of tears started again.

“I just feel so stupid,” I confessed.

My mom hugged me and affirmed that failures big and small can just feel plain devastating. Then she made me a plate of sausage and sweet potatoes.

Space to cry. To be held. Loved. Fed. Those were gifts I wouldn’t have received if I hadn’t missed that turn and seemingly messed up my whole day.

And this is the beauty of God: He loves us at all times, and He works in all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28) — not just on the days when we have our ducks in a row and everything goes as planned.

Today I want to hug the me from that day and tell her that she is no less valuable or loved because she messed up. Today-me knows that appointments can be rescheduled and God’s mercies are new every morning. I cannot miss His love. 

For more reminders that your limitations don’t disqualify you from God’s love and kindness, check out Becky’s upcoming book The Simple Difference, available now for preorder.

This article first appeared on (in)courage. You can find the original article here.

I Missed My Turn but I Didn’t Miss God (incourage.me)

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The Mystery and Miracle of His Might by Rachel Kang

In the middle of the night, when all is dark and all is calm, and I am tired and trying to hold open my heavy eyes, I behold my newborn son and gaze down upon his small silhouette, his little life. In the darkness, I feed him. I change him. I burp him. I cradle him. I lull him. When I am done and simply stay there to hold him, I feel his hand on mine. Holding my finger, he grasps to keep me in his grip. And though he is but two months old, his hold on my hand is unbelievably strong, and it is both a mystery and a miracle to feel the cling of his clutch wrapped around the thin of my finger.

One year ago, when the pandemic put a pause on the world, I found myself announcing that it did not put a pause on God’s plan for my family, for life swelled and swirled within me. It was a gift, even in the middle of so much grief. And I could not have known then that when I chose to name the child within, he would really live up to the meaning of his name — that even at two months old, he would show himself to be small but strong.

Aaro is his name. Of all the different variations of meaning his name holds, “mountain of strength” is the one we chose because we want for him to see himself just as a mountain — to see and know he is not a small or hidden or helpless thing.

On a day like today when I am thinking about the mystery and miracle of might showing through the smallness of my son, I cannot help but hear hope for the here and now: Those of us who feel small and insignificant and unseen are, in fact, seen and loved greatly by the One who created the greatest galaxies.

He sees us for who and how we are and shines through us with a strength we could never imagine ourselves.

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Darth Vader

Renee is two. She and I were enjoying a few quiet moments, rocking and reading Curious George in my guest room, when her eyes fell on an old photo of Steve dressed as Darth Vader. Her reaction surprised me.

  • “Nana, why is he so loud?”
  • Covering her eyes, “I have to do like this.”
  • “I’m going to pretend to fast forward him.”

So loud? Renee uses the word “loud” in place of “scary.” She was fascinated by the photo, yet knew it was troubling her and that she needed to turn away. While she was comforted by my explanation that it was simply Pop dressed up in a costume, I still moved the photo out of sight before going back to Curious George. Later, as I replayed Renee’s reaction in my mind, I began to think more about her very healthy response to fear.

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Goose Down

Photo by Frank Cone on Pexels.com

A little boy of particular importance said this to me last week.

“Mommy got me a new pillow. It’s made of eagle wings!”

Hmmm. Eagle wings. I had to think about that for a moment. Ahhh. He  wasn’t familiar with the term “goose down,” so his brain simply morphed those words into something more familiar. Goose = Eagle. Down = Wings.

A down pillow can be comfortable indeed. But imagine if we could all sleep on eagle wings. ‘Sounds delightful. Empowering. Full of rest, of soaring and trusting.

Come to think of it, doesn’t God offer us all of those things? Aren’t we able to go to him as the source of our power? Doesn’t he promise us rest when we trust? He even tells us about soaring on wings of eagles. And so, why don’t we, in a sense, sleep on eagle wings? I think, far too often, we all miss out.

We can rest every night in keen awareness of the delightful love of our Lord. We can begin every morning with a whispered prayer, “Lord, thank you for this day. Be in charge. Cause me to hear your voice, to know it, to trust, to obey. Empower me to do your bidding, and bring peace to my heart.”

Tonight, when you call it a day, whether your pillow be foam or down, I hope some part of you will imagine yourself cushioned by, or soaring on, eagle wings. The Lord loves you! So close your eyes and sleep on that!

The Heirloom

Decades ago, on the eve of our wedding, Steve’s oldest brother presented us with a beautiful hand-hewn three-shelf cabinet. It held a place of honor in each of our homes—until we moved to Austin.

Somehow, having been in the same Houston home for 30 years, we adopted the mistaken notion that the cabinet, firmly affixed to the breakfast nook wall, was considered part of the home and had to be left behind. So, leave it behind we did (along with a whole lot of other household goods, but none as precious as that heirloom cabinet.)

We settled into our new house, Hurricane Harvey came and went (just barely sparing the home we’d left one month earlier), and we nearly forgot about that cabinet. A short while later, we headed back to our old haunt for a visit and, like most of you would probably do, took a drive past our former home. There, sitting on our–or rather their–front porch, was our cabinet. We called the new owners and discovered they were about to get rid of that precious piece. A friend of theirs was due to come by and take it away, but they graciously granted us permission to snag it for ourselves. It hangs in Steve’s office now, displaying a growing collection of handmade grandchild art.

Why am I telling you this sappy story? Because it reminds me that:

  • God cars about little things.
  • He knows how to cover our goofs and oversights.
  • And if he cared enough to orchestrate the unlikely return of our heirloom cabinet, I’m pretty sure he’s on top of whatever else concerns me—or you—today.

Go forth with confidence. The King of Kings is on your side!


Thankful Anyway


This was my Thanksgiving post six years ago. My how times have changed, and how, in many ways, they are still exactly the same…

It was a morning of contradictions. The dawn was about to break, seemingly obscured by a thick blanket of low clouds filling the horizon. As we drove out of the neighborhood and Steve clicked on the car radio, I was struck by the onslaught of evil our world had only recently sustained.

The capture and probably massacre of students in Mexico.

The death of an Ottawa honor guard at the hands of a terrorist.

The usual (When did it become usual?) litany of crimes and punishments taking place throughout our land.

It’s so easy to despair, to decide we’ve been forsaken and that all is lost forever. Yet even as the radio droned on, the sun rose, splashing red and gold across the sky, those ominous clouds now serving as mirrors to reflect the spectacular light.

What a perfectly timed reminder for me. I could hear a childhood hymn playing in my memory banks.

Oh, who can make a sunrise?

I know I can’t. Can you?

On who can make a sunrise?

No one but God, that’s true.*

He’s so much bigger than we are, so much greater than even our most consuming heartaches and difficulties.

It’s time for Thanksgiving! Actually, it’s always time for thanks giving. Yes, there are dark days behind us and before us, but the sun also rises. The SON also rises. He is, ever was, always will be Lord of all, and he will carry us through the darker days. I hope you are approaching this season with a life full of good things. But either way, He is always reason enough to give thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving!

*My apologies to the lyricist. I am unable to find the source of this song.