Friday, 5 February 2016


So can I tell you something?  I mess up. A lot. Like all the time.

I make mistakes.  Really stupid ones.  I send out emails with the wrong information.  I confuse dates.  I don't check things.  I forget things.  I mix up things and end up doing unnecessary work.  I make myself weak with panic and frustration sometimes.  And I feel bad about it.  How the hell could I have done that? How could I be so stupid?

I mess up with money; with food; my body; my car; my clothes; my house.  It’s really quite limiting.

Worse than that, I mess up with people.  Friends even.  I forget birthdays.  I say silly things that I want to leap on and beat to death the minute they’ve left my mouth.  I am living proof that you can’t please all of the people all of the time, but you can pretty much annoy them all in one go!  Most of the time I think really hard before I speak, yet, even so, I often still say exactly the wrong thing.

I have friendships that have failed; I have offended people on social media, in churches, on the road. I have failed my community and my society in numerous ways. I am often thoughtless and selfish; thinking only about me and mine and our needs.

Worse than that, I mess up with my family.  The people I should love more than any others.  I am short-tempered with them.  I shout at them.  I even say nasty, mean, sarcastic things to them.  I don’t meet their needs as well as I could. Sometimes I resent their demands.

I have even messed up with myself.  Gosh! If I think of all the things I could have done differently!  People I shouldn’t have dated.  Places I should have gone.  Opportunities I have missed.  Courses I could have studied.  Career paths I could have followed.  Days I could have spent differently…

I am fatally flawed.  Messed up.  Frail.  Finite.  Very limited in, oh so many, ways.  No matter how hard I try or how good my intentions; I continue to mess up.  And it doesn’t improve.  I am turning 45 this year and although I am still learning valuable life lessons weekly, daily!  I continue to find new, innovative ways to mess up.  I boldly venture into new territory to experiment with messing up in ways I would cleverly have avoided when I was younger.  It’s quite discouraging you know.  And fortunately when I fail to notice how much I've messed up, I have teenagers to remind me!

And the peculiar thing is I can often go for several days at a time thinking that I am a pretty savvy, smart person.  I can even judge others for their poor choices and silly mistakes.  I really give a lot of thought to how I live, but, BOOM! Just when I least expect it my fatal flaw shows up.  It’s a bit like a never-ending banana peel that keeps popping up and BAM! Down I go.  It hurts me and others and it’s darn embarrassing.

So I think this could be a big part of why I love Jesus.  He kind of expects me to mess up.  He doesn’t ever seem terribly surprised.  Laughs sometimes, I expect.  Cries sometimes.  But He has that forgiveness and grace thing down.  He’s quite infallible, but somehow He is able to accept me as fallible as I am.  Every time I mess up, He’s the only one I can really admit it all to and not expect a cold shoulder.

I honestly don’t know how one lives without that kind of grace, that kind of love.   You can get it from others now and then.  You can offer it to yourself; but when messed up people tell you, ‘it’s ok,’ it doesn’t really comfort terribly, does it?  I need someone bigger who can say, ‘I know you inside out and I see all those good intentions and those noble thoughts and all that effort; and I love it that you try, even though I know you will mess up rather spectacularly now and then, but I’m big enough to lift you up from your muck and dust you off and help you onward again. 

I love the way Frederick Buechner (Telling Secrets) talks about how the church should be like an AA meeting.  Because although we are not all recovering from alcoholism, we are all recovering from messing up in one way or another, or as the bible calls it: sin.  We used to do this from time to time in our church – allow time for people to stand up and say, “My name is Natalie and I’m a sinner.  This is how I messed up this week…”  It was always a wonderfully encouraging and bonding time.  I think, because we understood we were in a community where each one was given grace by God.

He is the only reason I can continue to live with this fatal flaw in me.  I need His cleansing, His forgiveness and His warm embrace.

I love this verse from one of my favourite songwriters: Nicole Nordeman (Spun-Woven)
So, thank you Jesus
Even when You see us just as we are
Fragile and frail and so far
From who we want to be
So, thank you Jesus
Even when the pieces are broken and small
Dreams shatter and scatter like the wind
Thank you, even then


  1. Great blog Natalie... so true in every way!!

  2. Thank you for this! I think so many of us can relate to being flawed and imperfect! And this is why we must rely on our Savior Jesus! He has taken it all so that we can lay our imperfections at the foot of the cross! Bless you Natalie!