Grace for My Own Mistakes


I’m one of those people who plan ahead. When I have somewhere to be, I calculate, calculate again and then set an alarm so I’m not late. I have systems in place to help me avoid trouble when executing plans. Usually, these systems work … until they don’t.

A couple of months ago, I parked at the airport relieved that I found a spot before my flight. As part of my system, I write where I parked on my parking ticket and then put the ticket in my wallet (just in case I’m exhausted after a weekend of working and can’t find my car). Slipping my hand into my purse I paused. Where is my wallet? Where is my ID? I thought as I tried not to panic. It was gone. My heart pounded. How could it be gone? Now, I am not a purse switching gal. But I then remembered that the day before, facing a long day of errands, I had, in fact, put my wallet in a smaller bag. That bag now laid on my closet floor.

Anxiety set in as I looked at the car clock, calculated the time to travel home and back again and I knew. There was no way I could make it. My extra planning didn’t plan for this. I didn’t plan to fail, but I would anyway.

Those who were in charge of planning the wedding in Cana in John 2 didn’t plan to fail, but they did as well. Though they estimated the amount of refreshment their guests would need, their planning fell short. Now their guests would have nothing to drink. The celebration would end. That is until Jesus spoke into their situation.

Our key verse tells us, “Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.” John 2:7 (ESV) Jesus’ words gave direction to those serving at the wedding, but I see something more than instructions.

Jesus spoke grace into the mess caused by someone’s mistake. There was a person who was responsible to see that this didn’t happen. Since Mary, Jesus’ mother, spoke into the situation in verse 3, maybe she carried a type of co-hostess role and his own mother was partly responsible. Whoever it was, Jesus didn’t belittle the person who made the mistake. His grace stepped into the situation. He turned the water into wine.

The day I made my mistake, Jesus didn’t perform the type of miracle I would have loved to see. As I hurried home, He didn’t part the highway like He did the Red Sea. I didn’t make my flight, nor the flight after that in fact.

The miracle happened in me.

This woman, who wrestles hard with an inner critic, was not critical of herself. This is a miracle! Instead of my inside voice belittling me, I sensed a gentle whisper to my soul even as I sped down the interstate. God has grace for me so I can have grace for me I sensed in my spirit.


This thought … I just cannot tell you how foreign it is! Yes, I can and do freely give grace to others, but to myself? Grace for myself is not something I have freely given. This voice of kindness and tenderness to myself is so new I hardly believed it was real.

What I experienced on the freeway that day in the middle of my failure, was my own heart ministering back to me! Just as Jesus poured grace into the bridal debacle, He was pouring grace into me.

Do you too, need to learn to give grace to yourself?

We learn to do so through God’s word; learning how Jesus treated others, we can learn how to treat ourselves. When we are faithful to fill our hearts and minds with God’s truth every day, we will find God’s truth ministers back to us in our every day.

Even in the middle of our failures. . I did make it to my destination only much, much later than I intended. Still, I found myself thankful for God’s help and for the opportunity to see the miracle He is making in me!

Jesus, thank you for having grace for me every day. Teach me to have grace for me too. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Let’s talk about this together:

In this uncertain and chaotic season, we’re in, there is a lot of opportunity for mistakes. Like you, I’m not used to being home (my county has issued a stay at home or shelter in place order. My extroverted side is really struggling right now!

So, what are the go-to messages you hear in your head as you mess up in this stressful time?

Do those messages line up with the truth found in God’s word?

If not, what steps can you take today to prepare yourself to give grace to yourself next time you mess up?

Here’s what’s helping me:
Living a failure-proof life is impossible. Studying the life of women in God’s word who made mistakes and found God’s grace, strength and confidence have helped me so much! I have been studying these gals for over 2 years and I am seeing the fruit of it! , Make Your Move: Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures, my study for women about women, empowers you to find Christ confidence that stands up even in our failures. Get your copy here for only $4.99!




  1. Holly Jacobs says:

    Oh my gosh! My hot flashes are brought on by stress and I actually had one just after reading the beginning of your story! It was so relate-able! Definitely needing to pray-cess this one. Thanks!!

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      What would we do without the Holy Spirit to help us great through all these situations in our lives!

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      He is with us, even when we are the ones who caused the problem. He has mercy for us and we can have mercy for us as well!

  2. I love all your stories and many I can relate to!

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      I hope they are encouraging to you, Sarah, as we are all growing in our relationship with God and living in the truth of who He has made us to be … His own!

  3. Praise God for this step of growth in you, and thank you for sharing it with us. I struggle with that inner critic, too.

    Last year, as I was watching “Jeopardy James,” the latest game show phenomenon, I realized that I needed to be more like him. Part of his secret is that he’s completely comfortable with both winning and losing, both succeeding and failing. I’m not.

    As a professional gambler, James knows how the system works. The odds are always against him. He will fail frequently. And yet he’s completely comfortable with that system, and he makes a good living within it.

    How comfortable am I with the way God’s system works? Don’t I have an even better foundation for facing my successes and failures than James does?

    He works within an impersonal system that’s stacked against him. I live and breathe and move in the presence of a living God who loves me and wants the best for me. Every hair on my head is numbered (Luke 12:7). He works in all things in my life for His glory and for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). (Adapted from my blog at

    That means that He even works for good in my failures, just as He used your failure to grow your ability to extend grace to yourself. I don’t know if we can fully grasp this within our lifetimes, but it’s encouraging to see the progress in myself and in other Christians like you.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      So good, Ann! With the power of the Holy Spirit working in us, we can keep growing, moving forward, even when doing so is uncomfortable.

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