“You’re the best, Mom.”

The relief in my young son’s voice was completely disarming to me as cleaned up yet another “accident.” I was a lot of things at that particular moment – angry, impatient, irritated – but I was not the best. Not by a long shot.

It’s so discouraging to do the same tasks over and over again and see the same failed results. I clean up mess after mess, and yet he just keeps making them. No matter what I do, no matter how effectively I teach or how many clever Pinterest ideas I try, the messes just keep happening.

Again.

And again.

And again. And again. And again.

And sometimes, I just want to pull my hair out. Sometimes, I just want to scream and cry and yell and run away – so very, very far away. Maybe to Tahiti. Or at least some sunny beach somewhere, where the sticky fingers and the squeaky voices and the giant messes can’t find me. Where I can just be. Where I can just breathe and rest and relax. (At least for a few minutes, until homesickness inevitably sets in and I miss these miniature mess-makers of mine.)

Washington state beach

It’s not Tahiti, but it’s good enough for me!

But when that sweet little voice proclaimed I was “the best,” it felt more like a conviction than a compliment.

My pity party came to a screeching halt as I suddenly remembered kneeling beside my bed and apologizing to my Heavenly Father because once again, I’d made a mess of things. Once again, I’d fallen short of His expectations and mine. Once again, I’d made the same stupid mistake. I had felt so foolish. Again. And I had needed His mercy and forgiveness. Again. And I desperately plead for His help to clean up the aftermath of my mistake. Again.

The anger and frustration I felt toward my son melted away as I realized that we were so very similar.

Sometimes, his little ability just isn’t quite enough to solve his problems. Sometimes, he needs help from someone taller, stronger, smarter. And so he relies on me.

And sometimes, my ability isn’t enough to solve my problems. Sometimes, I need help from Someone who can see the big picture, who understands the struggles and the trials that I am going through and who can help me clean up my messes. In fact, my needs are almost constant… and so, I rely on Him.

And He responds to me with mercy, grace, love and unfailingly patience. Every. Single. Time. Yesterday. Today. Forever. Always.

Because He is The Best. The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Almighty God. He knows all, sees all and can do all things… and yet He cares for me enough to listen to me, to love me and forgive me and protect me and bless me. He opens His arms with an offering of forgiveness and hope, kindness and love, mercy and charity.

I want to be more like that.

So, today, I return and recommit to loving a little better and being a little kinder. To practicing patience and giving grace. To respond instead of react. And to choose compassion and offer forgiveness always.

For him.

And for myself.

Because we all fall short sometimes.