Being Confident of This

Grace for the work-in-progress woman

The Pastor’s Mulligan

on March 9, 2014

pastor's mulligan. do-over, second chance, ministry life, pastor's wife, forgiveness, grace

We woke at our usual Sunday-morning times and showered and bathed the little ones.  We ate breakfast and dressed in our Sunday-morning clothes and tied shoes and added bows to ponytails.  The morning routine was going relatively smoothly until the phone rang.

I heard my husband say, “Aw, man.”

Concerned, I called out from the next room, “What’s wrong?”

“We’re late!  I forgot it was the start of daylight savings!”

For most church-going families, this would result in either skipping Sunday School altogether or making a red-face, apologetically late entrance.

But I’m married to the Pastor.

So, forgetting to “spring forward” meant people sitting in the sanctuary, sitting and waiting on us.

At first, the perfectionist in me was sorely tempted to give in to crankiness.  Why would the Lord allow us to make such a noticeable and embarrassing mistake?!  How could we have missed daylight savings?!

Somehow, I had missed every possible reminder of the upcoming time change and was honestly clueless.  Right then and there, I decided blaming God wasn’t going to help and neither was blaming myself.  Although forgetting to change our clocks was incredibly humiliating and humbling (and it WAS), it could not have been prevented in any way.

So, when my husband, the pastor, received the call that meant we were shamefully late, I decided to let it go, to trust the Lord, knowing my own conscience was clear.  Knowing that while others might have the right to complain, we could handle it with grace.

You see, the Father’s been teaching me lately how little the approval of men matters in the larger scheme of things.  He’s been teaching me instead to look towards His Son for the approval that I seek. He’s been stretching my ideas about grace.

By the time we made it to church, wet hair and all, Sunday School was already halfway over, but we made the best of it.  I was a little afraid my husband might be chastised, but thankfully our small, country church is full of kind and gracious folks.

And wouldn’t you know the Lord had a word for us today, a word for me.

Because my husband preached on Jonah and the people of Nineveh.  He proclaimed that our God is the God of mulligans, second-chances, do-overs, try-agains.  And we, the pastor and his family, had been exceedingly, embarrassingly late to church that morning. 🙂

pastor's mulligan, second chances, forgiveness, grace, pastor's wife

Wait – it gets even better!  The very best part of God extending a mulligan to the people of Nineveh (and to those of us who trust in Him today) is that no record of previous wrongs exists. The second chance takes the place of the first, wipes it completely out of existence, as if it never, ever happened.

That argument with your husband – wiped out.  Those harsh words spoken to your children – wiped out.  The thoughts you had about that hard-to-get-along-with person – wiped out.  The extra bites of brownie you took – wiped out.  The time you wasted on frivolous things – wiped out.  The decision to ignore the Holy Spirit so you could have more “me” time – wiped out.  The worry, the coveting, the greed, the jealousy, the impatience, the lack of self-discipline, all of it – wiped out.

Sometimes we don’t realize how guilty we’ve allowed the Enemy to make us until we’re reminded of the second chance, the mulligan.  Sometimes we forget that even though life gets hard and our sin nature pulls at us so and we feel helpless, the final battle is already won,  just as we sang in our closing hymn this morning:

“Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,

And has shed His own blood for my soul.”

pastor's mulligan, grace for pastor's and pastor's wives, second chances, forgiveness

We forget that our sins have already been pardoned, mulligan-ed, wiped away:

“My sin, not in part but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more…”

And the victory that is ours to cling to will come.  It will come.  It will come, sisters.

“And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,

The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;

The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,

Even so, it is well with my soul.”

Because by the blood of the Father’s son, Jesus, we possess unlimited mulligans.

Even pastors.

Even their wives.

Psalm 103

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
3 Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
4 Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
5 Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

And in our humility, we see clearly His greatness.

Jen 🙂

*You may also find me at any of these lovely places.

12 responses to “The Pastor’s Mulligan

  1. Rebekah says:

    Wow! I always wondered what might happen if the pastor were to miss turning the clock ahead. I’m so glad that there was grace and even a special message from God just for you today! God’s great that way, full of blessings!

    • Well, I suppose what happens probably depends on the church. 🙂 And yes, God is full of blessings even when they don’t look like blessings to begin with!
      Jen 🙂

  2. Kate Megill says:

    Grace…receiving it from God (and others) and extending it can be a very humbling thing. But the joy in letting it go into His hands and just laughing can be so freeing. And I cannot tell you how many times our family has done the same thing (sometimes sitting in the church parking lot for that hour or having a great time of worship at home after we missed it!)

    Coming over from Hear It On Sunday link-up.

  3. joanneviola says:

    OK, I love this post. In the middle of a most embarrassing mistake, God was providing a living example for the sermon that would be preached from Jonah. Seriously, how amazing it that! I am thankful for gracious people in your lives! I am most grateful to have read this today. Blessings!

    • I agree – amazing! I’m not sure it even meant that much to others, but it definitely spoke to my heart. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving me some encouragement.
      Jen 🙂

  4. Visiting from Jennifer Lee’s place and I’m so glad I came by. Thanks for this!

  5. amandaconquers says:

    Oh my! Is it okay if I instantly declare you friend?! I love that you are real. I also love that you were late to church…as pastors… not because it was awesome, or un-embarrassing, because I am so grateful I am not the only one who does such things. Yes, I am a girl who is so thankful for a God who does Mulligans! Also love this truth and one I am learning lots in this season of my life: “how little the approval of men matters”
    So glad to have “met” you today, Jen.

  6. Titus2Homemaker says:

    I bet there were some folks in the sanctuary that morning who were so glad to know that they aren’t the only ones who have forgotten to change their clocks. (And seriously, how in the world can we keep up when they can’t even keep the stinkin’ date the same?! I finally got it through my head when the time changes – and then they changed the time change! 😉 )

    It sounds like you did a wonderful job remembering to major on the majors and minor on the minors. 🙂

    • It’s a work-in-progess for sure, but the last couple of years have taught me a lot about letting go and trusting the Lord with our best. 🙂 Thanks for leaving some encouragement here!
      Jen 🙂

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