Ready for your second chance?

Ready for your second chance?

found in tornado debris

The story isn’t over after all.

I told you here about meeting Chasady as we dug through her tornado debris a week and a half ago. But what I didn’t tell you was the blunder I made before we said good-bye.

Here’s what happened. . . .

I felt bad we couldn’t find more of her personal belongings. I felt worse that I was leaving for my comfy home while she was going to some temporary shelter.

I said I’d like to give her a gift, one I thought was in my pocket.

But it wasn’t in my pocket, not right nor left, not front nor back. Empty, save a tube of Vaseline, my truck key, and a Kleenex.

I apologized and felt the worst yet. How could I have not been better prepared? And why did I make it worse by offering—out loud even—something I didn’t have to give?

Chasady was kind about it, and we moved on.

But my ill-preparedness stuck with me. Running into her at the trailer park again was unlikely. I’d misused my only opportunity.

I did see Chasady briefly a few days later when she dropped by the work tent to tell us she was meeting with FEMA. She was in, out, and gone.

But God specializes in donating do-overs.
It’s called grace.

And I got mine.

Last Saturday I was working again at the trailer park when I looked up to see Chasady and her cousin Rose. We hugged and she told me their living conditions were still uncertain. It was my second chance! This time I was prepared to not only give her my originally planned gift, but even more.

It still wasn’t much. But it was something: It was grace to them.

And it was grace to me, too.

It was my do-over.

It was God saying, “Watch me for second chances.” Be prepared to act and be courageous to use them when they arrive.

No matter how large or small we mess up—and will in the futureGod can redeem our deficiencies. He wants us more successful in loving each other than we do ourselves. And he’s powerful enough to make it happen if we’ll ask and receive.

If we’re not ready this time, maybe next. Just watch for it. Be prepared for your second chance.

* * *

Perhaps my story with sweet Chasady isn’t over yet? I don’t know what God has next; I pray I’m ready.

When have you been given a second chance to love better?
How have you benefited from someone else’s second chance to love you?

Please share.

51 thoughts on “Ready for your second chance?

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I agree, Joanne. Some of my most fruitful learning is after I’ve messed up and get to start new. God is definitely good; so glad he’s patient with us.

  1. Linda@Creekside

    I just had to sit with that photo. And then had to thank God, with you, for those second and third and endless graces of more chances.

    Thank you for this, Lisa. I hope you are well and are doing ok navigating this difficult time …


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I know what you mean. When I saw Matthew 7:7 on the ground, it really struck me as an important thing. I’ll probably never know who it belonged to or what it meant to them. Or what it means to others like me who stumble upon it now in the middle of the mess. But God does.

      I appreciate your concern for me personally, Linda. I do want to continue helping with this effort, but it honestly is wearing, and they’re not even my homes. So I can’t imagine those who *have* to live with. I have a choice; they don’t. 🙁

  2. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    For several years the ‘daddy’ of our dog sanctuary was a huge, mellow Rottweiler named Titan. He was beloved by all the other dogs, and had a special place in his big heart for the small and the scared.

    Titan also had a special ‘look’ for my wife. He loved her with a canine devotion that was singular.

    And then he died.

    Yesterday, a big, emaciated Rottie turned up at our door – literally.

    And you should see the canine emotion. He’s still in an outside run until we can verify his health, but the other dogs are saying “It’s him, it’s HIM!”

    And he has a special place in his big heart for the small and the frightened. They are drawn to the New Guy.

    And he loves my wife with a singular devotion, even on an acquaintance of less than 24 hours.

    I don’t pretend to know how God works.

    But sometimes I wonder.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love this story of the New Guy. Wow. I can’t pretend to know how God works either. I just know he does. And I’m grateful. I’ve got a feeling your story with this dog isn’t over either, Andrew…

  3. floyd

    No coincidences, Lisa. I think our Father is pleased with your heart, sister. You’re showing love in action, true Love that serves from the heart, not the head. I’ve had second chances that are really unending. Thanks, Lisa.

  4. Holly Barrett

    Oh, how often have I needed a 2nd chance. Not just to right the wrongs in my life, but to say something meaningful, to comfort, to love. Those times when I’ve walked away and then realized that I should have…

    Grateful for the 2nd chance you had with Chasady and for all the 2nd chances our Father gives us!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Good point, Holly. Second chances aren’t just for when we do the wrong thing, but sometimes for when we do NOthing, when we could have done SOMEthing.

  5. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! I remember your first story very well. But this is making such an impression too. What beautiful work you are doing, and so important. So important that God wanted you to have that second chance. He knew both you and Chasady needed it. What a loving Lord we have.

    It’s such a comfort to know that even when we mess up, it’s never over. No matter what we do to make it ‘wrong’ God will always find a way to make it right. Good news for me! And for you and your friend.

    Happy Mothers Day (late of course!),

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      “So important that God wanted you to have that second chance. He knew both you and Chasady needed it. What a loving Lord we have.”

      That sums it up so well, Ceil. Thank you, friend.

  6. tinuviel

    Praise God for second chances and keeping the way open for you to show His love to Chasady!! I’m so glad you are able to help in this needed, practical way. Blessed Monday to you, Lisa.

  7. Cheryl Smith

    What a wonderful post! So thankful for amazing grace and the second chances God so faithfully provides. Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving encouragement behind. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m grateful too that he honors those second chances. I’ve discovered that I often want to do so much better after I flubbed up the first time than if I’d gotten the first time “right” (if that makes sense). But I know God already knows that. So grateful for the way he orchestrates the comings and goings in our lives. And grateful for you, Mary.

  8. Joe Pote

    This post reminds me of something I’ve told each of my kids at different times in their lives…mostly when they had badly messed up…

    I tell them, “It’s never too late to start doing the right thing.”

    It’s become something of a family motto over the years. We all screw up and make mistakes. We all disobey and fall into sin. But God never runs out of grace.

    As long as we’re in this life, it is never too late to start doing the right thing.

  9. ~ linda

    “…God can redeem our deficiencies.” Yes, yes! This is a wonderful story to remind me that my foopahs can be turned around and used for God’s purposes, if only I will let that happen. Quit worrying about what may have happened or how someone took something I said and just wait upon the LORD.
    Thanks, Lisa.
    ~ linda

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I need to take your advice already in a new situation–stop dwelling on something I said or did wrong yesterday, and know that God can turn it around. He is a God of redemption. I can trust that he will work. Wait upon him. Thanks, Linda.

  10. Sheila at Longings end

    Sometimes I think that I have had so many “second chances” it’s like I am a cat with countless 9 lives!! Thanks for this post…and the perspective it challenges us to. And thank you for your caring heart in reaching out to those devastated. God bless you, Lisa.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Those “second chances” do add up, Sheila. I know I’ve had far more than I ever deserve, but I’m so grateful for them all, and am still greedy for even more. 🙂 All is grace.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Now you’ve got me singing this. 🙂 That’s a good thing. Thanks, TC.

      Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
      How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
      Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
      Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

  11. Kelli Woodford

    I love this for several reasons. One: because you let us into your blunder. And boy oh boy, can we relate. (Or perhaps I should speak for myself … 😉 ) And two: because not even the smallest act of love (cup of water given to the thirsty, etc.) goes unnoticed before our God. He knew your heart to give and made a way.

    Thank you, Lisa. Just lovely.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Kelli. I used to find it scary that God knows our hearts–it’s not always pretty in there. But now I’m thankful because I know he miraculously sees Jesus there.

      I appreciate you hosting us now on Mondays. I love this community of bloggers.

  12. Mia

    Dear Lisa
    I oftentimes think that our Lord uses our messes to work out His good. I am so glad you had another opportunity to show Jesus’ love to your friend.
    Blessings XX

  13. Jolene Underwood (@Faith_Eyes)

    Thankful for the chance to parent a new way with my younger two than I did with my older three. Much more grace. Thankful for new days and new mercies even when a chance is gone. New opportunities to love & serve well are available every day. Yes!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      If I had to do my active parenting days again, I’d probably allow for a lot more grace too. 😉 Glad you have the opportunity now. I guess future grandbabies will have to reap that reward from me. ha.

  14. Beth Herring

    I love this post! Oh, how grateful I am that God gives us those second chances at grace. I have been convicted of how often I desire grace but don’t always choose to bestow it! May I always grace as I desire to be graced!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I hear you, Beth. I know I love being a recipient of grace! Now to get better at giving it. I read somewhere just this week that we give out grace as we allow ourselves to receive it, so may we keep receiving more to give away more.

  15. Heather @40YearWanderer

    Oh Lisa! I’d be dead if it were not for second chances. Literally. So I owe God every thing. I take advantage of first and second and all chances as much as my heart can handle! I love your honesty here… because it’s filled with God sized love!!

    So glad we connected long ago on our blogs. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      We all should agree with the truth in your statement, Heather, that “I’d be dead if it were not for second chances” because none of us would be here without the extra chances we’ve been given. In little things and huge things alike!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, his love is often hard for me to fathom too, Alene. I often wonder if that’s one reason people don’t become believers: God seems too good to be true. But he’s even better than we can imagine.

      I know you’ve seen such hard things in your ministry with girls on the street, but even bigger things with how God is working through you and others to have compassionate hearts and hands to them. I’m always amazed at your stories.

  16. Barbara H.

    So glad you got a chance to see her again and give her what you wanted to. That chance may not always come with a particular person, but that awareness and what we learn from the experience can help us in future circumstances with other people as well.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Good point, Barbara–even if we don’t get a second chance with the person of the missed first chance, we can still benefit in other ways if we learn from that missed opportunity. We can probably all testify to mistakes we made with our first kids, which taught us how to better parent our 2nd child, etc.

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