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I love my job as the children’s pastor at my church. There are so many amazing things about getting paid to do something that you would volunteer to do anyway. It is super flexible in so many ways. And I know I am exactly where God has called me to be, which is exactly where I want to always be.

Of course, there are tough days. Difficult circumstances. And ongoing pressures. But overall, I love my job.

As we hit this time of year, the nostalgia kicks in hard. For nine years I was a classroom teacher with Charles County Public Schools. And, although that was a lifetime ago, there are things about that job that I dearly miss.

Perhaps the thing I miss the most is the fresh start.

A bright, shiny classroom.
Pristinely clean nametags on freshly scrubbed desks.
A full can of pencils, with crisp tips and fat, squishy pink erasers.
Fun posters and sayings on the walls.
Stacks of books ready to pass out.
And the anticipation of a new year.
High expectations of great things to come.

Of course, as the days and weeks wore on, the shine wore off the room.
The desks became littered with paper scraps, crayon bits and pencil shavings.
The pencil can was never again completely full.
The posters became a little dull.
And the books were shoved in desks that never quite had enough room.

But, as the classroom and all its supplies grew worn, the children grew in the opposite direction.
“Ah ha!” moments.
Personal victories over bad habits.
Conquering fears – whether they were afraid of math or the monkey bars.
Forging friendships.
And learning character lessons along the way.

Until the day would come to say goodbye.
They would never be “my” students again.
Off to the next grade, the next adventure, the next growth spurt.

I miss that rhythm.
And I miss that fresh start.

Until I realize this.
I have that.
Or rather, I can have that.
Every. Single. Day.

Jeremiah put it this way: “God’s mercies are new every morning.”
God created us to love fresh starts.
And so He created the rhythm of our days to give us a new beginning each morning.
To begin anew each day.

Was yesterday a bad day?
Perhaps my circumstances were not what I would have liked.
Perhaps I failed to conquer that one sin, that ongoing temptation.
Perhaps I spent the day nursing a bad attitude.
Or operating strictly in my own strength.
Perhaps I snapped at someone I loved.
Or perhaps I chose to give them the cold shoulder.

Yesterday is gone.
And today is a fresh start.
Because His mercies are new every morning.
Because great is His faithfulness.
Because “weeping may last for the night but joy comes in the morning”.
Because today I can choose to “set my mind on things above” rather than on the things of earth.
Because “this is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.”

My circumstances today may be exactly what they were yesterday.
That bill may still be unpaid.
Those extra pounds may still be attached.
That relationship may still be troubled.
And that child may still have a chip on his shoulder.

But I get a fresh start today.
A chance to trust God with those circumstances.
A chance to spend time with Him in prayer and His Word, bringing those circumstances to lay at His feet.
A chance to make the thousand little choices that will change my circumstances for the better.
A chance to praise God in the storm instead of focusing on the wind and waves.
A chance to forgive.
A chance to be forgiven.
A chance to love as I am loved.
A fresh start.

Because He never changes.
And His mercies are new every morning!