I have been reading the very helpful book Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund, which focuses on Jesus' heart for sinners and sufferers. This has been a very timely mercy for me because, recently, I have been struggling with feelings of failure.

That’s right, your pastor struggles with the same things you do. We may be called to shepherd, but at heart we're sheep with you in the flock and need Jesus just the same. Don't  get me wrong. I would love to be writing this from a mountain of strength, but these words come from a valley of weakness.

When I fail, I often have this sense that I cannot come to Jesus. It is not so much when I sin "big" but "little" (if there is such a distinction). It is often when I experience the recurring frustration of not being more disciplined or when I have made clear and deliberate resolutions before the Lord to spend more time in prayer or to stick to a healthy eating plan.

But then I stray, I neglect, I forget. I do not know if you can relate, but such failures can leave me feeling defeated. And it is a quiet and lonely place to be.

On a day when I was particularly low I read these words from Ortlund:
“God’s forgiving, redeeming, restoring touch reaches down into the darkest crevices of our souls, those places where we are most ashamed, most defeated…those crevices of sin are themselves the places where Christ loves us the most.”
I share this for those who need the vital and regular reminder, as I do, that Jesus knows your defeats and loves you deeply in that place. He does not love you more because you have managed to get yourself together. He loves you, forgives you, and wants to walk with you in victory and most assuredly in failure. Will you let him?