It was not a failure, though I thought it was at the time.

It was not a failure.

*This post does contain some affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through my site, I receive a small percentage.*

I’ve been dealing with my own feelings of failure for a while now. Have you ever felt that way? I read this story this week, and I poured tears as I contemplated my own “failure.”

There was this man. He was from out-of-town. He wanted to teach people about Jesus. That landed him in prison, and not just prison. First, he was stripped and beaten, and then they put him in prison.
He got out though.
And then you know what he said about that trip? He said, “It was not a failure.”

Public humiliation. Beaten! Imprisoned!

That was not a failure?? He was basically chased out of town. He can’t go back there.

But that man was Paul, and that town was Philippi. You can read more about that story in Acts 16:16-25 and 1 Thessalonians 2, all of chapter 2.

“You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition.”    1 Thessalonians 2:1-2

It was not a failure because they STILL did share the gospel, as they set out to do. When we tell people the good news, that Jesus loves ALL of us and wants to save and be a friend to ALL of us, we aren’t responsible for how people respond to that. That doesn’t mean be a jerk and don’t care. That means don’t be obnoxious. Share it, and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.

Public disgrace does not equal failure.

Things not ending as planned does not mean we failed.

Being physically destroyed is not failure. It’s not.

You are not a failure either. Think of your most recent failure, and then consider. What did you learn? What good came out of that?


I was reading about all of these things in Children of the Day, by Beth Moore. It takes books like these to help me understand things like Acts 16 being tied to 1 Thessalonians. Believe me, I’d never figure that out on my own. Every single Beth Moore Bible study workbook I have ever read has been a massive blessing to me.

This one is no exception. She just HAD to go and ask us what our most recent failure is. She left a little blank space for us to write about it. Ha! I got out my spiral notebook and filled up a whole PAGE.

I wrote, and I thought, and I cried, and I prayed, and in the end I was reminded.

“Though a righteous man falls 7 times, he will get up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin.”  Proverbs 24:16

Failure stings when it’s something that means the world to you. It stings like getting stung by a HIVE OF BEES  or 50 fire ants.

I set out to home school those two years with two objectives:

  1. I wanted to give them that one-on-one boost with their academics.
  2. I wanted to improve their character. No, I can’t improve it myself, but I wanted to promote it. I wanted to provide the right environment and the right tools for the boys and God to work that out.

I was not able to accomplish what I wanted, academically, and to make it worse trying to be a teacher, homemaker, blogger, and mom all at once made me MISERABLE. It was heart-breaking. Even as I write about it again, it’s like my heart is all ripped up and bleeding. I want to pound my fists to the wall and then lay my head against it and cry until there’s no water left because no matter how hard I tried, everything felt like failure.

I love these children with such intensity, I want to fix every single problem that they have, but that’s not possible, is it? The ability to fix everything was so far beyond my control.

So I failed. Or so I thought. But you know what? I did not fail. They didn’t fail either. Nothing failed. There was nothing wasted here.

In those two years, I saw their character bloom. I saw love, humility, honesty, justice, kindness, and goodness in my boys.

Caleb was saved and baptized, of his free choosing during that time at home with me. I even heard him teaching his friends about Jesus.

There was spiritual warfare waged over the souls of my children those two years, and God won.

I grew to understand the boys’ strengths and weaknesses. I came to terms with my own limitations. We emerged a different family than when we went into this.

I failed in some ways in order to learn. Sometimes we have to fall to learn, to grow, to become.

We saw it happen with my children too. We watched them overcome the kind of adversity that would have CRUSHED me at their age. I would not have handled it with the strength, dignity, and courage that I watched my son display.

That’s not actually failure is it? But it sure feels like it when you’re laying in a wad on the ground.

So no, we have not failed. We have only fallen and gotten back up again, and we too shared the gospel in the process.

All of these thoughts led me to this song, and I can’t get it out of my head. Its “fall down and get back up” message resonated with me. Yes, we are trying EVERYTHING. It’s a fun song, and my favorite line is this one:

“Birds don’t just fly. They fall down and get up.”

You’ll have to click the link below to go to YouTube to see the lyrics and hear this song. It’s worth it.

 

Ok. Your turn to answer Beth Moore’s heart-wrenching question. Failure. When did you last feel it?

“Ask yourself: Did we do the will of God as best we perceived it? Were we authentic before God and man?”    —Children of the Day, page 41, Beth Moore

And I would add, what did you learn? Then maybe it’s not such a failure after all, and even if it is, get back up again.

 

Cyber Monday Gratitude GIVEAWAY!!!!!

parentinghack

How’s everyone’s Cyber Monday going? Ours was great. We did no shopping, but I did go to my cardio aqua-therapy class!!  So fun and invigorating!

This giveaway is for two packs of fill-in-the-blank notes from Lil’ Miss Gratitude!!  One of your packs will be thank-yous, and the other pack will either be birthday cards or “Hello” cards.

The front of the cards come blank so your kids color the front, or you can also send them out uncolored! These are appropriate for ALL AGES of kids.

I colored this one!

No more tears! A solution for kids' thank you notes

My boys colored this one. Creative.

These are an awesome way to get your kids expressing gratitude, brightening someone else’s day, and all without the whining and fussing.

Here’s a sample of a completed card:

Sample of a “hello” card that we used as a thank you note.

Joshua needed to write about 12 thank you notes after his birthday party, and when he saw these fill-in-the-blank cards, he was so relieved, he ACTUALLY SAID, “Oh, phew. Thank you, Mom. Thank you so much for these. This makes it so much easier.”

Click here to learn more about Lil’ Miss Gratitude!

thanks

Giveaway rules! TWO simple ways to enter the giveaway this time.

1.) Subscribe to my newsletter. I have one going out this week! Already subscribed? No problem. That also counts. No need to subscribe again. Just click on the giveaway form below.

OR

2.) Visit Lil’ Miss Gratitude on Facebook, and  give her a “Like.” 

OR You could also do BOTH and get double entries.

I wish you could all win! Merry Christmas!!!!

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A Letter of Hope from 2003

 

a letter to war of hope from 2003

Alan and me the night he left for Iraq, 2003

This week is Veteran’s Day, and as the wife of a veteran it’s a holiday full of meaning for me. In honor of Veteran’s Day, I thought I’d share this letter that I wrote to Alan on New Year’s Eve, 2003. Alan was in Iraq, and I was living in Texas. What started out as this nightmarish, depressing event (sending my husband to war–I was all of 22 years old) had gradually turned into a year of growth and new friendships.

Did you know that we military wives have our own “battle buddies”? We do, and they were a life-saver that year. That was the year I learned that I do not enjoy teaching. I experienced the first major failure of my life when I quit that job before the year was over because it was so hard and miserable I couldn’t handle it.

I found many things I didn’t want to be. I thought I would never figure out what I DO want to be, so I headed back to graduate school, but the answers weren’t there either.

But I was never fully defeated because the Lord sustained me. He sustained me with mentors and friendships and love, and when 2003 closed, I was still full of hope. This is what I wrote to Alan:

**************************

9 months down!!!!!                             I love you!!!!!!!!

Wed.,  Dec. 31, 2003

Day 275

Wow! This is the final day of 2003. But like I read in one of your letters, it was indeed a rotten year. Good riddance, 2003! Don’t let the door hit you on your way out. One thing’s for sure. It’s a year we won’t soon forget.

 But I’m so glad it’s over. For me, 2004 brings so much hope! Much like 2002! I remember New Year’s 2002 so well, and so fondly. I KNEW big things were in store for me that year. I knew you were becoming an important part of my life. And I had a feeling my life would be forever changed. I had a feeling you were “the one.” I remember sitting on my porch, holding my little Sylvester and crying. They weren’t tears of sadness or even tears of extreme joy. I guess it was just a moment in which I was preparing myself for the future. And I was letting go of the little girl inside of me, the innocent girl about to be rescued by her prince, about to grow up.

 I didn’t know I would be getting married that year, or moving far away, or even that I’d be graduating. I knew nothing of what was in store. Yet I can CLEARLY remember that the Lord was preparing my heart.

He was preparing my heart for you. And all the wonderful things you brought into my life. No one changed my life more than you. But it was a wonderful change.

 On the flip side, 2003 was not so wonderful. It was equally eventful. Only the events of 2003 often brought grief and hard lessons to be learned. I know we have grown this year though. We do grow from trials.

 But 2004 means something much different to me than either 2002 or 2003. To me, it is a year of hope, love, and laughter. That’s because when I think about 2004, all I see is you coming home to me, and spending a year together with you. Wow! How amazing it will be! Me and you together at last!

 So from January to March. Those 3 months are the joy of anticipation. And then You. You here in my life again. I can’t wait!

 I don’t have a New Year’s resolution. But I have a New Year’s hope. It’s like the final hump in this long deployment. The halfway mark was hump 1. And the end of 2003 was hump 2 to me. 3/4 of this journey is over!

 Yes!

************

welcomehome

3 months later, I hung this sign at our very first home together. I lived by the airfield, so I got to see Alan’s ginormous cargo plane fly right over my house as it landed. I’ll never forget the elation of that day.

It was a 4 page letter, and that was the first 3 pages, and I actually did write “Yes!” that BIG at the bottom of page 3. I meant it that large. In fact, it’s actually a little bit larger. I wonder whatever happened to the fourth page.

Happy Veteran’s Day, y’all!! I’m so thankful for my veteran.

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