How to Thrive From Failure

trhiving, winter mushroom, photography beginner  

We rise most mornings at 5-ish. The first snooze alarm coincides with the beeping of the coffee pot, both of them annoying but necessary, and I'm usually in the kitchen with freakish hair and one eye open by the time he's pouring his mini-wheats.

It's a slow awakening, with the requisite silence of early morning.

But after I've made his millionth sandwich and he's taken his vitamins with the milk from his millionth bowl of cereal, after the lunch box is packed and the coffee and cream have mixed to the perfect color, we sit together.

It's routine, and we love it. Coffee time and the first thoughts of the day. We are fairly guaranteed that the phone won't ring and the kids won't wake and the only other one who greets us that early is the dog, waiting to go out.

So Monday, after the bowl was in the sink and both eyes were finally opened, the topic of discussion was failure. Specifically, the ways we've been failing in our parenting and our walks with the Lord and just life, in general.

This is the point in the conversation where I generally get hurt feelings. I have all the normal coping mechanisms when it comes to critique and I've probably added a few new ones to the list, namely, a dogged determination to prove you wrong by my sheer awesomeness.

But this was a different conversation with a different outcome. This was more of a here-we-are-how-do-we-get-back kind of mutual discussion. An assessment. A taking stock and evaluating the outcomes.

And the diagnosis was true. The cold, hard, and unemotional facts are that we are failing in areas.

We're dealing with people and you don't make charts evaluating successes and failures, like some business plan. But you do step back and look at fruit and relationships and you examine your days. You walk circumspectly and gain a heart of wisdom. 

You guard against being marched around by your emotions, because there's more at stake here than your ego.

And again on Monday night, again in quiet discussion but this time with several others involved, we are faced with failure. Our motives are checked by the Holy Spirit and isn't that always the best confrontation? The one that comes between us and the Comforter?

The brokenness is a hopeful-cracking and we all know that we fall short.

It shouldn't be such a shock to be faced with your own imperfection, but we often shield our Precious Selves and shy from it. We don't let it have it's perfect work in us.

But this is a different conversation with a different outcome. This is redemptive, because I'm determined to make the hard stop and look the ugly truth in the eye.

The ugly truth is that I fail daily.

The redemptive truth is that I am not doomed to string up failures for a lifetime of rotten days. It's amazing, but I'm holy and blameless in the eyes of God, and I can choose to be grounded and steadfast in Him and to be unmoved from the hope of the gospel (Col. 1:21-23).

I can take stock and pray through changes and come back to Center.

I'm thriving from this failure because of hope for something better, and thankfulness for another chance, and the knowledge that He is shaping us. All of us and each of us.


Linking up with The Better Mom, Grace Laced Mondays, Playdates with God, and Titus 2sdays.




The Value of You, Right Where You Are

Already, there is this desire to choose.
Are we born with that?  Do we come from the womb defiant at the choices made for us?
Why did God put me here?  Why am I different?  Maybe I am not supposed to be in this family, in this place.
He's seven and where did he get these questions?
The not-belonging and the longing for something else, something we know nothing about, all those thoughts started in the garden.
Adoption is not all warm-fuzzy and we never thought it would be.  Sometimes, it is such a clear picture of our life in Christ, of God choosing us and giving us family.
But truly, we have to choose that adoption for ourselves.  It's the one case where we do choose our Parent, but do we ever really get to choose our place?
He's seven and he is upset about some discipline handed out, and isn't that when we all question our place?
So he thinks he belongs somewhere else but he doesn't see the big picture.
Like the children of Israel longing for Egypt.
I tell Ethan that we couldn't hold him and love him and laugh with him while he was in India. That we're all different, with different gifts and personalities and talents, different colored skin and eyes and hair, but God has put us together and our family is perfect this way.
I give him a hug and tell him I love him, because that's what he really wants.
Do you ever question your place?
Do you possibly mistrust the God Who holds your breath, the One Who preappointed your times and the boundaries of your dwelling? (Acts 17:26)
Do you long to be somewhere bigger, better, more important or more satisfying?
Wherever you are, God is sovereign.  Whatever your struggle, rest in His handling of it.  He sees the biggest picture.
Counting all the gifts this week, some of them numbered here:
291.  Jacob enjoying the outdoors, and waking up thankful for his bedroom - the deer, the turkeys, the yellow birds at the feeder outside his window
292. our first 7-miler in 7 months
293. hot water and epsom salts, the morning after 7 miles
294. Ethan, the first child up this morning, monopolizing the one-on-one time
295. this verse:
And by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
~ Acts 13:39
296. children with eyes to see His goodness and to delight in His creation (Jacob calling me upstairs this morning to see the bird in the window, because he knows I love birds!)
297. Sisters making a picnic

When You Want to be Free

Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. - {Gal 4:7 NKJV}

We always struggle for freedom.  We fight to get out from under the law, and when we find Christ sometimes we still fight.

Fight to be better, do better, live and love better.

We struggle to make fewer mistakes so that our family will be happier.

We live as though the goal in life is to make God love us more, or make our spouse, friends, or children love us more.

What more do we want from Christ's atonement?

A pitiful, sickly, and self-centered kind of prayer and a determined effort and selfish desire to be right with God are never found in the New Testament. The fact that I am trying to be right with God is actually a sign that I am rebelling against the atonement by the Cross of Christ. I pray, “Lord, I will purify my heart if You will answer my prayer— I will walk rightly before You if You will help me.” But I cannotmake myself right with God; I cannot make my life perfect. I can only be right with God if I accept the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift. Am I humble enough to accept it? I have to surrender all my rights and demands, and cease from every self-effort. I must leave myself completely alone in His hands ~ Oswald Chambers

I cannot make myself right with God anymore than I can free myself from the bondage of sin.  Jesus paid it all and all to Him I owe.

I'm reminding myself of this constantly, and praying to show this to my kids - that we are not good but God is.  We are not good and we can't try harder or work more to become good.  There is so much tension in trying to be good.  

I just want to be His.