June 12, 2018

Failure. It is a word that has been plaguing me. I feel that I am not alone in this. My heart wanted to reach out to you. To see if you can relate. To tell you that the Lord sees you. His face shines upon you. To encourage not only you, but myself, with his word. 

There are so many seasons of life that are hard. They are weighty. We can collapse under the burden, if we are not careful. It seems that life is pulling in all directions. Everywhere I turn, I see more that I could be doing, or that what I am doing better I could be doing better.. Life and people are so quick to remind me when I do not measure up. Right now, it is my family. I have lost my job, due to my mental health and transitioned to a stay at home mom. This has been so hard. I feel like I should have been able to handle it all. The death of my brother, a fourth baby, post partum psychosis, and work. It didn’t work out that way. The Lord took my job from me, because he knew better than I did. I miss it, however, I was good at it. I showed up to work on time, performed well, served my patients. They gave me positive feedback, others told me they were impressed with my profession, my bosses even encouraged me. I felt I had purpose.

When I got sick, it felt like everything was stripped away, and I was in chaos. I was loosing grip on all that I held dear. My standards for my success were torn back. I was left with myself, and Christ. Overtime, I have let what I deem as failures define me. It is overwhelming. I was even creating lies in my own mind about ways I had failed. They were not from the Lord, they were not from those around me. They were from the enemy in my mind. This sense of loss of self began to over take me.

It all came to a head this past week. I had gotten up early to get everything ready for my day. I prepared in advance, my list of things to accomplish. I rolled out of bed and got going. The plan was to get dinner in the crock-pot, get things packed for three of my kids to go to an water park, get the house straightened for friends coming for dinner, and get out the door to meet friends on time at the water park. As soon as I woke up, my daughter was complaining. She was going to theater camp and would be missing the day at the water park. She told me how horrible I was that I would be going without her. I felt defeated. I felt like I was trying to me her needs and my boys needs and no one was happy. Then, my sweet husband decided to go into work late. He wanted to spend one on one time with me. This hadn’t been in my plan. After shifting some things around, I could give him all of five minutes. He told me how hurt he was that I couldn’t just stop all that I was doing and be with him. This is a legitimate request, but I just couldn’t do it. I was trying to meet my friends at the water park on time and get Caroline to camp. I broke down. Everyone in my immediate circle was unhappy with me. I, honestly, was most unhappy with myself. I was exerting all of this energy for people that weren’t satisfied. My husband saw my hurt, and corrected my feelings. He said he didn’t see me as a failure, but it was too late. The enemy planted that lie, that lie I already believed and it was growing at a rapid rate. I was a failure. I believed it, I embraced it.

I got in the car and put on a podcast to fill my heart with some truth. The Lord spoke to me in that moment. He revealed that I was embracing the title of failure. I wore it on myself like a large “F” that everyone could see. However, that is not how he saw me. He saw me with an “R,” redeemed.  As I contemplated that I needed to write a  post about women feeling like failures, he drew me to John 8.

“but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

This woman was dragged in front of Jesus condemned by the world. She was wearing the failure on her chest like a badge. She saw the people waiting in the wings to tell her what a failure she was. That she was undeserving of love, that she hadn’t earned it. But then Jesus, saw her brokenness and pain and responded with grace. He saw the brokenness of the accusers. They were all wearing the letter “F.” None was perfect. However, despite their imperfection, the weren’t condemned. They were justified by their faith. That is how the Savior sees us. That is how he sees me. The world wants to label me as a failure, for me to live under that burden, but Christ wants me to be free. He wants me to walk upright as a child of the True King. He came to set me free from condemnation, not to embrace it. 

If you are wearing the badge of failure, let me remind you today that Christ sees you as free. You are justified and redeemed. Your best is enough because Christ fills in the gaps. We do not have to walk this path alone. Our worth is not determined by our actions but by the redemption of our hearts. Walk upright today. Stand uncondemned. Let those around you that want to cast stones fall away until you are standing before the King of the Universe, fully known and fully loved. You are not a failure, you are worthy.