Have you ever had a FAIL in life?
If you see the picture of the cake, you will see one of the many FAILS I have experience in the realm of baking. That was supposed to be a red velvet cake, but since it was close to Christmas, there was no red food coloring to be found, so I substituted green, which probably wouldn’t have been so bad if I had not done something obviously wrong with the icing (never could figure it out). Of my many baking fails, some ended up actually tasting OK. This cake did not.
Baking FAILS are usually easy to overcome and re-do (unless, of course, you are in a time-crunch or a baking contest). A creative cake decorator can usually find a way to hide or repair cake disasters, leaving them, at least, tasty (and sometimes beautiful).
Our failures in life can also turn out to be beautiful things.
There are times when I am overly-joyful when a rather stressful day fixes to come to a close. The other day, I experienced a day that had job-induced stress. In retrospect, it wasn’t anything earth-shattering, but it caused me to tap into my brain a bit more than I’m used to…you know…THAT kind of stress. Actually, stress comes with the territory of my job, but on this particular day it seemed like all possible random scenarios played out instantaneously. I did make it through the day and actually managed to put out the various “fires” which occurred (unrelated, but all equally important). I reckon that is not a BAD type of stress, but still, I remember leaving work with brain hurting. Does anyone know what I’m talking about?
Sixteen years ago this month, I had a series of horrid days. My X moved out permanently in December, 1999, which left me with no income and two small children to support. The plan for 2000 was for me to stay in Texas until the end of the school year so that the kids could finish up their year in PK and Kindergarten (and we had to endure the TX waiting period for the divorce to be final…oh, and sell the house, too). My X did not, would not, and could not provide any financial support, so I had to rely on the generosity of my parents and my church family to pay the bills for the first six months in June.
My home piano lesson business and my one-day music teacher job at the kids’ school did not provide near enough income, so I decided to find employment during the time when the kids were at school. Since I lived next to Houston, jobs were quite abundant and I quickly landed a job as a courier. Even though it was fun and allowed me to set my own hours, it was definitely not enough income.
I have an Elementary Education teaching degree and had taught five years in the 90s in and around Houston. I’ll just say that, after five years of working as a special education teacher, it did not end well, and I learned that teaching was not my calling AT ALL. (For those of you who are called to be teachers, you have my utmost respect!!) Huge FAIL. In 1997, due to a series of God-events, I was able to be a stay at home mom until my X lost his job in the fall of 1999 and our marriage disintegrated. The thought of going back into a classroom turned my stomach, but it was really the only viable income option that I had, so I put on my happy face, pretended to like the profession and actually landed a job at an adaptive behavior school sometime during the end of March-ish of 1999. I don’t remember the exact date, but there were only 41 school days left that year and I figured I could do anything for 41 days.
HOW WRONG I WAS!!!
Oh…it ended even worse than the previous experiences that I had endured and, one morning after a mere 14 days, I went into the principal’s office and asked how much time was needed for me to give my notice of my departure. The reply was: Today is fine. So, I wrote out instructions as to what I was doing with the TWO STUDENTS I had been assigned (with an aid) and walked away. I would like to say that I felt horrible for quitting like that, but, honestly, I was so relieved and happy because the night before, I finally made the decision to sell the house in TX and move back to OH, because I had been waffling back and forth whether or not to try and stay or move. FAIL.
So, yeah. Sixteen years ago was not a happy time. Those 14 days were absolutely miserable and they make extremely stressful days at my current job seem like a piece of cake!
I’m not exactly sure why I shared this story with you, but I figured since The Lord laid it on my heart, someone needed to read it, in which case, I’m sharing. Sixteen years ago this month, even though the X had moved out and the stress of the separation had subsided (it was so much more peaceful without him), I was struggling through some of the deepest waters I have ever had to tread. The pain was to my absolute core and I saw no light at the end of the tunnel whatsoever. My future was uncertain and bleak.
In June 2000, the FAILURE of my marriage was final (final divorce decree). I moved back to Ohio to start a new life, not knowing what I would do or how things would turn out. The only thing I knew for certain was that teaching school was NOT in my future. No, no, and no!!! I am NOT called to that. Huge FAIL.
Yet, in the midst of the failures, God was still working. In the middle of this month, I will “celebrate” my 15th year of employment at the university doing a job that I enjoy (most days). I am able to use my teaching skills by teaching job-related workshops. And, by the way, I have also utilized the teaching skills to teach children’s Sunday School and various Bible studies, so I suppose my education was not entirely in vain.
The Lord took my failed career and my failed marriage and made something beautiful in a way that only He could have done. My failure past does not define me. God defines me.
Remember, wonderful friends, we are loved because GOD IS LOVE. It has nothing to do with who we are, what we do, what we can’t do, our accomplishments, or our failures, rather, it has EVERYTHING to do with who God is.
As I was writing this, an old Gaither song popped into my head so I thought I would share a verse:
Something beautiful, something good
All my confusion He understood
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife
But he made something beautiful of my life
I hope you have a wonderful rest-of-the week. Remember, even in your brokenness, He is still at work. He is always here. I am thankful that He never gave up on me.
You will get through this.