Faith, Lifestyle

Failing forward

If there is one thing I really dislike, it is losing face in front of others. I am a firm believer in go big or go home; I like to dream big, bold dreams and put them ‘out there’ for all to see. This brings a certain level of accountability on my part, and also makes me stretch my faith. But it also means that if I don’t achieve the dream or see the miracle happen then the world and his wife have a front row seat.

There have been a few ‘failures’ over the past few years. I haven’t reached the goals I wanted to in my business, I didn’t get the job that I thought was ‘mine’, I didn’t continue homeschooling past 12 months and I didn’t move in to my new house by the time frame I expected. The galling thing for me is that with all of these things, I felt called by God into each and every one of them. And I told the world that.

Does that mean that God let me down? Does that mean that I didn’t hear from God in the first place? I don’t think it means any of these things. I think God has called me to each and every business venture, job application, educational experience and relocation for reason. Let me explain…

In 2017, a much wanted little girl came into our lives and my mental health came crashing down. As a family we were very much in the trenches, fighting for our faith, our marriage and our kids. We lost so much, but Jesus kept us together and kept us strong. It was during my illness that I discovered the power of aromatherapy and my business was born out of awe, wonder and my love of science as I shared what I learned. Essential oils played a huge part in my recovery and continue to support our health and wellness.

By Autumn 2018, my health was vastly improved and I was excited about a glittering future in my business, however it was at this point that God challenged me about home schooling my children. Believe me, this was never part of my plan… but God kept challenging me and as I prayed into it I felt that He truly wanted me to do this. We discussed it as a family and in March 2019 we pulled out children out of mainstream school.

The business took a backseat, but what a year we had! We basked in our new found freedom and found kindred spirits who will be life long friends, yet I felt stifled and at times overwhelmed being with my children 24/7. Yet another venture that wasn’t panning out as I thought it would… I began to consider whether homeschooling was for us, and whether both my children and I needed something ‘more’. We had committed to giving it a year and then reviewing the decision.

In December 2019, I felt compelled to apply for a part time role. This didn’t sit with my business/home school plans either! Surely I had enough on my plate with a wellness business, aromatherapy diploma underway and being a full time homeschooling mama to three? The job was a ministry role which I felt was perfect and would enable me to use my skills in pastoral care, networking and leadership to further God’s Kingdom. I felt that God was leading me to this role, yet despite being shortlisted to the last two, I was unsuccessful.

Fast forward to March 2020. We had made the decision to put the children back into school, only for them to come back home again after two short weeks (thanks coronavirus!) What in the world? I felt like everything was crashing down, my plans were going out of the window and I literally went to God saying what the heck? What was I meant to do now?

As we prayed during lockdown and felt that God was leading us to relocate to Wales – a dream we had had for years, but each time we pushed the door, God had always said “not now”. Now He was swinging the doors wide open.

Here is what God has shown me about the importance of every step in my journey:

After adopting our daughter, God led me to a wonderful Christian mama who became a mentor and a friend, supporting and educating me in how to support our family wellness. Without her, I would never have started this journey.

Homeschooling was never about bucking the system – it was about pressing reset as a family. It was about recovering the lost year and rediscovering each other, and who we are in Christ. It was about becoming stronger in out faith and as a family.

The slow steady growth of my business, rather than the massive growth I dreamed of kept my options open and my heart humble. It meant that my hands were ready to receive what God had in store rather than trusting in my own provision.

The job application was about obedience – saying yes to God, yes to His plans and purposes even when it seemed to be outside of our plans or time frame. It made me realise how far we had come and how I was now ready to step into the next phase of my life.

This step of obedience then prepared us for the next yes – relocating to Wales. If I had gotten the job, if I hadn’t been flexible due to home school, if I hadn’t been certain in my faith due to relying completely on God, if I hadn’t started my wellness journey and continued my personal development I wouldn’t be writing this from Wales right now.

These events were ‘failures’ to me because I didn’t set out to achieve what I wanted to achieve, but I can now see that I was failing forward into what God had planned for me. He set me up to be here, right now, and even though I continue to wait for the final hurdle allowing us to move into our new home, I can say with confidence that God has never let me down and I can trust Him with this too.

If you have something you need to trust God for, can I encourage you with this:

I wait patiently for the Lord. I expectantly wait, and in His Word do I hope – Psalms 130:5

Hold on friend, He’s got you.

R x

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Faith

God is faithful in our failures

So I am supposed to be working but my heart is so full and my mind is racing after an amazing morning at church. Today I was invited to speak at our church and it gives me such a buzz, I can’t even tell you! As a writer, I know how to write good content, however, when you are writing down words whispered by a Holy God, that is a whole different ball game.

Just to be clear  – I am nothing ‘special’. Okay, I know that is controversial because we are all special and unique in Christ, and we were created by a loving God for a heavenly purpose. But seriously, day-to-day I am just a working mom of two, going about my ordinary everyday life like everyone else. I arrive screech up to the school gates late, sans makeup and hair scraped back in a ponytail, and usher my charges into class before slumping back at the wheel of my car, thinking; did I really go out in public looking like that? I get angry at life and throw tantrums that would make my kids proud when things don’t work out. I am impatient, I jump in with both feet when I should only be dipping my toe in the water, and the proverbial dummy is well and truly spat out when my well laid out plans disintegrate in front of my eyes. I get distracted by things of the world when I should be in devotion to my heavenly Father.

But do you know what? God is faithful even in our failures.

God will use us even when we aren’t at our best, He will be faithful even when we are not. Some of my most profound moments of witness for Jesus have been in most profound moments of pain and pouting. Some of my biggest testimonies have been off the back of my biggest tantrums, some of my most defining hours have followed my most undignifed days.

No one is perfect, least of all me, yet God so graciously pours His love and grace into my soul and whispers His words into my heart. None of us set out to mess up yet we still manage it, but my friend, never doubt that God can use you. Your biggest mess could be the biggest miracle for someone else, as God uses your experience to enable you to help others.

If God can use a murderer like Moses, an adulterer like David and a prostitute like Rahab, then He can sure use you and me to fulfill His purposes on earth and bring glory to His name. The very idea that God would speak to me, and give me a word to share with others astounds me. The fact that He would choose to use my imperfections and idiosyncrasies to illustrate His perfect love and grace is unfathomable. Yet He does so, day after day.

Have you had a tough day?  a tough week? a tough year? Are you circling the same old sins and battling the same old demons? Have you failed to quit something you should never have started or failed to start something you should never have quit? Are you tired of trying and failing?

God is saying; “My child, don’t give up.”

You have not failed, you are not on the scrap heap of life, you are not second best. God keeps no records of wrong and His mercies are new every morning. He has not forgotten you, He is working behind the scenes and He is going to use this trial for your good and His glory.

Keep going.

R

 

 

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