Tag Archives: failure

transparent

Melissa Yeager, Co-Author of awriteheart.comWhen I was a kid, maybe 5 or 6 years old, I had the keen idea of writing on my bedroom wall with a ballpoint pen. I didn’t write a lot…just a little dime-sized scribble right at the head of my bed. So the night after I did that, my mom came up to read a book to me before I went to sleep. The whole time I “casually” covered this pen scribble with my hand so she wouldn’t see it, and I was SURE she didn’t because of the oh-so-subtle way I hid it. She didn’t say anything about it that night – score! But what was I going to do the next night? And what if she came into my room during the day when I wasn’t there? I would have to strategically place the pillows, and continue hiding the mark with my hand. I knew I couldn’t hide it forever, and I felt awful for doing it at all…So I called my mom into my room and told her what I had done. And once she knew, it was over. No more worries, and no more hiding.

At the time that seemed so big – and for a five year old I guess it kind of was. But what was in my heart is the same as the guilt I feel, or at least should feel, over sins I commit now. Only now, I’m a big girl and I don’t have to tell anyone if I don’t want to. There are flaws and sins about me that literally no one will know if I don’t confess them. And why should I?

The Bible gives us some guidelines for prayer: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication (a churchy word for asking for what we need or want)…But honestly I think the confession part goes right out the window a lot of the time, and it makes me wonder if we even think we’re really that bad. Why don’t we worry when we sin, like I worried when I wrote on the wall as a kid? Why don’t we tremble at the thought of God’s disappointment? Why don’t we run to Him for the reassurance just that He knows what we’ve done and forgives us? Why don’t we WANT Him to know every fiber of who we are? We hide, like Adam and Eve…or perhaps even worse, we don’t even acknowledge the trespass we have committed against Him and we go on with our lives ignoring our injured relationship with God. Depth and satisfaction in any relationship comes from transparency – and it’s no different with God. Confession to Him is a gift…It gives us the freedom to be known completely, to be restored in our relationship with Him, and to hide nothing.

God tells us not only to confess sin to Him, but also to each other…I think He knows that there are things we just can’t overcome on our own, and that He made us to depend on more than just ourselves. He tells us to share the darkest parts of our hearts with each other…but we usually share the best of us instead, for the sake of our image or reputation, or for our perceived protection. We tend to think that hiding what is in us somehow makes us less vulnerable, when in reality the opposite is true. Granted we can’t go telling everyone everything – that wouldn’t be wise. But our inner circle, the ones we call our very closest friends, should know who we really are so that they can come beside us when we are too weak to stand alone.

Confession and transparency lead to freedom because through them we know that we are truly known…that there is nothing to hide…that there is nothing that anyone could find out about us that we didn’t already admit out loud. And honestly, in my own life I’ve found that living a transparent life is just about the best way to show other people why I need Jesus so desperately, and why they need Him too. I need saving with every single breath, and the last thing I want to do is hide that. We live in a time and culture where people want proof of things…and one thing I can prove and reproduce an infinite number of times is the fact that I cannot possibly live up to the standard that my faith demands. My need for Christ is absolute and irrefutable.

So be known…Be known by the God you serve and by the friends you keep. Be real, and show others why salvation is so necessary. Be transparent and live in the freedom that comes with it.

[blockquote type=”center”]This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:5-9 [/blockquote]

how to beat the odds, one win at a time

Colette @ awriteheart.comI wish I knew how long the baby had been crying. I’ve been told that after a day or two the neighbors in the apartment building called the police because of the non-stop crying. When help arrived they found him and eventually put the pieces together:  A ten month old baby boy had been abandoned. After his troubled, teen parents fought, they left each other, left him and separately left the state. After five years the boy was reunited with his mother who had remarried an alcoholic man who was mean and abusive. Screaming, yelling, name calling and fighting became the norm in their home. This boy (my dad) grew up, married, had three children and began the cycle of horrible dysfunction all over again. Until, in his 20’s, he knew he must change. For the sake of everyone that he loved and for himself, he knew that he had no other choice but to change. And that’s exactly what he did.

a secret to successMy dad is now 74 and has lived a successful life in every way. He became a strong marine, a wise leader, a compassionate preacher, a black belt in karate, an amazing long distance runner and a terrific golfer. Most importantly, he became a wonderful husband and the best dad a girl could ask for. How does someone change dysfunctional behavior? How does someone with raging anger and a violent temper stop acting the only way they have ever known? How does someone succeed in life when so many odds are stacked against them?

When I asked my dad how he achieved success in life, this is what he said:

“Success isn’t measured by failures and disappointments.  Success is measured by achievement in spite of, and even because of, failures and disappointments. I never stopped learning from difficulty but instead, used them to motivate me. When I understood that I was made for more and that God had a purpose for my life, it changed everything. I never stopped working to be what God had planned for me to be. Instead of focusing on what I didn’t have and what was unfair, I focused on what I was thankful for and how good God is. I saw the hand and grace of God in every step and through every season of my life. There were many times when I thought about giving up but I didn’t”.

With a twinkle in his eye he continued, “I just never gave up!”

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Melissa @ awriteheart.comSuccess never comes easy. We have reached the 3 month anniversary of awriteheart blog – which happens to be right about when statistics say that we should be signing off for good. 99% of blogs fail in three months, and Colette and I knew the failure rate when we started. When the idea was conceived, we had GREAT plans for this AMAZING blog, and we were SURE it would succeed because we believed that God was in it. What we didn’t know was that lasting 90 days, being committed for even that seemingly short time, would take more perseverance, prayer, encouragement, and positive thinking than we realized.

Our struggles have been different…I struggle with understanding the website and its language, and I struggle a LOT with time management . I struggle with my ego and my competitiveness when I watch the stats. I struggle with writer’s block, and with finding my voice…Wow, have I struggled with that. There was a week or two when I just couldn’t finish a post and Colette had to fill in for me, which was really humbling for me.  Colette talked me through plenty of days when I felt like the fifth wheel. She encouraged me by reminding me of texts and comments we had received from readers, and of personal accounts they had shared. She showed me that there is purpose in what we are doing, and picked me up when I couldn’t see that vision.

Colette struggles to write with excellence – she struggles with expecting perfection in each sentence and each word.  She struggles with feeling let down when she doesn’t see tangible results. She struggles with putting herself out there and making herself vulnerable by sharing personal stories. There were times when I reminded her that this isn’t about perfection and that God uses even the posts that aren’t the most popular. I dug through emails, texts and comments to show her what God had done with things we had written. I encouraged her to share MORE of her personal stories, because they resonate with people.

Along the way we’ve learned to keep going despite the bumps in the road, and to celebrate the wins. We encourage each other to see the good that HAS happened instead of the good that hasn’t. We see progress not in large numbers or great statistics, but in one life story at a time – one right heart at a time.

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20141109-DSC_9603-Edit2In life and in our endeavor of blogging, success never comes easy. In any circumstance, part of success depends on deciding to celebrate the wins instead of focusing on the losses. Any story can seem unsalvageable – but the decision to see purpose in it and the desire to use every part of our lives to glorify our great God makes all the difference. So we are thankful for the difficulties…the crashed computers, the time constraints, the Facebook glitches, the writer’s block, the insecurities, and all of the other struggles that come with writing. Those difficulties have taught us more about ourselves and about the God we serve.

We are so thankful to have reached this three month milestone. We have seen the hand and grace of God in each step of our blogging journey, and because of that we continue with smiles on our faces and joy in our hearts. We are encouraged by YOU – our readers – because of the successes and insights that you’ve shared with us.  It is because of those wins that we are even more determined never to give up.

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]To God Be The Glory, Colette & Melissa[/custom_headline]

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face to the sun

Melissa @ awriteheart.comSometimes those around us let us down. Sometimes we don’t live up to what others want or need from us. And sometimes we’re just failing ourselves.

Around 11am some mornings I look at the clock and panic because of what I haven’t accomplished. I literally become anxious because I know my time is limited, and Jude has watched too much TV, and I have no dinner plan. I get angry at myself because of the waste I’ve made of the morning. And then I look back on the last few days and weeks and years and get all the more angry at what I have failed at. I haven’t changed the way I wanted to, haven’t improved the way I wanted to, haven’t excelled the way I wanted to. In the past I see failed relationships, failed attempts at reconciliation, failed attempts at success, missed opportunities, and a ton of wasted time. Things look the same as they did six months ago so I get discouraged. I look at Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest, and I see just how deficient I am compared to all of the other crafty, spiritual, published, master-chef wives and moms out there. The ones who squeeze every drop of life out of every single minute have me beat.

Epic. Fail.

Or at least sometimes that’s what I feel like.

I’m not the only one – I know it. The expectations I have of myself aren’t what I produce, and that probably applies to all of us on some level. But get this…please get this. God loves to tell His story through the things that I am the least proud of. He loves to take the expectations I had and replace them with what He wants for me – something better than what I so thoughtfully planned.

We have plenty of examples of how Jesus uses the least of men to tell His story in the grandest ways. Peter in particular comes to mind…Peter was a friend of Jesus’, who sat with Him and ate with Him and walked on water with Him, but then abandoned Him. He hid like a coward. But when Christ rose from the dead and Peter saw Him, he became a different man – bold, faithful, unashamed, and unstoppable. We think of him as an author and an apostle, a leader, and a martyr. But who was he in that horrible moment when he denied knowing his Lord and his friend? He was three times a failure. Who knows what Peter thought of himself after he denied Christ…I can imagine he was reliving that moment, wishing he were a stronger man and a better man – just like we look back and wish things out of our own pasts.

This changes everything.

Doesn’t it change everything to know that God uses the worst of our lives for His glory? It changes the way we view ourselves to know that even at our lowest, He can turn it around. It changes the way we see the future to know that even if we blow it, He can use it. Even if circumstances don’t allow us to get to the place we wanted to go, He can take us to places we never imagined.

[pullquote type=”right”]If I give Him every failure, for each one He will give me back another story to tell of His amazing grace.[/pullquote]My first marriage ended – a big, unexpected, ugly fail. But the day it was officially over, I remember walking outside into the June breeze, face to the sun. I breathed deep and thanked God for a new day. My life wasn’t over, and I knew that the story of how Christ saved me – not only from sin and death but from despair and hopelessness – would be all the richer because of it. Sure enough, this piece of my life story has been one of my biggest footholds into the lives of broken people, and it has allowed me to tell God’s story in my life more times than I can remember. If I give Him every failure, for each one He will give me back another story to tell of His amazing grace. In some circles, I might be considered somewhat of an outcast…but thankfully God sees my position as a door through which His message can be delivered.

Be encouraged…

…and breathe a deep breath with the assurance that God can use whatever life you’re living. If change is what you need, then ask Him for strength. If you’re going in the wrong direction, then turn around . If you’re stuck by no fault of your own, know that He sees it. Lay your broken life at His feet and get ready for the story God’s preparing you to tell.

~Standing on the Promises, Melissa~