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  • Jill Jarrell Newsome

A Complete Failure!

After showing us a picture of his 12 year old self, Reverend Talbot Davis shared this story. “You probably can’t see the misery etched in my face, for that match made him #1 in Texas for 12 year olds and me #2. The other thing you don’t know is that that was at the start of a 15 match losing streak to Brad, and most of those matches resulted in three things: 1) he stayed #1 in Texas and 2) I cried and 3) I vowed to quit tennis...But I tell you that because my Dad was there for almost every one of those 15 matches. And it would have been SO tempting for him to echo my vow to quit….But none of that. Instead, it was this very quiet, quite resilient, “when you get older you’ll beat him and wonder how you ever lost to him.” Well guess what? Nobody beats Talbot Davis SIXTEEN TIMES IN A ROW! 15, yes, 16, absolutely not! But here’s the deal: the lessons I learned in that whole episode – which was the dominant narrative of my adolescence – have stuck. And when I’m tempted to give up, instead of get up...I remember what it is that runs in my family: You CAN’T be a complete failure when you know failure completes you.

How many times have I messed up and felt like a complete failure? How many times have I said those exact words? A lot! How many times, often due to pride, have I wanted to give up? I can think of many but as Reverend Davis said, I learned so much in those times. I can now look back and see the big picture. I can now see how God used it for my good, after all, doesn’t He want what is best for us?! Jeremiah 29: 11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” I have never studied Proverbs 24: 16 that I remember but I will not forget it! “...for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.”

Some of our failures are because we were pushed by someone else. Some of our failures are because we tripped on our own two feet and sometimes we just jump! I spent a few days thinking about this. There was a time in my life I felt like a complete failure and I carried that for many years. I might feel better saying that someone pushed me but, honestly, I just jumped into it all by myself! The day I finally surrendered, on my knees, and gave it to God, my load was a lot lighter! God had forgiven me! 1 John 1: 9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Through the years I have looked back at how God has used it all, including the bad stuff. Romans 8: 28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I am sure that is why I felt led to work with certain groups of people. That failure helped complete me because I learned through the adversity! “You CAN’T be a complete failure when you know failure completes you.

Here is where my toes were really stepped on. We need to let our children experience failures! We tend to think our role is to prevent adversity in their lives. Even with these best intentions we do so much damage! Just like us, our kids will learn from failure and struggles. I thank God for my hard times that make me grow and now I will start thanking Him for the tough times that mature my girls in Him. Why? You CAN’T be a complete failure when you know failure completes you!”

What I have really taken away from that message is that no matter how we fall, what is important is what we do next. Do I want to be a give upper or a get upper? I think of this world right now and all of the negativity that surrounds us. It would be easy for me to get down and wallow in it! But as a Christian, I know there is a better way and I have to get up! I have hope in Jesus Christ Who has already won the battle! I think back to a blog I wrote around Easter and nothing has changed! “The world is waking up after a long winter! Easter is not over because the resurrection means everything to us, we are Easter people and Hallelujah is our song!

Aren’t we glad Jesus didn’t give up in two days?


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