Thank you to today’s guest, author Sue Edwards! She knows all about experiencing God’s grace through failure. This post is also a giveaway! Comment below for a chance to win a copy of Sue’s new Bible study, “Galatians: Discovering Freedom in Christ Through Daily Practice.”
I learned about God’s grace through failure. And I learned that He is the God of second, third, fourth – infinite really – chances!
Discouraged by Failure
My first failure in ministry came while leading a small group in a community-wide Women’s Bible study. I’d only been a Christian three years, but I was on fire for Jesus and eager to serve Him. I was determined to be the best small group leader in the entire study, but every week, fewer and fewer women showed up.
Naïve and self-dependent, I called the women weekly, with urgent questions about their attendance. Of course, that only made things worse.
As I faced the looming reality that my first attempt at leading a small group might bomb, the enemy successfully and relentlessly whispered discouragement. As yearend drew closer, I wondered if the leadership would give me another chance. I wasn’t sure I wanted one. But when I met with the leader to discuss the possibility, she said,
“We are only called to be faithful, not successful. You have been faithful.”
This significant life lesson taught me more about God’s grace.
Too Insecure to Succeed
The second big ministry failure came several years later, after I had led several small groups that bonded and thrived. The leadership of the community Bible study asked me to take on an administrative position and I said “yes.”
One of my duties was to recruit small group leaders for the following year. But when several of the current leaders decided they could not return, I took their resignation personally. The enemy successfully and relentlessly whispered “This is about you. They don’t want to work with you.”
Obviously, I was not ready for this role.
New in faith and still insecure in heart, I crumbled under the pressure. With less than a month before the study was to kick-off, I called the leadership and resigned. My immaturity caused the leaders to scramble to replace me, amidst much angst I’m sure.
But, amazingly – and graciously – they kept me on as a leader, and continued to pour into my life to build my spiritual and emotional strength. Another example of God’s character and grace.
Now, after almost forty years of ministry, I thank God for these dear women who continued to forgive me and invest in me. My service to others builds on the shoulders of these women who mentored me in my early Christian life. They did not give up on a naïve, insecure woman who loved the Lord but failed miserably many times. Their grace reflected God’s grace to us all.
Jesus is about second chances, and third, and fourth, and fifth. I’m constantly reminded of His grace and mercy. God’s grace–what an unspeakable gift!
Oh, Lord, help us all to remember our own failures and your tender mercies, and pass it on.
Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a copy of Sue Edwards new Bible Study, “Galatians: Discovering Freedom in Christ Through Daily Practice.” The winner will be drawn Wednesday, February 14th.
Dr. Sue Edwards has over 40 years experience as a Bible teacher, overseer of several megachurch ministries, and author. Now, as Associate Professor of Educational Ministries and Leadership, she teaches full-time at Dallas Theological Seminary. She has trained women leaders in Russia, Africa, and Germany. She is the author of 5 leadership books and the Discover Together Bible study series. Galatians: Discovering Freedom in Christ Through Daily Practice is the newest in the series. Find out more about the series at www.discovertogetherseries.com