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Failures That Lead to Growth


As a mom, one of the hardest things to accept is failure yet failure can lead to growth. Others are quick to point out where you are “weak.” Thankfully, it is comforting in some ways to know that others fail as well. I come from a family of failures, or at least from their point of view.


After my mother died, I read some of her writings from high school and growing up. She lived with fear and criticism most of her life. So, that is how she viewed herself. At first, as you read this, you will think, why could she not just have victory in Christ and get over her upbringing? In some ways she did.


However, her father was not a Christian and had no desire to be. Her mother suffered much verbal abuse and rarely attended church, but, then they had no car and no way to go to church. My grandfather could not read or write. In the 1930’s, they bounced from farm to farm trying to find work and a place to live. In the 1960’s they were still using an outhouse. They were always ashamed of their plight and passed that shame on to my mom.


Fast forward to meeting my dad. He loved her and took her away from that situation. As the years went by, they attended church every week. She still struggled, but slowly, they developed friends. That was hard for mom, but she kept at it, learning to entertain and cook. My Dad loved people and loved her and that helped her so much.


When my second child was born, my mom came to help. I really needed help. It had been a difficult pregnancy and Rene was a toddler. One night, she stayed up most of the night rocking the baby so I could sleep. I got up to feed and found my mom in a chair with a baby and a Bible in her hand. She seemed embarrassed and said, “You know. I have never read this.” She was actually reading a paraphrase, The Living Bible, but I did not dare tell her that. It was then that I had a revelation. She really could not read well.


I had been measuring her discipleship and the way she dealt with life in such a judgmental fashion. At that moment, I had no real idea how to deal with this information.


Why would I share something like this on a discipleship blog? I now know that as parents we will fail. We are a product of our upbringing, but we do not have to stay that way. We must become transformed by Christ. Yes, it matters how we were raised and it matters how you raise your children, but even life’s failures can become things that draw us closer to

Christ. My mom did not have the advantage of church or discipleship growing up. Mom had to learn everything on her own from social skills to how to live a Christ-like life.


She wanted my life to be different and did everything she knew how to do to point me in a different direction. What an inspiration that was for me. If she could overcome how she was raised, to help point me to Jesus, then I must fight those old sin patterns that were passed on even harder than I have before. We must think carefully about generational sins that we pass on to our children. I am so thankful for Christian mentors and teachers who helped me see that the very things that I did not like about my mom were actually lurking as sin in my own life. There have been many hours that I have prayed that those ugly generational sins would stop with me. You see discipleship of your children must begin with you. Discipleship really starts with your life and what you are passing on. Children soak up everything from what you say and do to the feelings that you portray. My prayer, now that I have entered my 70’s, is that I finish well and constantly seek to rest in who I am in Christ. Discipling must be intentional, but it is also caught. Please Lord, may my children and grandchildren “catch” from me those things that bring glory to the one who has wiped my sins clean.

Written by Kathy Sparks

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