It’s Monday! So here we are again.
Whether you greet today with great expectation or rolled out of your bed to find that your children “fixed” breakfast and now you have a lot of cleaning to do, I hope you’ll find encouragement for a few minutes right here, at “Monday’s Life Change”. Today, my friend Sara is sharing her story:
Hello, I’m Sara Edwards. For 4 years now I have run a Bible Study in my neighborhood that reaches women on all sorts of spiritual journeys. Some have a close walk with Christ, but just want some encouragement. Some have never even opened a Bible. I have one lady whose husband will not allow her to attend church, so she sneaks out to our study. It’s an amazing experience and each time we begin a new study, God blows me away.
But, before you get too impressed, there is something you need to know about me.
My ministry was built on failure.
And I count it one of the greatest most gracious gifts the Lord has ever given me.
You see, the thing is, I despise failure. Actually, I fear failure. My entire life, I have always only done things at which I know I will succeed. I still struggle with this on a daily basis. It cripples me more than people know, and has hurt my ministry, my family, and my friendships at times. I famously told my Worship Pastor that I have a Church Music degree and several years’ experience in Worship Ministry before I had kids. He was so excited, and listed about 5 things I could do. I said, “Oh, no…oh, I’m not ready for that…I mean, its been 4 years…I’m so rusty.” I offered my help, then rejected him on every level. I get reminded of that often 🙂
But, as my husband and I moved around the country, living in several houses, God continually prompted me to reach my neighbors for Christ. Each time, I had an excuse. When God moved our family to Atlanta, Georgia, I knew I could not run any longer. I was tired of being “neighborly”. I wanted to be a light. I was exhausted from the effort of fighting God. So, with total fear and trepidation, I decided to start a neighborhood Bible study.
My flyers went out, the friends and family prayed, the cookies were baked, the Bible Study was at 10am and my husband was going to call at 11:30am to see how it went.
No one came.
I sat, perched on my little red sofa, staring at the door.
During that 30 minutes, I had quite a little spiritual journey. But not what you probably think. I didn’t go through shock, denial, embarrassment, only to rally and move on.
No, I sat there, waiting for all those emotions. But they didn’t happen. In fact, I felt fantastic!!! I was pleasantly shocked! Around 10:30am, it dawned on me that God had given me a precious gift.
Because, honestly, isn’t that the thing we dread most about sharing our faith? Failure?
I failed! No one came!
…and I was alive to tell about it!
I was not ashamed, I was not embarrassed, I was not mad. I’d faced my biggest, most crippling fear and felt just fine. It’s as if I thought a big monster was under my bed, but my Heavenly Father came into my room, turned on the lights and showed me that it was all an illusion.
Want to know why?
Because, there is no failure in obedience.
Do you hear me? Say it out loud to yourself! THERE IS NO FAILURE IN OBEDIENCE.
Think about it.
Can God fail?
No! Then, if He asks you to do something and you obey Him, can YOU fail?
So what if no one came? I had obeyed!!! After YEARS of saying “no”, I said “yes”!! And it felt SO stinking good!
I wanted to run and tell everyone I knew, “NO ONE CAME! AND IT WASN’T THAT BIG OF A DEAL!”
If I wrote a book on my experience, I’d want the title to be, “NO ONE CAME!!”
I had prayed so hard in prepping for that Bible Study, that God would do “immeasurably more than (I) could ask or imagine.” And He did! I could not imagine the untold amount of freedom that could come from simply obeying without the satisfaction of seeing any results.
And now, the gift keeps on giving. I’ve heard a lot of speakers get up and share about their successes. I go away inspired, but think, “I can never be like them.” I’m not Billy Graham. I’m not Andy Stanley. And quickly return to my every day life, assuming that God has just called me to be average.
But ONLY through Sara Edward’s testimony will you find motivation through my total lack of success! The standard is so low…you can be motivated AND surpass me…kill two birds with one stone.
Don’t worry, my friends, if you totally bomb in the name of Jesus. If God asks you to do something, do it. Sure, it may not have succeeded by the world’s standard, but you can now rest your head on your pillow knowing that you obeyed God and that He never ever fails.
And He doesn’t fail.
My story is not done.
7 Months Later…
I’m minding my own business. Living life. And I get a call.
It’s a woman on my street that I barely know.
“Hey Sara, this is Melissa. You put a flyer in my mailbox a long time ago about a Bible Study. I couldn’t go and I’m sorry I never said anything to you. But since then, God has been convicting me. I have lived in this neighborhood 14 years and have never been bold with my friends. I kept thinking about that flyer. I’m scared, but I need to try and do something. Are you at all still interested in leading a Bible Study? Maybe I can help you somehow…”
The rest, as they say, is history.
God. Does. Not. Fail.