Have you ever felt yourself to be a failure? I know I have. It happens most when comparing myself with others. In the eyes of the world I might also be considered a failure. After all I haven’t made any great discovery to earn the accolades of many or written a runaway bestseller or Pulitzer Prize winning novel. Yes I have written a few novels but if I compare myself with other writers I have not written near as many as some others I know. Does that mean I am a failure? Perhaps in some people’s eyes.On a financial front I haven’t earned millions, but have enough to live on and am content - most of the time. As the bible reminds us, ' Better a little with the fear of the Lord, than great wealth with turmoil,' Proverbs 15.16 or this one, 'whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless,’ Ecclesiastes 5:10.
I don’t live in a mansion but just an average though comfortable home and don’t have an expensive car or all the gadgets money can buy, not even an I-phone. So yes, in the world’s eyes maybe that constitutes failure.Then on Mother’s Day our minister spoke about parenting and its importance. He emphasised the need to trust in God and not on our own understanding, to acknowledge Him and His claim on our lives. see Proverbs 3:5-6. He urged us to remember what are some of my favourite verses, ‘Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to Him and He will do this; he will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun,’ Psalm 37: 4-6. Later verses in the same psalm remind us that though we stumble we will not fall for God upholds us with His hand. See verses 23-24.
There were lots of other verses about making God our guide in parenting as in all things. The sermon also included other practical advice about sometimes forgoing our own pleasures to spend time with our children, talking to them, reading to them, playing games and doing things with them and just taking time to enjoy them. Another tip was about disciplining when needed and not just being a ‘yes’ man or woman who gives in to their every whim and spoils them with gifts but doesn’t do the job of parenting. The talk included the importance of not only reading God's word ourselves but teaching our children God’s ways and reading God’s word together. As I listened to those things I sat there and thought how my husband and I there had done those things over the years. Not every day though we tried, but more often than not. It wasn’t always easy and certainly we had some testing moments over the years.
Now I look at the two of them as adults and see the results. They are delightful people to know and relate well to others. It is always a joy for us to spend time with them. They each saw the importance of not being unequally yoked with unbelievers and are both married to Christians. As a result they are teaching their families about God and His word, bringing them up to know and love God. I see them now enjoying their children, spending time with them, reading to them, playing games with them and yes, disciplining them when necessary but always in love. Added to this they are both committed to God and actively involved in the respective churches, teaching and nurturing through school classes and bible studies God’s ways.
When I look at them I feel somewhere along the way my husband and I with a large amount of God’s help and guidance managed to do a number of things right. In the world’s eyes it all may not count as much of an achievement. But to have an enjoyable well adjusted family, serving God and following Him, I’d rather that than all the fame and riches of the world. I wonder what you would see as your greatest achievement in life.
Streets on a Map, was published by Ark House Press. Prior to that Dale has had seven children’s books and Kaleidoscope a collection of poetry published.
Along with her husband, Dale was for a time houseparent for a family of twelve boys. She has also been a manuscript assessor and book reviewer and run creative writing classes, and written bible studies and Sunday school lessons. For several years she wrote about Christian living, marriage and home related topics More information about Dale can be found at www.daleharcombe.com or on her Write and Read with Dale blog http://www.livejournal.com/users/orangedale/