Oh, Sweet Girl, tomorrow you begin a new adventure and a new year in school! Daddy and I are over-the-moon excited about this year. New teacher, new friends, new things to learn and explore. And we feel incredibly grateful God trusted us to walk with you.
This summer, we prayed fervently for everyone you will meet and sit next to and share lunch with and learn from and we are grateful for the work Jesus will do in, through, and with you and all those people He gifts to you.
Of all the things I could say to you, advice we could offer, guidance on how to navigate this year, only one thought keeps running through my heart. And that is this…
I pray you fail.
Oh, my Miracle, we all fail. Some of us better than others. The ones who learn how to fail often and well discover a life of joy and abundance and gratitude. Failures thrive because they figure out they had to become failures, and a lot, to see fruit from their work.
I want you to fail at figuring out that math problem and sounding out those words and painting the picture and fail at the hula-hoop and that dance move and the violin (Jesus, be near, she’s begging for lessons).
And then I hope you try again. Don’t give up. Keep at it. Learn determination and patience because it takes a whole bunch of both to master a skill.
Sometimes, in the process, you’ll decide it’s not worth that much to you. So you simply decide you will never be a world famous hula-hooper and that’s okay too. Part of childhood is discovering what you love and what you just don’t. That’s another benefit of failing. And it’s okay.
Only, we have to keep learning math and reading and social studies. Sorry.
God’s word tells us our failures help us grow patience and build us into the people God created us to be. People who have hope in Jesus and His work in our lives. (Romans 5:3-5) (Interpretation mine)
But I don’t only want you to fail at school stuff.
I want you to fail in Kingdom ways.
I pray you fail to see the labels the world places on people. Labels like good and bad. Labels meant to tell others what to expect from them, or not to expect from them. Labels created to separate one group from another and set up walls in our hearts towards others. I hope you fail in every way to believe those labels and instead, trust in God’s word when He says all are created in His image and are worthy of His love.
I pray you fail to remember the lies kids may say about who you are. Sweet Girl, kids can be so mean. I wish it were different, but it’s not. We pray God replaces any words other might say that contradict your true identity as a child of God with His Truth. You are loved, you were uniquely created, God is good, and His word is true. God’s truths are far greater than any words kids may fling at you. Fail to let them stick.
I pray you fail to believe success in school matters more to us than Kingdom growth. The world will praise straight-A’s and reward high test scores and applaud for performances on a stage. But we, your family, we pray you fail to believe any of that is important. It is temporary. We pray you reach for eternal successes. We are more concerned about how you treat others than how many A’s come home on your report card. You were made for more than tests statistics, baby.
I pray you fail to overlook a hurting classmate, sitting alone, struggling to find their place, cracking underneath the weight of the words and actions of others. You bring Jesus and His Kingdom with you. You can bring the hurting the love and kindness and gentleness of His Kingdom. Sit with them, ask them what they like to do, share your apple slices. May you fail to miss an opportunity to bring Jesus to the different, isolated, bullied, and hurting.
I pray you fail to miss the quickening in your soul from the Comforter telling you to speak, act, give, see, love the people He has put in and around your life. You see others, Pumpkin. You feel the needs of others and it is a gift only God could have given to you. Never dismiss your gifts. May you never fail to bring a need to us or your teachers or your friends so that need can be met here on earth. Great healing occurs through Christ but sometimes, people have physical needs He uses us to meet. You have never failed to see those needs and I pray you will continue to see them clearly.
I pray you fail to view your life as not enough because the world will shout that message to everyone everywhere. Including you. See our life, our family, our neighbors, our community, our church, our teachers and classmates and caregivers as exactly what they are…our abundance, a good measure, running over, and pouring into our lives. You are enough, our life is enough, our community is enough because Jesus is more than enough.
I pray you fail to give Evil a single inch of space in your heart and instead, you chose to praise and worship and give gratitude to your Good Father and our Savior who holds every single thing together. Every classmate, desk, teacher, piece of fruit, janitor, basketball, administrator, paintbrush, nurse, computer, every thing we can touch, feel, taste, and see is solid and formed in Jesus. Fail to allow the enemy a place at the seat of your heart by refusing to participate in the woe is me’s of life. Allow thankfulness to do the work it was created to do: defeat the darkness.
Precious Girl, the biggest failure, according to this world, is Jesus. He failed to call down angel armies to rescue Him from a death on the cross. He died. And that, the worlds says, was the end. A failure.
But we know better, don’t we? We know His human, physical failure, His death, was really the Greatest Victory! His victory and our victory! He conquered death when He rose, fully-alive, fully-whole.
The world didn’t give us Jesus. God did. And, sing with me girl, “they can’t take away what the world didn’t give.” What the world sees as failures…Jesus’s death, sitting with the girl who’s label sets her apart, seeing a classmate needs new shoes or isn’t eating at lunch, caring more about loving our neighbor more than ourselves…all failures as far as the world is concerned.
But in Jesus, in the Kingdom of our Father, those are far more valuable. They are treasures you are putting in heaven.
Pumpkin, I pray you fail. And you fail bravely and kindly and fully surrendered to the biggest failure the world has ever known, Jesus.
I love you. Forever and always.