Learning from Failure: The Power to Do Different

by guest poster Jennifer Slattery

(Jennifer Slattery was my first ever content editor, and I’m honored to have her contributing to the blog today! Please welcome Jennifer as she shares her true story. She writes missional fiction that delves into real, gritty topics in our modern culture.)

You’ve heard the term hangry? There’ve been times, many, when I’ve epitomized that word. Add in some exhaustion, and you’ll find my family tight-lipped and quick-stepping it the other way.

I don’t remember the tip, but I do remember it was long. I’ve got digestive issues that are well managed now but were crazy-bad at the time. I never knew how my gut would react. Eating out always felt like a game of Russian roulette. Would it give me an instant, painful, and potentially embarrassing reaction?

I’ve never been a fan of the unknowns, or embarrassing situations, so, on this particular trip, I chose to go hungry. Which wouldn’t have been bad, given the right attitude. I could’ve even turned the experience into an opportunity to fast and draw closer to my Savior.

Instead, I chose to grumble and complain.

All. Day.

My poor family.

Throughout the day, I sensed God’s gentle prodding. A steady nudge to change my attitude and focus on Him instead.

To pray.

In my tired and hungry state, to fuel up on my true, unchanging power source.

I decided to obsess on my hunger instead. As you can imagine, my attitude only got worse. Fast forward six or so hours, and we’d landed in Omaha and were heading home.

My husband glanced at me as he pulled off the freeway. “Want to stop at the grocery store to get something for dinner?”

Want seemed like a strong word, but starved as I was, and knowing our fridge was bare, I nodded, and he turned into the grocery’s parking lot.

We both expected this to be a quick in-and-out deal. I’d jump out, run in, he’d circle the lot a bit, I’d hop back in and we’d be good to go. Only problem—my purse was in the trunk, buried under all our luggage.

With a sigh, I got out and began digging under fifty pound suitcases. My purse happened to be near the very back, and by the time I found it, the woman in the car behind us was laying on her horn, hanging out her window, and cursing me.

Acting like the mature Christian I am, I turned around and said, “Can I get you a Valium.”

Some of you, probably most of you, are cringing right now. I did too. A thought soon followed: “What if she shows up at your church tomorrow? What if she sees you and decides to leave?”

That stung. And here’s the thing. I knew. I knew I was tired, hungry, and crabby. My reaction didn’t “just happen.” It’d been building all day, a day that I could have, at any time, stopped to connect with my Savior. To fuel up. In my weakness, to lean hard on His strength.

When I react, regardless of the provocation, it’s tempting to turn defensive. If she hadn’t … Or, if things had been different. But Scripture tells me I’m an ambassador for Christ. His image bearer. That the world will—or should—catch a glimpse of Him through me.

That’s a heavy responsibility to bear. But not an unmanageable one. 2 Peter 1:3 says, “His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.”

I have everything I need to live a godly life. By God’s power. The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in me. Not so I can wow the world with my spiritual greatness, but rather so that I can win the world through love.

I blew it that day. I won’t get a do-over, but I can have a do-different. The next time I feel fatigued and weak, whether from hunger or anything else, I can give myself a timeout and tap into my power source, Jesus Christ.

About Jennifer:

Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer Slattery writes for Crosswalk.com and is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She believes fiction has the power to transform lives and change the culture. Healing Love is her sixth novel, and it was birthed during a trip she and her family took to El Salvador that opened her eyes to the reality of generational poverty and sparked a love for orphans and all who’ve experienced loss.

Her deepest passion is to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she travels with her team to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer. When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at WhollyLoved.com

Her newest book:

Healing Love

Find it on Amazon

Genre: Women’s fiction with a strong romantic thread

Dual setting—Southern California, and El Salvador

A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn’t on the agenda.

Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the orphans’ eyes. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.

Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.

When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?