When at First You Don't Succeed …

by J. Randal Matheny
Today, I’m telling one on my wife, with her permission.
Some years back, after long encouragement from me, Vicki accepted an invitation to speak at a women’s retreat here in Brazil. She was comfortable with children’s classes, one-on-one, and small groups. She did not like the idea of speaking to large audiences.
At my encouragement, however, she took on the challenge.
She was not happy with the results. She came home and said, “You’re the public speaker in this family. Never again will I do this!”
I kept quiet.
Months later, believing that she shouldn’t close any door that the Lord presented to her, Vicki prayed that, if he wanted to use her in public teaching, he would send invitations to speak.
The invitations started pouring in.
First, to a small church’s ladies’s day. Then, to a large church’s ladies’ day. Later, to the largest women’s retreat in the country.
And the phone continued to ring with more invitations.
This weekend she returned by invitation to speak at the same retreat where she had her first, negative experience. She felt especially challenged, remembering the negative feelings after that unpleasant experience.
But she faced the 140 women on Sunday and spoke for 45 minutes on her assigned topic.
Afterwards, she received two invitations to repeat her message and two queries about possible dates.
In spite of a rough start, Vicki learned from the experience, left herself open to new areas of service, and persevered when he placed opportunities before her, to quickly become a sought-after speaker on spiritual and biblical themes.
Others recognized in her what I already knew, that she had much wisdom and a captivating manner to offer to many women.
Here’s the lesson in this story.
Don’t conclude, after an initial fumble, that you are not called to a certain service. Persevere, pick yourself up, and try again. Ask why it didn’t work the first time, find someone to give you a hand on your second try. Put the matter in the Lord’s hands. And go again, if he opens doors for you.
You may just be the blessing that someone needs.


An initial stumble may not be a sign to give up pursuing a new area of service.

One thought on “When at First You Don't Succeed …

  1. Terrific article. I have often been encouraged to continue the Ezine I do even when I don’t believe I write that well. Thanks again for the great lesson.

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