Some people look at me as an expert in horticulture. I’ve even been pointed out in a crowd as a “master gardener.” I’m not one. It’s not just because I haven’t completed all the requirements for certification by the local Master Gardener course, but because I have really racked up so many failures.
The fact is, I have lost more plants than some people have ever grown. This year it was my Sea Holly, my new Jack Frost Brunnera, and some heucheras that bit the dust. My prized Georgea Peach heuchera had to be moved during the summer, and it didn’t make it through the transplanting process alive.
The other volunteer help isn’t any better. My husband accidentally broke off a “Fireworks” Clematis over the summer, and then pulled out a “Red Dragon” Persicaria.
This loss is all done in the name of constructive gardening! While tending to the whole yard, a few individual plants don’t make it.
This is true in life. We win some, we lose some.
Our lives are often filled with failure. The more we do, the more we fail. This is only natural. People who take less risks by attempting less in life will have more goals unreached than those who dare to try.
You’ve heard the term, “Failing toward success?” Well, I’ve got the first part mastered.
I didn’t get the dream job that I applied for, despite the happy feeling after the third interview.
The garden didn’t produce enough tomatoes to preserve some for winter.
I don’t have a set of flatware that matches, although I have been trying to shop for a bargain for several years.
My children didn’t turn out exactly the way I thought I was carefully molding them.
Okay, on the last one there I should have known better before I got my expectations up to an unrealistic level; I admit it!
Some disappointments are minor, such as an inadequate tomato crop. Others are crushing in magnitude; we reel and stagger from them. It’s not as easy as saying, “Well, that one didn’t work out.”
What can we do when these misfortunes overtake us?
“Just as it is written, for your sake we are being put to death all day long. We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered, but in all the things we overwhelmingly conquer through him who loved us” (Romans 8:36-37, NASB).
It may feel as if our mounting failures are causing us to lose the bigger battle, but that’s just an illusion. God is on our side, especially for the long haul. Obstacles, mishaps, and our own inadequacies will result in failure time and again; of that we can be excruciatingly certain.
However, it is all part of the bigger picture, the grander plan. My gardens are still a delight to the visitors in spite of my mistakes. Our heavenly Father still takes joy in our lives even though we fail him often.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38, 39).