Success disguised as failure

Several years ago, my husband and I bought a business—a scrapbook store named Scrap Heads that was located in a small downtown.  I’ve always been a crafter and I strongly believe in the importance of creative expression. I had also recently begun scrapbooking, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity.  It just felt right.  In fact, I believed God was leading us to buy the store.  So, in the summer of 2005, our adventure began.  I was excited about the possibilities and discovered that I loved running a business, especially one that I was passionate about.

We continued to carry some of the original products and offer similar classes and scrapbooking opportunities to the ones that were in place when we bought the store.  We also did things to bring about change; to make it our business, and not just a continuation of the previous owner’s business.  We brought in new product lines and developed new classes.

We homeschooled our children and they helped me run the business when they weren’t doing schoolwork.  My husband helped when he could, but he was working two jobs—one full-time and one part-time.  I was confident that we would be successful.

And yet, by the world’s standards we were not.  Our store location wasn’t good for that kind of business, and I’m sure I made some wrong choices about products and marketing.  After two years, we had to close the store.

I was heartbroken and felt like a failure.  I had wanted to build a profitable business that would be around for many years—one that would allow me to continue teaching people how to find creative expression through paper crafts.  I also wanted to help people pass on their stories to future generations through scrapbooking.  Instead, we were closing our store and ending that amazing dream.

Was our adventure with Scrap Heads really a failure?  From a business perspective, yes, it was.  But how about from a spiritual or personal growth perspective?  Did anything good come from owning and running that business?

My answer to that is, “Absolutely!”

In Romans 8:28, the Apostle Paul wrote these words, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” 

I believe that God brought many good things out of our experience, even though we had to close the store.  Here are a few:

  1. We had the joy of learning and working together as a family toward a common goal.
  2. Our daughter gained confidence, blossomed in her creative pursuits, and developed strong teaching skills—all of which she uses as an adult.
  3. Our son learned some good business skills and further developed his natural entrepreneurial spirit.  As a teenager, he mowed lawns and did a variety of odd jobs, and now as an adult he recently started his own business.
  4. I believe God used my experience at Scrap Heads, to plant a seed that would grow into a passion for women’s ministry and a continued desire to teach creative expression. I have been a women’s ministry leader for 15+ years now and I still teach cardmaking classes from time to time.

I don’t know that I would have become a women’s ministry leader if I had not run a creative business that catered primarily to women—a business that taught me confidence, speaking and teaching skills, and the value of each customer and the stories they shared with me.

So, yes, our amazing God brought good out of our “failed” scrapbook store.

I have a friend named Micah, who is a first-time author.  When she began her adventure, she didn’t know much about writing, editing, or marketing a book, but she believed God was calling her to write one anyway.  So, she wrote the book and had it edited and published.  Since she didn’t have a strong marketing plan, the book hasn’t sold as many copies as she had hoped it would.

Does that mean her book is a failure?  In the traditional, worldly view, it might be.  But how about from a spiritual or personal growth perspective?  Did anything good come from the writing of that book.

I believe the answer to that is, “Absolutely!”

Micah exercised obedience to God, even when the call to write seemed frightening and outside her comfort zone.  This strengthened her trust in God and required her to rely on Him to carry out His call.  And God has used Micah’s book to change people’s lives for the better.  She has had several people tell her how much her book has meant to them.  So even though her book hasn’t reached as many people as she had hoped, Micah’s book is making a difference to the people it has reached, and that matters. 

Micah is now writing her second book. I believe that God has been, and still is, using Micah’s experience with the first book to teach her lessons that will help this next book be more “successful” and reach more people.  He is bringing good out of what some people would call a failure.

God is a good God, and He can bring good out of anything.  Don’t be afraid to step out and do what you believe is the right thing to do.  Even if you misunderstand His call, or you battle unexpected obstacles, or things don’t go the way you imagined they will, God can use it for good.  Yes, God can turn our “failures” into successes.

Be blessed.

2 thoughts on “Success disguised as failure”

  1. Although I knew about this, it was great to read your experience & know that great good has come out of your “failure”. You have become a very good leader in our church & I for one am glad to know you & call you friend.

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