. . . content in the impossibles . . .

I was terrified. One of my greatest fears is failing. Being disappointed in ‘me’.

So when a friend artist invited me to attend a painting class last weekend, I laughed, “I cannot draw a straight line. I drew stick people and little chickens for my children for years. That’s the extent of my creative drawing ability.”

She insisted, “You will have fun; I know you can do this.”

Inwardly, I cried, no, no. You don’t understand. I can’t handle more failure.  I will disappoint you and me. Why should I put myself in a position to fail. . . I need to stay safe. I was firm in my arguments to her.

She smiled, looking a bit stubborn, “I will not let you fail.”

Me, not fail. Now, that’s impossible. At this time in my life when I feel a failure in many areas, why, indeed, would I invite another one? Why would I intentionally add another  failure to that growing heap?

Fragments of happier days lived with a sense of worth and purpose shatter around me like dry leaves. The brokenness of our family colors most days black, a dark midnight black; it screams of my failure as a mother. I can’t even write a weekly blog. No, no, I will not add another defeat to that list.

BUT. . . I went.  Anticipating defeat.

Why?  Maybe there was a slight hope that I could do something I never imagined possible. No. I went simply because of Joyce’s words to me, “I will not let you fail.”



I compare my first canvas painting to life at the moment. I believed totally it was impossible for me to have accomplished anything recognizable! I learned something through this. Which is really what life’s experiences are about.  Right? I did something I thought impossible. How completely freeing on this journey. I was overjoyed.  I realized an enormous victory!

Isn’t this what Jesus whispers to me, to you, “I will not let you fail. I am with you. I will never let you go. . .” Countless promises.  I read the words of hope, while negating each one with doubt. I had even  forgotten my life verse these past months: “I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He who began a good work in me will continue and continue until the day of His return—developing that good work, perfecting and bringing it to full completion in me.” Philippians 1:6 Amplified.

God is looking for those with whom He can do the impossible—what a pity that we plan only the things that we can do ourselves.  A.W. Tozer

Surely there are failures in life.  It is how we see and use them that matters.  Charles Krauthammer, physician, columnist and news contributor, paralyzed from his waist down for all of his adult life never let the impossible stop him.  He is a great example that any of us can accomplish the possible, even when many impossibles surround us.

A fear of failure paralyzes me. Maybe you. Fear blinds one to new possibilities.  I needed this Snowman!  I learned NOT that “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13. This verse is often misused. It is a Greek idiom that means being content in any and every circumstance, not that I, nor you, can do those feats we are not gifted or equipped to do.  Paul is in prison as he writes this, and he affirms he can be content  because the Lord has promised to give him the strength he needs for whatever is before him. God will sustain him in the failures and heartbreaks of life.

This snowman whispered, “Barb, take your eyes off your failures. Embrace the goodness in life for the many, many possibilities in front of you. The secret is in being confident that the Lord gives strength for the journey NOW . . .”

. . .painting contentedly. . .






About oct17

The little girl in me loves bird watching, butterflies, sunrises, sunsets, walks in the rain; the adult I am enjoys the same. I sense God's awesomeness in all of life--what wonder there is in slicing a leek or cutting open a pomegranate. I have many favorite things--a formation of Canadian geese flying overhead, the giggles of my grand daughters, the first ripe watermelon in summer, snowflakes on my face--these gifts from my heavenly Father delight me continually.
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8 Responses to . . . content in the impossibles . . .

  1. Nora Johnson says:

    Dearest Barb,

    I thank you, but more so, I thank God for the friend who pushed you and gave you the encouragement to listen to the voice that God gave her, to say the words: I WILL NOT LET YOU FAIL!

    The tears in my eyes this moment exposes how much i care for you to come up for air, and breathe in all that God has waiting for you to embrace. He is saying, in other words, ‘go where i send you. I will guide you, and lift you up when you stumble’.

    The same words you have been saying to yourself, i am saying to myself, as the notes pile up for the book i promised my son, but the never get to the point of commitment to the computer to be sent to print. My latest excuse is: I don’t know how to write conversation. Only describe. Afraid to fail.

    Meanwhile, the stories about life here and now, keep piling up, but fearful of the present and future of the persons i want to write about, i don’t even commit those notes to paper.

    At my training center, i have become acquainted with a younger woman who is crippled, but with a smile like sunshine. We advanced to greeting, teasing each other about our attempts to walk and move better, and suffer less, by joking about it. And then to exchanging telephone numbers, and to writing fun text messages. Only to find out that she a ‘ghost writer’! Has God brought us together? Will she be the one who will push me, and not let me fail? I pray so.

    You have now encouraged me, as i go through a bad time with family problems, and loneliness incurred by these problems. I am on the waiting list for surgery to remove my gallbladder, hopefully to relieve me of some of the discomfort under the right ribcage, and the back pain in the same area.. Is it the increasing scoliosis that generates more discomfort, as i become more bent over? I was offered a choice: the possibilty of 70-80 % decrease in discomfort if the gallblader is removed. i accepted the percentages last Tues.,with David as ‘second pair of ears’, after a gastroscopy and a CT Scan. Now i wait for space.

    I have seemed lost and have lost contact with most friends over these last months. I am absorbed with world news, and praying for world leaders, and the disasters, and the millions of homeless, and the death from starvation.

    Even the inhabitants of the sea are coming ashore to die. A ten meter whale died in the harbor of Hobro, a Danish seaside, on Friday. Today this incredible sea animal was dissected and given to different scientific groups who are interested in studying its body parts and what is in its stomach, and to find the cause of death. But what group is trying to find a way to stop endless Wars and save the children.?

    Sorry, i stop here and apologize for getting carried away by my anger and helplessness. I am poor. I cannot give more and survive myself. Living on the edge, and praying for God’s provisions, so i can provide more.. I know that God know my predicament and my longing.

    My beloved sister, please don’t worry about me. I am blessed, in spite of all the anger and discomfort. It just makes me fight harder to keep going.

    My love to you and Tom. One question: why have you not put the candle holders on the side, so one can see the incredibly beautiful bottom?, just curious. I like the inside designs in wood. But i also like candle light which is so lovely just now in the early darkness. So actually you gave me two choices: to enjoy the candlelight in this season and to enjoy the wood’s design when i turn turn your gift on it’s side when days are long again. Thank you both again for your lovely gift.

    God bless you and family, and give you a joyful Advent season as we celebrate the coming birthday of Our Lord. FiBC is well underway, if you have looked at FB the last couple of weeks

    Sista Nora

    Benjamin Soon 1yr.and Victor soon 3. Sadly, i have never been able to pick them up, or get down to play, so when i get a seldom visit, i tidy Cindy’s dining area, and cook dinner, and help Allan with cleanup while she gets the children ready for bed. Victor loves books and music and drawing. Benjamin just loves hanging on, or following Mama everywhere she goes. Victor calls me Oldermor. And loves my chicken and gravy. So for awhile i was only known as Oldemor Kylling. Makes me happy to worthy of something.

    tir. 11. dec. 2018 19.57 skrev a journey to now :

    > oct17 posted: “I was terrified. One of my greatest fears is failing. Being > disappointed in ‘me’. So when a friend artist invited me to attend a > painting class last weekend, I laughed, “I cannot draw a straight line. I > drew stick people and little chickens for my childr” >


  2. Joan Hester says:

    Beautifully written…hope to be able to plan something with you soon. Joan


  3. wesleawesleawritescom says:

    I needed this one…


  4. Nancy says:

    Your big sister can paint why couldn’t you? Except with these tremors I can’t any more.


  5. Teresa Williams says:

    Barbara you are awesome. I needed this message now! God has used you so for His glory!
    Merry Christmas to you and Tom and your family


  6. My dearest mother, YOU did not fail as a mother. Well, I guess we ALL fail really. We just do the best we can. I love this and I LOVE your snowman…you have always inspired me and you inspire me still. I too have same.struggles. I love you more than you know!


  7. Mary says:

    So true, so true. You never show your fears, Barb, only confidence. (how do you draw a stick chicken.) 🙂


  8. Lori Harvey says:

    Thanks for the writing. I sure needed to hear this. I seem to be at wits end and always disappointed in what I have not done. The list is huge. I think it’s a trap from the Devil himself. I am a bad friend – to busy. a bad wife – to busy a bad employee – to busy a bad mother – to busy generally just a failure to God. – to busy After reading this. I remembered I found time to pick blue berries, I found time to take my friend shopping for her husbands Christmas I found time for church on Sunday I found time to praise God every day I found time tell my husband I loved him and being with him. Maybe I am not a complete failure either. Love the snow man

    On Tue, Dec 11, 2018 at 1:57 PM a journey to now wrote:

    > oct17 posted: “I was terrified. One of my greatest fears is failing. Being > disappointed in ‘me’. So when a friend artist invited me to attend a > painting class last weekend, I laughed, “I cannot draw a straight line. I > drew stick people and little chickens for my childr” >


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