Anything But a Failure

Finally, brethren, whatever is true…” Philippians 4:8

MAF missionary mom Debbie Klynstra There it was in bright red letters across my forehead…FAILURE. It was written in the same bright red ink that the teachers use each day to correct my attempts at writing in my new language.

Of course, no one else could see the letters written there, but I felt the weight of them on me each day as I struggled to make my mouth form words it was unaccustomed to.

Those feelings of failure trickle down into other areas of my life, and I start to believe more lies. You’re not a good mom. You don’t do enough. Others do it better. Then I find myself just going through the motions of each day like it is a race to get through. I realize the importance of “finishing”—knowing the language of my host country—and it frustrates me to not be able to communicate at a deeper level. Though it has been eight months of language study already, my ability to put together sentences remains difficult.

MAF missionary mom Debbie KlynstraI would love to tell you that I’m at the end of this journey and share all that God has taught me, but you have caught me in the middle. Even writing about it brings up the raw emotions of failure… again. To face going to class each day, to be corrected over and over (in the kindest of ways), still wears me down.

“But God…” How I love these sweet words sprinkled throughout the Bible. But God has other plans for me, plans to draw me closer to Him through this journey. As I make time to be in his Word, He replaces the lies with these truths. You are my child. My love for you is not based on what you do. I will lead you beside still waters. And these bring a smile to my face—a smile that’s the same in any language.


  • andrea locke says:

    Loved this. I am well-acquainted with failure, in more than one area of my life. It has been heart-breaking at times to mourn the loss of a cherished dream. Thanks Deb for this much-needed reality check. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. He is our Lord and our Shepherd. And our Daddy.

  • Tracy Russell says:

    Debbie thank you for sharing your heart. I think most of us women feel this way when faced with new challenges. I can only think that it is God’s way of showing us the importance of communication. Imagine how all the people from the various tribes and nations feel when they try to understand what we are saying to them! I know you will succeed and your efforts will be greatly blessed. Love and miss you!

  • Ludmilla Haskell says:

    Debbie…..this was very well said. Thank you! It so hits home for me as I am the mom of missionaries and as they learn this new language, I strangely feel less than. I could never learn a new language, I AM LESS THAN!!!You reminded me of who I am in Christ’s eyes…..He loves me…just the way I am and if He sets it before me I could do His smile of delight shines on me. Ludmilla Haskell

    • 🙂 Thanks so much for understanding…it is daily that I need to remember who I am in Him and being in His word. Your daughter is a dear friend to me and thankful to be serving with her and her family.

  • Lisa says:

    Praying for you almost every day.

  • Jenny Leo says:

    Very thoughtful post, Debbie. I, too, love those words, “But God” … Miss you tons!

  • AliciaBell says:

    Thank you for your honesty. Keep finding your hope in Him, as you work to bring hope to others. Blessings!

  • Mom & Dad says:

    Thank you for sharing that beautiful message
    Love & Hugs, Mom & Dad

  • Linda Trinidad says:

    Thanks Debbie, those words (but God) have encouraged me on many times. As I’m sure they will continue to do so as other tests arise.

  • Cheryl Merriman says:

    This was really good! So honest and heartfelt. I have been there so many times myself, believing the lies of the enemy. It encourages me to know others travel the same road and I am not alone in my struggles. God is so good and always brings us through as we turn to Him. Love you:)

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