Having a failure doesn’t make you a failure!

by Barbara Wells Benton

There are few weeks that go by without someone confessing to me how they have royally messed up, how they have failed. failure

Many times these people feel condemned.   Fear grips them that the Church and God will mark them off the list, calling them disqualified.

Having a failure doesn’t make YOU a failure!

The book of James has a powerful scripture: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”  – James 5:16

James understood the need for the Church (not the building) to be a place where people who failed could come, confess, be prayed for and be healed.   Why don’t we see very much of that today?    I believe it’s because we are not always authentic in the Church.  It’s easy to yell at the top of our lungs, or post on Facebook how evil people are when they commit sexual sin, or when our country openly embraces things contrary to scripture.  Open computer – get fingers ready to tell the whole world how they are going to hell.

Don’t stop reading out of anger … keep reading.

Over these forty-seven years I have walked with God, I have failed many times:

  • During one period in my life, I stopped preaching/teaching several months because I was offended by folks in church.  That is failure.
  • During one period in my life, while married to my wonderful, godly husband, I pulled away from God, stopped listening to any worship music, and only listened to country music.  The point is not the country music; the point is why I was listening.  I was letting my heart walk away from God, while my body sat on a pew.   On the outside, I was the “holy” wife of a wonderful pastor.   On the inside I was playing games with the devil.  That is failure.
  • I have gone through periods when I was jealous of other ministries, and I let it overtake my thought life to the point of disliking the success of others.  That is failure.
  • I have carried grudges and unforgiveness for long periods.  That is failure.
  • As a leader, I have been infuriated with people who did not do things the way I wanted them done, and they got a taste of my venom.  I had to control everything! That is failure.
  • While rolling my eyes at the “terrible” sins of  others, I allowed myself to binge eat, better known as gluttony in the Bible. That is failure.

So, what do you think of Barbara Benton now?  (Rhetorical, so please don’t answer.)

Thank God I am not the woman above any more.  I have learned to receive the grace of God that says to me, “Having a failure doesn’t make me a failure.”   Because of that grace, I am simply not that woman above.  She has been changed by His grace.

One of the things that has helped me most in overcoming the mindset of failure, is that I found trusted people with whom I could talk.  I could talk openly and honestly, without fear of condemnation.  I could talk with people who weren’t ready to throw me out of the Body of Christ or out of ministry; people who genuinely prayed with me, kept in touch with me, and wanted to see me totally healed.  Thank God for healing!  Thank God for the power to overcome!

What about you?  Can God trust with the failures of other?  Can we be authentic enough to say, I’ve not walked this thing perfectly?

We desperately need authentic Christianity – the kind that says, “I have failed, but God has forgiven me and given me the strength to rise up and continue walking.”

This is one of the most vulnerable blogs I have ever written.  I, like others, still wrestle with the fear of what will others think or say about me. What impact will this have on my ministry?   Will people no longer invite me to conferences and churches?

It is essential that we have welcoming arms for those who have failed.  Oh I know, some will read this and think I’m just opening the doors to all kinds of people.  Well, yes I am.  That is what the Church is called to do.  We are called to be a place of forgiveness, restoration, love, exhortation and patience.

I am so thankful that God said to me, “Having a failure, doesn’t make YOU a failure.”

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!

img_bentonBarbara Wells Benton is a favorite speaker at Women of the Word, a Christian womens conference ministry. She teaches from real life experience and is a testimony of the life-changing power of God to turn “mourning into dancing”. She lives in Birmingham, AL with her husband, has three sons, and five grandchildren.



You are worth the wait!

by Francesca Caramante – a younger Women of the Word

So many girls get pressured into sexual relationships because they feel that if they don’t give in, they won’t be wanted anymore.  Stop right there!! You do not have to give yourself away for this “love” that you think is true.  12573124_586204564862722_3905124352086125039_n

A  lot of girls go into relationships to find a fairy tale “love” to feel wanted or beautiful.  The truth is, you will NOT feel wanted or beautiful until you realize what God’s word says…that we are made in His image.  He says that we are His.  He says “I love you.”

The truth is that until we realize that we do not need a man to be accepted, we should not be in a relationship at all.  Many girls don’t seem to realize this, so they get into relationships (usually unhealthy ones).  Guys try to get more intimate in a sexual way.  If the girl isn’t secure in herself and her relationship with God, she will eventually give in.  In the long run, she will only be hurt because no good thing comes out of going away from God’s plan.

If you have given in, it is not too late to stop and ask for forgiveness.  Tell the person you’re with that it is not right.  If he is not a Christian, then you need to realize that your values aren’t the same.   How do we get out of this though?  First of all, we need to avoid situations in which we could fall into temptation.  We can’t wait until moments before we are about to fall into sexual sin.  We must be honest in our relationships and know that God’s plan is no sex until marriage.  Also, we need to come to the understanding that we can not do this in our own strength.  We need to ask God for the strength to do the right thing, come clean, and step into His plan for us.

The devil wants to trick us into thinking sin is okay.  He will tell us lies to make us think we are even more rejected when we mess up.  Stop believing these lies!  Christ gave up his life because He LOVES you so much.  Girls, you are precious.  “Precious” means to be of great value, and something of great value should not be wasted or treated carelessly.  God says that you are PRECIOUS in His eyes.  He’s not wrong nor will He ever be wrong.  If you are stuck doing things that you feel pressured to do because you don’t want to lose the person that you think “loves” you, I encourage you to stop and take time to read about what God thinks of you.  God’s Word shows how much He loves you.  We have the privilege to go to His word when we feel hopeless or insecure.  Ladies, Jesus is the very best example of a man’s love.  Don’t let the men in this world determine your beauty.  You are God’s daughter.  You are beautiful!

FrancescaFrancesca is a young lady in her teens, and is growing into a beautiful Christian woman. She is part of the generation Women of the Word is praying for and seeking to reach more and more! Together we can transform the culture and advance God’s Kingdom purposes across generations!

Preaching to the choir

by Fathima P. Torres, a dear sister and friend of Women of the Word.

A few months ago my youngest son called to check on me about a meeting I attended earlier that day. Yes, from time to time my kids check on me, actually more often than they should as if I am the child and they are the parents. They are too much but I Fa - Bio Picwouldn’t change anything about the way they care. Anyway, I shared with him the details of the meeting, what was discussed and the possibility of engaging into a commitment for the benefit of those that the organization serves. Marcelo, as always, paid attention to everything I shared. When we were about to end the conversation he said “Ma, I am happy if you are happy but, remember your purpose. This sounds to me like you would be preaching to the choir.”

How often do you preach to the choir? In case you are not familiar with the term, ‘preaching to the choir’ means that you are trying to make believers out of people who already believe, or convince people who are already convinced.

In Mark 16:15 we read about the Lord telling the disciples to go into the world and preach the Gospel to all creation. This is not a request, it is a command. It is something that all of us are told to do.

Unfortunately, for one reason or another, many think that this is a duty exclusive to Pastors, Preachers or someone appointed by the leadership of our church.  However, the command was given to everyone that believes in the Lord. Therefore, it was also given to us and it is not exclusive to anyone or any group.

Going to our place of fellowship (church) is a good thing, especially if you attend a bible based church. Hebrew 10:25 says “not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Coming together to fellowship is indeed an important thing to do. Equally important is what the previous verse says “and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.”

As we come together to fellowship, we need to keep in mind the importance of stimulating each other. Such stimulation should be for us to love and do good for the sake of others. Part of the problem is when we think about “others” we think everyone in the church already believes the Gospel and so we think we are “preaching to the choir” and don’t do it.

Let’s be mindful when we fellowship that within the audience there may be believers and non-believers; let’s make sure that we know how both groups (believers and non-believers) need to be fed spiritually speaking. The believers need to continue growing in their knowledge about our Lord; we need to stimulate and motivate brothers and sisters to continue seeking for the Lord and through Him they would be better equipped to love and to do good. But, when it comes the non-believers, we must preach the Gospel; the Good News of our Father; teach them the basics of the bible; teach them how to pray; how to accept the message of unconditional love that the Lord has for His children. In doing so we equip them to distinguish the difference between the believers and non-believers doing this in a non-judgemental way. It is only then that we avoid preaching to the choir but instead, stimulate some and proclaim the Good News to others.

Why I love Women of the Word Outside my place of fellowship WOW has become my platform to get fed, encouraged, lifted and motivated to continue doing what I am doing for the sake of the Kingdom.  I keep telling my friends that every woman should have at least one WOW experience.  I can’t wait until the next Christian womens conference or retreat.

Bio: Fathima P Torres is the founder of Wear Your Crown Ministry and the Chief Operating Officer for the largest service provider in the US to victims of domestic/human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.  She lives in NYC, mother of 2 young adults and member of New Life Fellowship Church.