Thursday, December 23, 2010

You're Not A Failure

I'm going to be honest with you. I've been battling with feelings of failure. My second marriage ended this year. My son moved to WA state with his mom. I battle feelings of failure when I try to figure out how to be a father to a son that lives nearly 3,000 miles away. Even though I constantly battle against the tapes in my head that call me a failure, God is always there whispering and at times yelling to me, "Mike, you're not a failure!"

My homeless friend Norm invited me to a memorial service for homeless men and women who have died while living on the streets. After the service, Norm introduced me to someone by saying, "I'd like you to meet my dear friend Mike Ellis." It was hard not to cry when I realized that Norm considers me his friend.

After the memorial service, I went to an AA meeting. At this meeting I admitted that I'm an alcoholic and that I shouldn't drink anymore(I've been sober since Sunday). At the end of the meeting I walked up to receive my "surrender" chip. The man who handed it to me said,"Mike, you will win this war. Here is my phone number. Call me if you need help during the battle."

After the AA meeting and memorial service, my blogging and social media friend Michael Perkins called me to simply say, "Mike, I'm heading to the church for a prayer gathering. What can I pray about for you?" I shared a couple of things with Michael and then we cried together on the phone. Then he said, "Whenever you need me I'm here for you."

After years of doing a less than a lackluster job of being a father to my daughter, I'm getting a second chance. On Christmas morning I'll be with my daughter and my grandson. I sent my daughter a text last week. I thanked her for giving me a second chance at being her father. She sent me a text back that said, "You're the only father I have. Thanks for wanting to take a second chance at being my father. I love you."

As I write this post I don't feel like a failure. Why? Over and over again through the people He has placed in my life God tells me a different story.

If you're feeling like a failure God has a different story He'd like to share with you.


  1. There is no failure in God's hands, only restoration, peace, life, joy, and so on. That doesn't negate the feelings we have in this life, but it can give us hope. Nothing is impossible for Him. Thanks for blessing my life, challenging and encouraging me. Praying for you and standing with you, Mike.

    Have a wonderful Christmas. Sounds like you will.

  2. You're nowhere near a failure. Not even in the ballpark. Proud of you for the big step, Mike.

  3. Mike you seem very genuine, keep the faith. I have racked up something like 130 plus days after collecting my surrender chip, doesn't seem long to some but to me it seems a long while ago. Feel free to contact me if you ever want to hit a meeting, or just talk. I too am experiencing a separation after 18 years, have a daughter off to college and my son still by my side. It's tough but always good to talk to others that can relate.

  4. Defining failure is like trying to define "normal." No can do. Even though we are merely internet buddies, I do pray for you and your struggle. I admire your transparency and am proud of how far you've come. Nobody is a failure in Christ. I have watched too many men in my family with your same struggle not to feel like I'm right there with you. Hold fast, Mike. God's not done with you yet. Have a blessed Christmas and tell your daughter thank you for me, will you?

  5. Mike, you know that the child learning to walk never, ever falls down and hears, "What a failure! You might as well give up!" But rather, "Way to go! You took three steps that time! Okay, let's do it again."

    Pretty soon that kid is running, forgetting about all the falls of walking, even if they take some tumbles while running. The loving parent gives plenty of pointers, and may even have to give some occasional reminders, "I'm sorry you fell. But you were somewhere you shouldn't have been. I hope you won't go there again."

    Whatever the words, there's always encouragement and love in them. ALWAYS.

    You have a loving Father, Mike. I love you too. And believe it or not, I often feel like a failure myself. Way more often than I should, because I know better. But I don't ever want to reach the place where I'm not willing to learn something new—something that I'm going to keep stumbling over until I practice it some more.

    The only time you fail is when you refuse to accept help to get back up.

  6. I needed to read this today. Been feeling like a failure myself. I'll pray for you if you pray for me. Actually, I'll pray for you either way. :)

  7. What a huge step, you should be so proud for making it. I made it a little over a year ago, and it was the best decision. One day at a time, and lean on people. I'm praying for your success!