Facing Failure Bravely
Updated: Jan 7, 2020
By Roselyn Ellington
God's Brave Women - Roselyn's Story
Every one of us meets failure, but none of us gets to choose the time and place.
It’s been over eight years, and it’s still hard not to be overcome by emotion when I reflect on the summer I worked for a missions organization.
In the spring of 2011, I was set to finally graduate from seminary. I had no idea what I wanted to do or where God was calling me. However, I felt ready, willing and excited to use my degree to impact the world for Jesus. As I walked around campus one afternoon, I saw an organization recruiting students for a summer missions program that sent leaders all over the nation. I thought, “This is it. This is my chance to do something big.” I filled out the application and went through the interview process. My assignment was to work with homeless people in Washington D.C. throughout the summer.
Going into the experience, I thought “How difficult could this be? I love God. I love people. I love to lead. I spent years studying for this. What could go wrong?” But I quickly realized that it was much harder than I thought it would be. The training was intense, and the information was overwhelming, but the last thing I was going to do was quit. I had to learn to live without the comforts that are usually taken for granted. I began to adapt to my environment and fall in love with the people. I couldn’t wait to see how God would change me and how I would grow.
My supervisor came to the ministry site a couple weeks into our program. We worked together that week, and she continued to train me, teaching me the ins and outs of my position. At the end of the week, she recommended that I take greater initiative and complete my tasks more efficiently. I left the conversation not feeling great, but hopeful and willing to adapt. I sensed that she was less hopeful, and perhaps skeptical of my abilities. She left, and I began another week of ministry.
At the end of that week, while I was at the laundromat, she called and requested I meet her at church right away. Leaving my clothes, we met together in a church office. She cited how I did not improve enough to meet her expectations, and then she let me go. I was told to pack my bags and leave without saying goodbye to anyone.