Book Reviews, Books, Faith, Trust

When Following God Leads You Into Failure

For the next several Monday’s I’ll be reflecting on thoughts stirred by reading Mary DeMuth’s upcoming book, Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus. The following is a reflection the ideas in chapters 13 & 14

Last year, two weeks before the sold out conference, God provided me with a ticket to the Relevant (now Allume). Upon reflection, I see the ticket was less an opportunity, and more of a personal invitation from God’s heart, to mine.

During the conference, God continued to ‘wow’, or perhaps woo me with His generosity, answering many private prayers along the way.

I met Mary DeMuth on my flight out of Newark.
What a gift!

My travel went smoothly despite the insanely early snow storms that set in that weekend in the north east.
A blessing.

Some other friends I knew that were attending the conference generously offered for me to share their room at the hotel–
Such a blessing.

I had the pleasure of spending a little one on one time with Ann, when we discovered we would be sharing a flight, and she needed a ride to the airport.
Pure gift!

During the conference I won a sit down with an Editor of a well known publishing house–a dream come true!

I pitched the book off the cuff, she asked me to submit three chapters to her. Her invitation literally fell into my lap. Throughout the weekend God continued to surprise me with his flagrant grace–it felt as if He just wanted me to know that He hears all my longings and cares deeply for me. I have never felt so loved by Him.

I returned from the conference refreshed, renewed, and slightly overwhelmed by the generosity that God had displayed for me.
I set to work writing those three chapters, while God continued to place people in my path who would encourage me and hold my hand all along the way.

Stepping out in obedience

The next several months would be a journey of self discovery that I hadn’t anticipated.

I vacillated between feeling confident of eventual publication, and certain of failure. On good days, the writing came easy–and on hard days I wrote anyway, determined to finish and submit the three chapters quickly. I subjected my work to the raw refining of the professional editing process, a new and terrifying experience–not to mention humbling, deeply, painfully humbling.

The first return of my newly marked up manuscript made me weep. So much work lay ahead of me. I handled the second and third edits with a little more grace and maturity, but still, I knew I had miles still to go.

As I struggled to get the words right I questioned what God was doing with this whole thing, I wondered, had He really had asked me to write this?

I finished and submitted the three chapters during Lent. God’s timing of the work He was doing in me during that season of reflection and redemption seemed appropriate. He humbled me to the floor repeatedly as I struggled to write this book, and to wait for the response.

God used the eight week wait for the editors response to further stretch me, he called me closer to himself, and the more He poured His grace all over me, the harder I wrestled with Him.

In a fit one restless afternoon, I retreated to my bedroom venting my frustrations at God for leading me down such a difficult path. I pressed Him for the whys of this struggle–things were taking so long, and He had revealed so much trash in my own soul. This opportunity which began as a dream come true, had shifted from joyful to torturous, as God used the process to refine me.

That tearful afternoon, His words came–this book would not be accepted right now. God used this journey to bring me closer to Himself–a catalyst for the deep refining work He was doing in me.  

I don’t claim to always know when god is speaking to me, I am noisy and often miss His still small voice. When this thought surfaced, I knew without a doubt, this was from the Lord.

A few weeks later the official rejection letter landed in my inbox, just as God said it would.

God had led me on a journey that ended in personal failure for His purposes.

The hard truth

Writing and publishing a book is a childhood dream of mine. God led me on a journey of relinquishing my dreams, my goals, my own ambitious desires, so that He could become my everything.
Even now, as I re-read the rejection letter, I hear Him say well done. Well done. The truth is, sometimes what we perceive to be the point, isn’t it at all. I thought God wanted me to write this book, but really, God wanted to bring me closer to Him through the journey.

Success isn’t measured in accumulating achievements, but rather in living by obedience. <–Tweet this.

When following God ends in what we perceive as personal failure, we have to cling to the truth found in Jeremiah 29:11-12:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

He knows the plans He has for us.

We don’t.

His perspective is so much wider than ours.

We continue to hope in Him because He is faithful. He uses our apparent failures to grow and strengthen our faith. Until we learn to lay down everything for Him, He can’t become our everything.

Has God led you down a path that ended in failure? How did you handle it?

Everything releases in October, however, you can pre-order now. Woot!

*This post contains an affliliate link.


  1. Sarah

    What a hard, beautiful story. He’ll do anything to get to us, won’t He? I’m so happy to “know” someone like you. Your dreams are admirable, your talent is real and your faith is beautiful.

    Thanks for posting the hard stuff.

    1. Sarah, Yes! I have learned this about Him. He will (and does!) do anything to reach us. Thank you for encouraging me. really. I desperately needed these words of yours this morning when I hit “publish”. You gave me a gift immeasurable. XO

  2. Kris,
    Your words are water to a parched soul. Although I’m not as far in the journey, I’ve often wondered: “I thought God wanted me to write this book, but really, God wanted to bring me closer to Him through the journey.” thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. God is using you in mighty ways. One of which is to minister to me personally as a fellow sojourner on this road we call writing.

    1. @facebook-1068612511:disqus I’m so glad to be on the journey with you. So thankful to share your encouragement and struggle He is faithful, my firend. He will lead us and deliver us through all for His glory! What a promise of beauty that is–what grace! Praying for you right NOW!

  3. All glory and honour be to HIM ALONE! What a journey Kris, I am so excited to meet you in person at Allume – you share your heart for God so well and inspire me to write for him. Grateful and blessed to call you friend and to pray for you! Keep your eyes and your focus on him and letting him grow you in faith!

    1. I cam’t wait to meet you too, Lauren. It will be so great to hug your neck and see your sweet face. I am so thankful to have ‘met’ you in this crazy online space, and grateful always for how you encourage me!

  4. Kristen Hamilton

    Kris, from one flesh with the same dream to another, I want to say I’m sorry for what a road you have traveled this past year. At the same time, from one person who’s gone through spiritual refinement to another, I praise Jesus along with you for the closeness and the next level of deepness in your relationship with Him. I know that being broken & shattered and holding tightly (stubbornly) to something hurts. But despite the pain that comes with surrender, there is unspeakable peace, joy, and freedom. I’m excited to see what God *does* have for you! Big hugs, precious girl.

    1. Kristen, Thank you sweet friend, but please don;t be sorry 😉 I have spent weeks wrestling this, feeling sorry for myself, being angry at God, grieving, moping, complaining, and other ugly behavior, but God is so good! That’s what He’s teaching me! He is so good, and the process however painful is laced with grace because it’s about Him, not me–He makes us able to glorify Him, and to do it we must be refined. Praising Him with you this afternoon! He is just so good! Thank you for your encouragement–it’s a tremendous blessing to me today!

  5. Wow! I, too, have a dream to write. I have a book waiting for the courage to submit it somewhere. It’s so scary. Because if I don’t submit it, I can always wonder “what if.” But if I submit to agents, publishers, etc. and nothing comes of it, then I can’t even ask that anymore.
    I agree with you though that sometimes with God, it really is the journey that matters more than the end result. Blessings to you, sweet friend.

    1. Crystal- pray about t, and take the leap! You’re a writer! rejection is part of the process! This is what we do, this is how He writes OUR stories. When He calls you to it, He will indeed carry you all the way through. Praying you are encouraged and strengthened for whatever He leads you to do!!

  6. This means you’re a writer: rejection. I can’t tell you how many, many, many times I’ve received a no. It’s never easy. It’s good for character production. But it’s also a test to see how gritty and tenacious you are. Keep at it. This is the first of many nos and a few yeses along the way.

  7. Oh Kris, this is such encouragement to my heart. I do have a desire to write a book, but out of fear not sure that I ever really will. I may pop out an ebook or two, but you know, is that really a book? There have been other doors slammed on me but through them all I have drawn closer to His heart. And in the end, that is all that truly matters!

    1. Barbie- that fear demon can be a real beast to slay. And of course, an ebook is a real book 😉 I’ve decided that the doors that get slammed don’t matter nearly as much as the one God holds open for you to walk through. Fight the fear and live confidently in Him! I say this for us both tonight. Love you, sweet Barbie!!

  8. Oh sweet Kris. Your redemptive heart of grace oozes through the screen here. Wish we could hug this all out together! (and I can’t even say at Allume since I won’t be there…boo…)

    I’m not sure where we pick up the word failure and learn to define it ourselves. I’m still not sure the word is in God’s dictionary…because He never does fail and that invitation to cling…to let go and let Him…succeed. It’s one I’m learning to accept every day.

    and you, sweet friend share what this mess of obedience leading to deluges of grace looks like so well. What an honor it is to know you. To watch what God can do through you.

    I have no doubt and will be so thrilled to hold your words in my hands when His time comes.

    1. Yes, sweet Nikki, BOO indeed. 🙁 I’m pouting a little over your absence from Allume.
      And oh yes, thank you for the reminder that HE never does fail, and in Him we always have victory, by His strength!
      I dont know if you’ll ever hold my words in your hands, but whatever God decides, I am learning His ways are always better than mine. Always. Thank you for sharing this journey with me. It’s been a doozy so far. God is just so good–His grace rocke my world. I LOVE You, I am prayng for you tonight!

  9. Wendy

    I so love your heart and your words sweet friend. thank you. thank you for your transparency. thank you for your truth. I know that it was hard to write this and am so glad that you did. blessings.

  10. AshlieWrites

    Oh, friend, I understand this…the learning through failures. I think God has used that to teach me more than anything else in my life. His refining fires never come without hope and renewal as I decrease and He increases…praise God for that! It’s so hard, though. Love your honesty and the way you place your precious heart on the edge so that the rest of us can be encouraged. This makes me extra sad that I won’t be attending Allume this year, but I trust He knows what He’s doing. Love you and hope to hug your neck one day! Praying for you friend, and thank you for who you are and all you do 🙂 xoxo

    1. Ashlie~Thanks for encouraging me, my friend. Really, your friendship and prayers through this season have been such a gift! I can;t really even tell you how it helped knowing you have been praying for me! Thank you for that! I am forever grateful!

    1. It’s true, the no’s are a gift, just as the yes’s are. Remembering that is critical. Thank you for reminding me and encouraging me to continue to give thanks in everything. It matters, and the thanksgiving changes us. God is so good. Thanks, Deidra. you bless me, sister-friend!

    1. Shelly, I am grateful that you found something of value here. Really, I am. If my experience can encourage others in any small way, then it’s worth it again and again to endure the hard things for His greater glory. We don’t always know what He’s doing when life takes these weird and difficult twists, but we can trust that he is abundantly good through it all. Thank you, my friend, for encouraging me always! That is a gift I count again and again in you. XO

  11. This:
    The truth is, sometimes what we perceive to be the point, isn’t it at all.

    And, this: Until we learn to lay down everything for Him, He can’t become our everything.


    His wisdom pouring out of you is my blessing today, and every day. You honor Him in this telling, my friend. And in your obedient telling He unravels rich blessings.

  12. Kris, you write so much good, hard truth here…a truth I can relate to so very much. I am on a similarly challenging publishing journey…one fraught with disappointments and discouragement. What I am learning though, (slowly, slowly) is obedience — something I have not been very good at in the past. Thank you for sharing your journey so honestly here.

    1. Michelle, can I just say first how honored I am by your comment. Thank you for stopping by here, it means a great deal to me… Also, yes, this obedience thing is hard, crazy hard some days. But oh my, how God is showing me that it is the most important part of the journey, it’s where the good stuff is, in the obedience. Wandering out of bounds only leads into the wilderness, there’s nothing there that encourages and gives hope. Walking behind Him, on the path He has chosen, whatever that may look like, is the only way worth traveling. Learning the hard lessons along with you, my friend, and praying for your book(s) to be written and published in due season!!


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