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Do Mistakes Ever Work?

Posted in Encouragement, Faith, Faithfulness, and Overcoming difficulties

Do mistakes ever work?  I sure hope so.  I’ve made plenty.  Like the time I put on navy hose with a black dress.  Or when I put too many red pepper flakes in a dish.

My friends thought my off-colored hose made a fashion statement.

My spicy dish drummed up thoughts of buffalo wings.

But not all of my blunders end up being a blessing in disguise.  Some of my mistakes are more costly.

However, I recently stumbled upon a book entitled Mistakes That Worked by Charlotte Foltz Jones.  It explains how famous inventions found their way into our lives completely by mistake.

Did you know things like Post-It notes, chocolate chip cookies and x-rays were never intended by their inventors?

Amazingly, something of value can result from something unplanned or unintentional.  And there are plenty of valuable inventions featured in this book.

However, out of all the ingenious slip-ups, I was surprised to find my beloved tea.  There it was nestled between two other major mishaps — sandwiches and aspirin.

Here’s how tea came to the world stage.

A Chinese emperor, “Shen Nung was boiling water outdoors when leaves from a nearby bush fell into the open kettle.  Before he could retrieve the leaves, they began to brew.  He smelled the sweet aroma of the mixture once he tasted it, the world was given tea!” 1

According to Foltz Jones, except for water, tea is considered the most popular beverage in the world. I know I’ve done my part to help it reach that status.

But when I think about tea’s discovery, I can’t help but think about the times I found myself in hot water (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

I’m also thinking about the times God allowed me to sit there until the reality of Romans 8:28-29 turns my trial into my transformation:

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.  For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” (NLT)

The “leaves” of God’s grace mixes into what we’ve messed up or missed out on so we can taste and see that the Lord is good.  

Make no mistake, he was quite intentional in creating us and redeeming us through his Son.

But Romans 8:28-29 doesn’t give us an excuse to sin. Nor does it encourage irresponsibility when we make a mistake. The promise in this verse compels us to love God and His purpose for our lives —  becoming like Christ.

When becoming Christ-like is our goal, everything works together for our good.

Everything and any thing.

No matter what we’ve been through or what mistakes we’ve made, we have a divine outcome in the making.

The process may be painful but the promise is sure.

God is working in and around us right now.  We may not sense what he’s doing, but if we believe his Word, we can have hope for the heart and joy to the soul.

1. Foltz Jones, C. Mistakes That Worked, The World’s Familiar Inventions and How They Came to Be. New York, Doubleday.

New Feature:  Find “joy to the soul” on Pinterest @joy2thesoul!  


  1. Hi from your neighbor at RaRa Linkup. I love the tea invention especially, this sounds like a really interesting book. It is so wonderful to know that the Lord is at work in the midst of our messes. It is a constant reminder of His love for us. Thank you so much for sharing this. May your soul be refreshed in the hope we have in Him.

    April 19, 2017
    • Joy

      Thanks for stopping by Cheryl! Yes, this is a really interesting book. It is appropriate for all ages and filled with lots of fun facts. Like you, I’m grateful the Lord is at work in the midst of our messes. His grace astounds.

      April 19, 2017
  2. Julie Hawfield
    Julie Hawfield

    Thanks for keeping it real, Joy! 🙂 Love your posts!

    April 19, 2017
    • Joy

      Awww…thanks Julie!

      April 19, 2017
  3. Love this:
    “The leaves of God’s grace mixes into what we’ve messed up or missed out on so we can taste and see that the Lord is good.”
    Very cool knowing how all these things we love came form mistakes.

    April 19, 2017
    • Joy

      Hi Christy! I know right. It’s hard to believe chocolate chip cookies almost didn’t make it here!

      April 19, 2017

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