This phrase became a mothering mantra for me when I saw it 8 years ago in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum gift shop. When I saw it, it electrified me. I was like, “Yes! That’s it! The secret of parenting! That resolve and determination to keep moving, praying and hoping!” I bought the magnet, and I bought the shirt for my son who was in 8th grade at the time–we were on a school trip together. When he outgrew the shirt, I kept it and wore it often.
“Failure is not an option” is attributed to Gene Kranz, the flight director of the Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle missions when everything was going south and the Space Shuttle Apollo XXIII didn’t have enough power to get back to Earth. His intense resolve resonates in this clip:
I have needed to repeat this phrase often since then. It steadied and calmed me. It has steeled me and given me a backbone. I can’t give up or give into despair and so I remind myself, “Failure is not an option.”
As a Believer, this confidence is the support I feel from the Savior. Even when I come up short, I know the challenges in my life will be smoothed out by One who leads me along. It always turns out better when I involve Him. This is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He has given His Life for us so that we can feel peace and happiness in this crazy world. His Life is a foundation for us to prosper with Him as our Light, our Shelter, our Comforter.
In 2 Nephi 26:15, Nephi talks about faith in the last days, which are our days.
“13 And that he manifesteth himself unto all those who believe in him, by the power of the Holy Ghost; yea, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, working mighty miracles, signs, and wonders, among the children of men according to their faith.‘
15 “After my seed and the seed of my brethren shall have dwindled in unbelief, and shall have been smitten by the Gentiles; yea, after the Lord God shall have camped against them round about, and shall have laid siege against them with a mount, and raised forts against them; and after they shall have been brought down low in the dust, even that they are not, yet the words of the righteous shall be written, and the prayers of the faithful shall be heard, and all those who have dwindled in unbelief shall not be forgotten.”
When I read the above verse a few weeks ago, the phrase “the prayers of the faithful shall be heard”, it struck me fully. Since then, I have been turning this phrase over in my mind and heart for weeks. I have pondered it so much that I know for myself how important the prayers of the faithful can be. I know my prayers are the secret to enabling the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in my life. This privilege of asking, pleading, and being able to call on God in my hour of need to strengthen me and bless me, this is the secret of mothering with peace in my heart. This assurance from the Savior helps me not to try to control the situation but to trust in God who knows me so well.
Once when I was praying strongly for someone close to me, the Spirit whispered to me, “Just so you know, this (what I was praying about) is going to take a long time to be resolved”. I felt reassured that my prayers were being heard but the free agency of whom I was praying for is being honored. I felt relieved when I received that whispering. The Spirit was giving me hope that God was watching and waiting as well. Even if the needle of the issue doesn’t move for years and years, it is in God’s hands. He has got this!
Look at the promises at the end of verse 15, above. Failure is not an option.