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How do you Measure Success?
We live in a world that is hungry for success. Now granted, success is not a bad thing. In fact, most of us desire success in our lives. However, measuring success in concrete terms, when it comes to people and their personal progress, isn't quite as easily defined. It's not as if we can just take out our handy, measuring rod and determine the exact amount of growth that has taken place in a woman's emotional, spiritual, and physical life. In fact, the compelling thing about success is it looks different for different people. We all have unique “faces,” and just as an individual has his/her own exclusive physical attributes, they also have very diverse levels of success.

So often, we expect success to measure out in tangible, measurable ways. Statistics are certainly great indicators of success. For example, Bethany House has helped over 90% of our residents obtain a GED or high school diploma. Fantastic! But what about another woman, who didn't know how to care for her body, and is now, eating healthy meals? That, too, is success. Or, one young woman, who we later discovered had severe mental health issues, was nurtured at Bethany House while the transfer of her baby into a safer parenting situation was orchestrated. In this particular case, a baby's safety was ensured. Success, again! Another woman, early in her pregnancy worked and went to school. Her prior job experiences had not been positive, so for her to leave this job with a good reference was a major success.

Another misconception is that all the success is, or should be immediate. Bethany House is in the seed planting business. Ultimately, the women we help must continue to tend their garden, allowing God to pour His life sustaining water over it. One former Bethany House resident, Michele, who completed her stay at Bethany House close to ten years ago, married, however, she ran into marital troubles, and continued to seek council from Beth Rhinehart, our Director. Recently, she wrote to share the following success story, “My life has done a major turnaround since last time we talked. I put my life and marriage in God’s hands. I let him work on my husband. I have to tell you, listening to God was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But, I did what he instructed. Things are so much better. In fact, we are going to the married couples retreat next weekend. We are also attending marriage counseling at our church. I was baptized on January 29, 2006. My girls are getting so big, and have accepted Christ as well! I can’t believe what a long walk it’s been. The blessings that have come into my life over the past ten years have been wonderful. However, the blessings in the last six moths have been miracles I can only dream of. I love you (Beth) and Jack (her husband) so much! Thank you for the time you took to help get that wayward child of my past (me) on the track to God.”

As you can see, attempting to pin down “what is success” for a program like ours is elusive, if not impossible. There is no way to put a measurement on deep heart changes. Eventually, over time, our residents return to report the successes they have experienced. The one element that remains the same in every update is that Bethany House made a difference, for the better, and we were able to positively touch not only one life, but as our motto so proudly proclaims, two lives at a time…and beyond.


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