I love this: God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. Hebrews 6:10
I woke up early this morning. I didn’t sleep much last night. The Lord continues to bring people to me that need prayer and encouragement.
I was going through my pictures recently. So many, many memories. From when I was growing up, to when I was raising my children. I came across certificates of achievements for work, college, school of ministry, and even from when I was in high school. It seemed every where I turned, doors were flying open for me with opportunities to go further than I could have imagined. Wow. Sometimes I just shake my head in wonderment as to how life can change so suddenly…how everything can change in just a blink.
Sometimes, choices can be overwhelming and we simply do the best we can when choosing what seems to be the best choice for us. There is a future with a hope for us. I realize there are times God seems to be the only one in agreement with this. However, because he says it is so, and he cannot lie, it’s important we continue to persevere and push through the setbacks and disappointments, press on and not give up.
I remember when my daughter was in middle school and she wanted to be in band. She wanted to play the flute, and nothing else was acceptable to her. The band director, on the other hand, encouraged her to play the clarinet. They needed more clarinet players, not flute players. My daughter seemed to struggle with mouth placement and the band director once again encouraged her to consider clarinet. I told her to never give up but stay focused and keep trying. She persevered and indeed, she developed the proper flute embouchure and was allowed to play the flute. Hence forth, any time she struggled to achieve something difficult, I reminded her how she overcame before because she pushed through and persevered.
When my son was going into 8th grade, they started the school sponsored football teams. My son had dreamed of playing football since he was seven years old. However, in order to be considered for the team, he would have to successfully complete all his classes. Although he is a good student, he was in a class he would have rather not had to encounter—-and needless to say, he was beginning to see that his dream of playing football might not be realized. I encouraged him to focus on “the prize” of getting on the team, to which my son buckled down, and after a lot of hard work raised his grades. The deciding moment came when his grades came in the mail. He sat with anticipation. As I read the report, I couldn’t contain myself and with excitement I said, “You passed.” You could see the relief come over him. During football practice, my son would do whatever the coach asked him to do, and he would do so with so much enthusiasm, the coach made my son one of the team captains–not because he was so gifted playing the sport, but because he had such a heart for the team and working hard to accomplish the goals. Even after all his hard work, we found my son simply could not coordinate his mind with his body to keep up with the movement of the plays. Even with extra help from the coaches, it became obvious my son’s dream of playing football would not be realized. My son was heartbroken. But in time, my son could see how, even so, God was faithful in helping my son get on the football team.
In looking back on my life, I realize God has been so good to me. Even during the most tragic life events, God was still faithful. Through the good times when, without seemingly any effort from me, good things and good opportunities were coming to me in overtly blessed abundance, God was there with grace and mercy navigating me. During the most tragic events and difficult seasons, when choices were so overwhelming I could barely see the steps before me that I should walk in, God was there with his abounding loving kindness to carry me and say, “It’s okay. I got this.”
At the risk of rising above the natural realm of seeming ungrateful, I’ve found that in the end, the accolades really aren’t the deal breaker. Albeit they are the evidence of great achievements from which great effort was put forth. Yes, they are evidence we were smiled on in an extra special way that day and in that we derive much comfort in being given much favor…but they aren’t what truly makes our life meaningful. Nor should they. They shouldn’t be the deal breaker of deciding whether or not to keep on putting forth great effort to succeed in any given endeavor.
There were so many times I wondered if I would make it through. There were times that were so dark I couldn’t see any light of hope and wondered if I would be able to breathe. I’ve gone from having much to having almost nothing. How we measure our success and how God measures our success is often times completely different.
But God… Through every season God always shows himself faithful. Although what we had once–that inner strength and drive to reach for the stars and really believe we will one day achieve it–may seem dissipated through life’s journey of struggles, I’ve found it’s not really gone. Not really. I’ve found that which God gives, I mean those things God gives that is born from deep within us really never leave us. It’s actually still there–deep inside. It’s up to us, however, to let it rise up once again to champion the call before us.
Be encouraged. Even when life takes a sudden unexpected turn and it seems everything is unraveling around you, it does not take God by surprise. Continue to love him, and in that love help his people. God’s got your back. He’s working things out for you, even when you can’t see what he’s doing at the moment.