Endurance

Prepared

If we’re not prepared for the battles that come, we will falter when they do. But if we’re in it for the fight, we’ll endure through the fight.

 

Photo Credit: File:A lone Soldier walks through a fog of sand DVIDS10400.jpg …

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It’s a Fight

Maybe we come to the point where we don’t have the fight in us to make it through one more act. What we don’t realize is this crucial truth of life: It IS a fight. Anything worth living for is worth fighting for, and will take fighting for.

 

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Road Trip

Blog_RoadTripI took a road trip to California once and afterwards vowed I’d never do it again. While the drive there was scenic enough to warrant 36 hours strapped in a tiny car, the drive back did me in. Something about it diminished my tolerance for anything beyond a few hours’ ride.

Maybe the terrain had something to do with my change in outlook. On the way there, we had mountain vistas to keep us occupied; on our way back, we chose an alternate route through the desert. Beautiful as the desert can be, it’s not so inspiring when you’re exhausted and want nothing more than to get HOME.

Halfway through I called my sister, on the brink of tears, lamenting, “We’ll never make it!” When we finally crossed our state line, I thought, “Maybe we’ll make it after all.” Until I realized we had another six hours to go, and might I add, the longest six hours EVER.

At the time, my hub and I were in the midst of our second adoption and very much in a similar state of mind—exhausted, wearied by the journey. Thinking maybe it would never happen even after all our efforts. Doubting we could endure what remained to make it happen.

Yet here we are. We made it home after that endless road trip, and have made a few others since. And we made it through our second adoption. If you know my son, you know how worth it that journey was.

Since our adoption finalized, I’ve met several couples on the verge of giving up on their own adoptions, and I was able to encourage them to persevere. Maybe now I can encourage you, too, in whatever journey you’re in.

Don’t give up!

You’ll make it through the barren wasteland if only you choose to persevere. And when you come to the end of your journey, you’ll look back and see that it was worth it. You need only look beyond this present, weary moment to the greater end that WILL result from your endurance.

 

Photo Credit: Free stock photo: Desert, Highway, Roadtrip – Free Image on …

The Time-stopping Alarm Clock that Doesn’t Exist

Alarm Clock from Bing ImagesBehold, my greatest invention: a snooze button that actually stops time. Just press the button at, say, 6am, sleep in for another few hours, and still wake up at 6am that same day. You’ll never be late for work, school, or appointments. And you’ll never be tired again.

Okay, so the miracle snooze hasn’t been invented…yet. But if you find it does exist, please remember me on your gift list. Because there are days when I don’t feel like getting up.

Add to that list of things I don’t always feel like doing…changing another diaper, washing another dish, folding another load of laundry, ironing (ugh), picking up another room full of toys, and…you get the point. Daily life often thrives or fails based on our choice to do what we don’t feel like doing. Getting up each morning is not on option. The same applies to the multitude of other monotonous but necessary daily tasks. Even the most coveted of jobs involves a certain degree of unappealing, mundane routine.

It’s the same in love. In every relationship, there comes a point where we must choose to love. I’ve been married almost twenty years, and I know. There are days when it’s truly, madly, deeply, and days when we’ve lost that loving feeling. First-date feelings fade. Honeymoon euphoria evaporates. The daily grind drones and drains. But no relationship lasts without the determination to love at all times.

Relationships, like buildings, need a firm foundation to stand. While emotions are an integral part of life, they make for a flimsy foundation. Feelings evolve more frequently than a quick-change artist. Relationships that rely solely on sentiment are doomed to fail. True love goes beyond feelings. It’s a commitment to love someone whatever the cost, even when emotion runs dry. And the reward of endurance is deeply rich, satisfying, and lasting relationships.

True Love…Goes BEYOND FEELINGS (Day 43, #50ShadesOfTrueLove)

Weather Wimps, Beware

Weather Report from Bing Images If you live somewhere close to the equator, you may think you have it made. You don’t have to worry about blizzards, shoveling, snow days, or sub-zero temperatures. The weather reports are so boring where you live, it’s a wonder the meteorologist doesn’t fall asleep on the job. Eighty degrees and sunny all week, every week is not all that interesting. You may even have become a bit snobby about your warm weather location, boasting without reservation on social media while the rest of us suffer chronic hypothermia and mid-winter depression.

Maybe I’ve become bitter about the weather situation where I live. Literally. Because I’ve not-so-affectionately coined a phrase for all the warm-climate snobs out there. Weather Wimps.

Yes, Weather Wimps. You may never have to scrape ten-inch thick ice sheets from your car windows while icicles form in your nostrils and your long johns freeze to your thighs, but you don’t know what it is to endure the harsh reality of inclement winter weather. We in the Midwest are durable. We know how to survive the breath-choking heat of summer and the bone-chilling cold of winter, all in the same year—sometimes in the same month. We know how to layer up, and we know how to cool down. And our city infrastructure doesn’t shut down over a light dusting of snow.

You Weather Wimps will never know the rewards of our great suffering. Out here, we appreciate spring. We don’t take the sun for granted. The first green tree buds of the year are enough to make us pause and breathe thanks. A fragrant flower is not to be ignored. After a few months of frostbite-inducing cold, we wear a spring breeze like a royal garment. The heat of summer soon scorches relentlessly, but we get to witness an explosion of fall colors and treasure the crisp autumn air in the months to follow.

Midwestern weather patterns more realistically resemble human relationships. In every relationship, there’s the newness of spring, the scorching heat of summer, the beautiful yet mournful death of fall, and the frigid winds of winter. Weather Wimps, beware. If you approach relationships the way you approach your weather reports, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. No relationship is as perfect as a Southern California day. Relationships are rough-hewn and rugged. More like…a typical Chicago forecast.

True love is unfailing. It doesn’t cave when storms rush in. It doesn’t hibernate when emotions run cold. It’s as steadfast as a Midwesterner trapped in a polar vortex. Weather Wimps, take heed. You may be gloating over there, in your heated outdoor pool while we shovel our walks for the thousandth time. But you have something to learn from us Midwesterners. And it’s not just about the weather.

True Love…is UNFAILING (Day 27, #50ShadesOfTrueLove)

Note to Self…Look Beyond

Finish Line from Bing Images Reading the headlines and listening to the news can get pretty depressing these days. That’s why I started this blog series on love. Observing all the darkness, hatred, and violence in this world, I realized it all stems from one root issue: a lack of love.

Instead of responding to evil with hate, I want to proclaim the truth about what love is. Now, halfway through my series, I am both exhilarated and exhausted. Doing what I love (writing!) nurtures me, but it’s hard work—especially when the only focused time I have to write is when the day’s work is done and the kids are sound asleep. It doesn’t help that one kid is a night owl and the other a very early bird.

In the midst of the busyness, I’ve been working on a book about human trafficking. It’s been a work in progress for the past few years, and as much as I love writing I can’t say it’s been easy. There are times when I don’t feel up to the task, and even more times I’m tempted to give up.

With my blog, it’s been much the same. It’s easy to get discouraged when I pour out my heart in hopes someone will be touched by what I say, only to wonder if anyone’s listening at all. But what keeps me going, with both the blog and the book, is the thought that one life could be changed by my words.

As I travail over the edits on my book, I envision victims of modern slavery being set free as they read the finished product. And with this blog, I picture someone whose life is broken being changed by the knowledge of what love really is. Love for those I’m writing for helps me to persevere.

There are countless days I wrestle with feeling I lack the skill to do what’s in my heart to do. And so many times I fear I fall short of my own message. But I’m reminded that true love looks beyond the current sacrifices, struggles, and doubts to the good that can come from it all. And that’s what keeps me going.
 
“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross..” (Hebrews 12:2)

True Love…LOOKS BEYOND (Day 25, #50ShadesOfTrueLove)

My Feline Alarm Clock

Cat at Door from Bing Images It’s five in the morning, and something is scratching at the wood under my bed. Forcing my eyes open and my body to motion, I place my feet in my slippers and take one step forward, only to trip. Over my cat. Who’s darting out from under my bed with a look of smug satisfaction on her face. Phase one of her morning mission, accomplished. As she heads confidently to her food cabinet, she doesn’t know I’ve closed the door and crawled back in bed.

At 5:02, phase two of her mission is under way. She’s scratching at the door while I’m thinking how much I love my dog. Come 5:05, the scratching persists. I open the door and put on my best grouchy face, which isn’t so hard about now. Maybe she’ll get the hint. Instead, she tilts her head as her pupils triple in size. “Meow?” It sounds like she’s saying “now.” I shut the door gently as possible and crawl back in bed.

At 5:30, she’s on phase 12 of her morning mission: running down the hall and pouncing off the door. I’m wondering why we invested in an alarm clock when we have such a persistent cat. And thinking—if only I were this persistent, I might get more accomplished.

Annoyed as I am by my cat, I want to be like her. She’s persistent, even when she doesn’t get the results she wants when she wants them. When it comes to writing, it can be hard to persevere when we pour all our efforts into an article, blog, or book but don’t see immediate results. As for my cat, she knows eventually I’ll wake up and feed her. When it comes to writing, I need to know eventually I’ll see results—even if it’s the life of one person changed by something I’ve written.

It’s the same with love. There are times when it’s hard to love. There are times when we give love, but don’t receive it in return. There are times when we love someone through a difficult stage in life, yet don’t see the change we long to see. But true love requires persistence. If we stop loving when things get tough, it was never true love to begin with. True love persists in spite of obstacles. It “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.” True love never fails.

True Love…is PERSISTENT (Day 16, #50ShadesOfTrueLove)