Should I quit or Persevere?

Friday, April 1, 2016

Perseverance kicks in during the most interesting times. When I had my first child I persevered through nursing. I remember begging my newborn to nurse, in the middle of the night but I had a sleepy baby who would not successfully nurse. I persevered anyway. 

When my second child was born we had a different set of challenges. I tried the nursing thing again to no avail. So we started her on formula. She was rejecting most of the expensive formulas we offered. We persisted and we learned she agreed with a soy-based formula. Perseverance popped up during the most difficult spots in my adventures as a young mother. 

As a Marathoner I learned that perseverance kicks in during the most inconvenient times.  I did not plan to have cramps from my waist down on mile 14. Perseverance caught up with me when I was about to cry because my dreams of finishing sub 5 were shattered. I welcomed perseverance and God rewarded me for just hanging in there.

"Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." 
James 1:4 (NIV)

When I read this, I think: "Now, this is hard to do Mr. James!" But as I think of my current challenge, I have two choices: quit or persevere. I learn nothing from quitting. If I persevere, I will be mature, complete and not lacking anything. 

As I look back in my adventures in feeding tiny babies, I can see how much we all gained from persevering. Even when I think about those awful cramps, I see that because I let perseverance finish its work, I completed my fourth marathon and I have a medal and a t-shirt to prove it (on top of some great video footage). 

My friend, God always sends someone to encourage us when we're in the midst of any challenging situation. I was helped by countless grandmothers when I had my first baby. God sent my friend Lea to help me when I didn't know what else to do when the expensive formulas were not agreeing with my little one's stomach. The word of wisdom my friend gave me, changed the rest of that year. God put in Lea something valuable and lasting that made an impact in my family. Her babies too had sensitive stomachs and she shared that wisdom with me. During the hard part of the marathon, God sent coaches, runners and even support crew to help me run to the finish line. I don't think I could have persevered as I did without their help. It took honesty in my part every time. I told those wonderful folks "I'm struggling in this area of my life." Those wonderful folks are not mind readers. I had to speak up and God used them to bless me. I encourage you to be open about what you are facing. God, many times, uses people to bless us. Remember that people are not mind readers so we need to be open and honest. 

Unfortunately, you and I don't get a medal for everything we're facing in life. You do get something more valuable: character development. Friends, I have been facing some challenging stuff during these short 3 first months of the year. Because I choose to believe God daily and let perseverance finish its work, I can already see how God is molding my character. I'm not expecting a medal and t-shirt for this stuff. I'm honestly hoping my Heavenly Father says 'well done Cintia."

Truth is, we're either leaving a trial or walking into one. Life is just like that. The smart thing to do is to be prepared at all times by focusing on a God who loves you and who has promotion disguised as a tough situation. 

Trust me, you will make it. Just remember to let perseverance finish its work.