Do you ever have expectations that go unmet? Desires unfulfilled? Efforts that aren’t accomplishing what you are working so hard for? And you just end up worn out from it all.
That happened to me last week. So many of you have asked about my birthday and I didn’t want to tell you, but it ended up being a “not-so-happy” day. Long story. Just a hard day at home with miscommunications that led to misunderstandings and tears. We’ve had a lot of stress on us all and the scales tipped on my birthday!
I eventually made it to my special spot around 3:30pm to spend some time with Jesus but all I could do was cry. I was so sad. So disappointed that my day didn’t go as I had planned. After I soaked in God’s presence, I had high hopes of some sweet time writing. I just needed to feel like I was making headway on my book – which is due May 1st.
But I didn’t have it in me to write. My heart was too hurt. So you know what I wanted to do?
I wanted to tear up my contract and call my editor to tell her, “I can’t do this! I quit!”
I’d hit too many walls and faced too many obstacles. I had Dr appts with mom that lasted several hours each and left me scrambling for help with kids and carpools. Seriously, at one Dr office we sat in the exam room for a whole hour without seeing a Dr or nurse. And our stay at that one office was 3 hours total, plus an hour commute. Then an unidentifiable really bad rash showed up on one of my children making me have to cancel a block of writing time I had planned that afternoon. That night Aster woke up every hour on the hour crying.
Then the next day I had a puking dog who also happened to poop on my dining room wool rug and I stepped in it when I was trying to rush out the door to get Aster to a friend’s who was going to watch her while I took mom to another Dr appt – which also lasted hours. Then a coffee mug filled with hot coffee slipped out of my hand, crashed to the floor and splattered coffee and a bazillion ceramic pieces across one whole side of my kitchen.
And that all happened between Monday and Wednesday.
Typing it all out makes me laugh now. Thankfully I laughed through some of it so I wouldn’t cry. I’ll spare you the details of other domestic catastrophes last week. The good news is, we did have a delicious birthday dinner and dessert mom cooked for me and we played games that night.
Life just gets hard and sometimes we wanna quit! I don’t know about you, but Jesus won’t let me. I have asked Him several times and He always whispers to my heart, “Trust me in this. You can’t, but I CAN and I will.”
Then He gives me what I need to keep going. I was looking through some files on my computer for something I’d written this weekend, and I found notes from a women’s ministry meeting in 2002! In it I read these words MaryAnn Ruff, my mentor, spiritual mom and dear friend had shared with us as a group seven years ago!
From Bill Hybels book, Courageous Leadership.
“Someday we are going to stand face to face with the Son of God who never gave up on his redemptive calling. We’re going to stand face to face with a finisher who didn’t quit when his teachings were criticized. Who didn’t quit when his trusted followers deserted him. Who didn’t quit when he was mocked, beaten, and spit upon. Who didn’t quit when the nails were driven through his hands and his feet. Who didn’t quit as his atoning blood splashed from his veins to the dust beneath the cross.
Only when Jesus’ ministry had been completely fulfilled, when his race had been completely run, did he say those final words. And he said them with high octane, ‘It is finished. My job is done now. I did what my Father asked me to do. I hung in there all the way to the end and I fulfilled my ministry.’
When we meet Christ personally, I think we will all be prompted to say, ‘Jesus Christ, thanks for fulfilling your ministry. Thanks for not bailing out on the way to the cross. Because you endured, you purchased my pardon, you transformed my life, you protected my family, you sustained my church, you changed my world, and you sealed my eternal destiny.’
Hopefully all of us leaders will also be able to add, ‘And Jesus, because of your example and with your help, I finished my ministry too.’ How we’re going to revel in those moments! How glad we will be that we didn’t quit.”
I cried as I read these words. Good tears this time. God was speaking to my heart through the example of my Savior who never quit. And it was as though MaryAnn were right here reminding me, encouraging me and pointing me back to the One who called me. The One who is faithful. Then, the next morning, I got a text from her saying she was praying for me and even though we are miles apart now, she is with me. More tears!!
I pray today that no matter what you are facing, how hard it may be, how much you just feel like quitting – you won’t. You will read these words and remember all that Jesus went through because His life was an eternal investment. And so is yours!
I pray you’ll find strength to keep going. To never give up. Because Jesus never quit and He doesn’t want you to either!
“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” I Corinthians 15:58