Extraordinary Example of Perseverance

It’s a night of feeling overwhelmed.

Of wondering about those care-free pool days that I hear about each summer.

Of stepping near the cliff that will only take me to self-pity and away from the word of truth that gives life.

I find myself again questioning God’s hand in suffering, and how to walk through these weeks with any measure of grace.

I thought of my pastor’s words, how there are times we need to be gently rebuked and reminded of the truth and promises of God’s word.  I needed someone to throw a shoe at me.

And then I thought about my daughter.

My extraordinary daughter.

The one we called mountain goat (the literal meaning of her name), princess, stubborn, and named after the girl who put a tent peg in a guy’s head (see the book of Judges).   The Lord gave her a name of beauty and strength and she’s demonstrated at least one of those attributes each day of her life.

(Just a brief note on Jellyfish.  She was born with a heart defect and underwent heart surgery when she was four days old. She was also missing a bone and finger on her left arm.  I don’t often describe her so specifically because it’s a very limited view of her as a person, but in this case it helps tell her story.)

Early on, as she learned to crawl with an arm cast and then walk with a cast, and then walk with a cast and hold about ten toys in her hands, we had a pretty good view of her determination.

When she learned to tie her shoes, ride a bike, rollerblade, and swim, my awe of this particular character trait enlarged.  It wasn’t in the moment of accomplishment, it was watching her in the process. Her eye on the goal, come what may.

In the last year she’s also fallen in love with God’s word, which has only expanded her beauty and determination.

On the before side of this last surgery I told friends she was going to go through it fighting, pushing forward, surprising us all.

And she did.

And as I look back over the past few weeks I realize I can take a few cues from her on how to walk through the next few weeks.

When she was scared, she asked me to pray.  I can ask people who care for me to pray for me.

When she was in pain, she breathed slowly, in and out, through the pain. She could have competed with the best of mamas in labor. I can ask God to help me endure the pain but not spend my time running to escape it.

When she needed peace and rest she listened to our church worship CD.  I can worship God despite my circumstances as He remains the same each day.

When she came home to face three weeks using her non-dominant (and structurally challenged) hand, she wrote, drew and ate, and climbed trees with that hand.  Let me add here that she’s also a perfectionist.  So normally she wouldn’t stand for wobbly letters and drawings, but her determination overtook her perfectionism.  I can keep walking forward instead of letting fear paralyze me.

When the physical therapist assigned homework, Jellyfish did twice the number of exercises without once needing a reminder.  I can be strong because He who made me has already given me everything I need for every good work.

And after a challenging session today, she told the therapist, “That was satisfying”.  I can move with God instead of against His hand. For “how much more should I submit to the father of our spirits and live.” (Hebrews 12:9)

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

-Hebrews 12:12 (The twelfth chapter of Hebrews is a great place to turn for encouragement and truth during a difficult trial.)

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