I saw the little square notice in our local newspaper. It stated basic information about a college scholarship available for Christian students. I didn’t have anyone in college at the time. My older three were young adults, my younger two were freshman and sophomore in high school.
I cut out the notice and tucked it into a file marked “Scholarships.” Three years later during Austin’s senior year, I opened up the file, pulled out that little slip of paper and prompted him to apply.
Several months later he was notified that he had received a $500 scholarship from the private foundation. It wasn’t a lot but it covered his books. We thanked God for that provision! A year later he was notified by the group that it was time to re-apply for this year’s funds. He applied and this time he was denied. No scholarship his sophomore year.
I tucked the denial letter away and marked our calendar for the next year’s application date. As he was finished up his sophomore year I reminded him to reapply. He protested that he’d been denied last year, but I encouraged him to apply anyway. A few months later he received notification of another $500 scholarship. Again provision for his books!
As his junior year was coming to a close, I once again rang the scholarship bell. “Mom, it’s a lot of work for $500.” “I know,” I responded, “but every little bit helps.” He sent in his application. This time the response was different. He received a $2000 scholarship! We were all jumping up and down with excitement!
Perseverance paid off.
We live in an “instant” society. Technology teaches kids that if you have a problem, you just “reboot” to fix it. Appliance companies no longer make washers and dryers to last 20 years…instead 2-3 years is the life of an appliance. It’s all throw-away. Give up. Quit.
As parents, we have to model perseverance and we have to help our kids learn the value of perseverance.
Romans 5:3-4 tells us to, “rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
God uses perseverance to grow us and to grow our kids.
When my daughter Anne and I were writing our book Better Together: Because You’re Not Meant To Mom Alone, Anne shared this story about perseverance in friendship:
I began attending MOPS when Rilyn was six months old. I really didn’t have any “mom” friends and was craving same-season friendship. My mom was going to be speaking at a local MOPS group in a few months and I wanted to attend incognito
for a while. I wanted them to know me for me and not for who my mom was.
I was the only one with an infant at my assigned table and so at times I felt like I didn’t belong. I questioned whether or not I should continue to attend, as I didn’t seem to have much in common with these women because our children were in different stages of life. I decided to stick it out, and as the year continued I learned a lot from these women but never found a connection of friendship.
It took me three years to find my Strawberry Pink girls. Our table just clicked, all eleven of us. We shared tears, laughter, struggles, and encouragement. We rallied around the friend whose husband was deployed, encouraged the friend whose husband was living and working in a different state, and supported the friend whose son was killed in an accident. We prayed for one another, played in each other’s homes, and had girls night outs together. These friends held me up when my dad went through a midlife crisis and left for a few months. I had never experienced friendship like this and was relishing in it.
I’ve learned that connection takes time. In our “instant” society, we are often inclined to believe that great friendship happens just as fast as “Confirm” is pressed on a Facebook friend request. That’s not the way it is in real life. Friendships take time
to find and nurture. Then once we connect, it’s both the highs and lows of life that make us better together.”
Honestly most of us would give up after one year let alone two! However, Anne’s story illustrates the value of perseverance. And I love how she was able to see the positive even in the waiting as she kept herself in a place to learn from other moms.
For Austin, he learned gratitude in the persevering. He also learned the value of being responsible with the little things to lay the foundation for possibly being entrusted with something more (which is living out Luke 16:10).
I’ve learned there’s power in perseverance. In marriage. Parenting. Friendships. In my relationship with God. In family relationships. In work and play.
Perseverance strengthens our character and gives us hope that the future will look different someday. Missing out on perseverance causes us (and our kids) to miss out on growth opportunities God wants to use to mature us. That alone motivates me to persevere–and encourage my kids to persevere–when it sometimes seems like it might be easier to quit.
What about you? Where do you need to persevere? Where do you need to keep pursuing? Where do you need to keep waiting and trusting that God is at work?