Sometimes it’s difficult to keep going, isn’t it? Don’t you get tired, like me, of seemingly having to fight just to get through the day? There are times that I just want to throw in the towel, give it up, walk away, take a hike, etc. And that would be much easier than keeping on.
My daddy always said that if something is worth having, then you have to work for it. It shouldn’t come so easy that there is no value associated with it. Now, he did believe in giving, and receiving, but if I wanted something that was out of the ordinary of what he would normally provide, then he would insist I earn it. Like my horse , Roman. Daddy taught me to value my want, to learn to value and appreciate my goal, and to gain it in an honest, sincere way…by keeping on.
I was a horse crazy girl! Still am, if I would be honest. Love them. They are wonderful creatures, and it was always my hearts desire to have one of my very own. But we lived in the city, and so of course, we couldn’t keep one in town! But Daddy always told me that one day he would help me get my horse, but I had to save for it. So he and Mom bought me a rather large glass piggy bank. And in that bank went all the pennies, nickels, and dimes that I was able to save. And each time it would get full up, my parents would take me to the little savings & loan where I had my own account, and I would watch them take my change and put it in the coin counting machine, and then have them stamp my book with my newest deposit.
When I turned sixteen, I got a job as a carhop at a local restaurant. Not only was it a great job, but it gave me the funds to buy my own small car, which of course my daddy arranged financing for, and money to deposit in my ‘horse’ account. Now it built up faster and faster, and one day my mom came home from her job to announce that her co-worker had a young horse to sell, and he was in my price range! Yippee!
So, my daddy took me to the local fairgrounds, where we made arrangements to rent two stalls, each at a hefty price of $5.00 per month. One was for Roman, one was for his feed and tack. My friend and her family had horses there, and my stalls were right next to hers. So I finally got my horse, and I was feeling mighty good about having purchased him and of having the ability to care for him, mostly by my own earned income. Thanks, Daddy, for the great lesson!
But there were many days, months, years to come where things didn’t work out quite as well for me. A difficult first marriage was my fate, and while the greatest thing I took away from that was my wonderful children, I saw another side of life I had not seen while a child. Many times there was no money for food, or our lights would be shut off for non-payment, or we would go to make a phone call and the phone would be disconnected. It was a struggle to clothe the kids, and gas for our car, if it was running, was nearly non-existent. But guess what? I kept on.
We still had a good home. We always celebrated our birthdays, and other occasions. We never had a bad Christmas. God was faithful, no matter how difficult things sometimes were. I still today am amazed at how our poverty would many times be plenty. Our lifestyle to the outside world did not look that much different from anybody else’s. And to tell the truth, our kids grew up to be happy, well-adjusted adults, and do not seem to even remember how hard their lives were at times. But I know the truth, and how hard it was to keep on keeping on.
These days I live a life of abundance. My husband and I love to share it with others, family, friends, and even those we don’t know, but who need a hand up. Oh, we still have some tight times now and then, but we always know we will have a meal tomorrow, a roof over our heads, and even take vacations and holidays when we can. But I have to tell you that in looking back over the years, and seeing the struggle that both of us had to go through before, and after, we met and joined our lives together, I can honestly say that we did exactly what my daddy always told me to do…work for it. Keeping on.
Persevere is a great word in the Bible. God uses it throughout, to describe how our journey with Him should be. It is the same as keeping on. It is the same as setting a goal and achieving it. It is exactly like making your mind up and winning the prize. It is putting a value on something, or somebody, and working to attain it, or them. It is staying the course when the odds are against you. It is having faith in the One who makes it His business to provide for you, to comfort you, to care for you, to give you life and life more abundantly, here in the now, and in the eternal. He who enables you to go on keeping on.
‘Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.’
James 1:11-13 (NIV)