There is an intricate dance between perseverance and resting in God. We are told many times to "Be still and know that (He is) God" and to rest in Him, yet on the other hand, we are supposed to persevere; never give up, fight the good fight of faith.
Life can be hard some days. Sometimes it feels like it is me against the crowd, yet I must be noble and show them the better way - so I can't stomp me feet, throw a fit and plop myself down on the couch and cry when things don't go my way. I know that I have tons to be thankful for, and I do "count my blessings" almost every day. But life can still be quite a struggle and I know that it isn't flesh and blood - those tiny little bundles of energy called "children" whom I am fighting against, but I'm pushing against something much deeper.
My inadequacies, selfishness and pride keep me from loving my kids (and even my husband) the way I'm supposed to, and laying my life down for others. Just because they are children, doesn't mean I shouldn't treat them with the same love and respect I would treat a stranger... or even a friend. I came across a quote yesterday from Miss Manners:
"Rudeness to children counts as rudeness. The fact that people are smaller and blood relatives does not mean that it is open season on insulting them."
Now it's not as if I am berating and belittling my children every day... however, I know there is many a day when I could be more patient, kind and gentle with them. Hmm... kind of sounds like I just need more of the fruit of the spirit in my life!
So that brings me to perseverance. Right now my biggest struggle in life seems to be daily living. My biggest challenge is raising godly children, having a peaceful godly home and walking in the love of Christ. This is hard work! I often don't feel like it. There are many challenges relating to being a full-time stay at home mom who not only homeschools but has 6 kids under 10 to take care of!
But I know God understands my struggle, and that is why I know He will help me to persevere. Here's a little scripture passage I re-wrote to a Mommy-ized translation:
In and out of the van often, in perils of dirty dishes and children who don't share their toys, in perils with my older kids and my younger kids, in perils at the grocery store when the kids play tag around the cart, in perils at home when there is no quiet to be found, in perils among the mountains of dirty laundry that never seem to disappear, in perils among children who tell fibs and break things, in weariness and hard work, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst because I'm too busy feeding the kids to sit down to a nice meal myself, in cold and nakedness (when I get up in the night to take care of a fussy baby, wearing just my bathrobe)---
2 Corinthians 11:26,27
26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness--
Okay, so I haven't gone through half the persecutions that Paul ever went through... but I see a comradeship that comes through trials. My life is work in which I have a chance to either succeed and excel or just try to coast along and wait for my kids to grow up so I can "have it easy". Not so - this is the life that God has richly blessed me with and I want to do my best. I want to live it to the fullest. This is the challenge I've been given and, as I've learned in the past "it's not all about me!"
But this brings me to the resting in God which goes hand in hand with perseverance. In my weakness, Christ shows his strength. He said that I should take His yoke upon me and learn from Him, because His yoke is easy and His burden is light. That doesn't mean my life is less challenging, but it means that I do it with His grace. I focus on Him and trust Him with every day. That means turning to Him BEFORE I go nuts and want to pull out my hair.
Anyway, that's what I'm working on!