It all started when I asked her to pick up.
Company is coming and an entire evening is planned and I really don’t have time to work through some issue that no one really understands in the first place.
Little Bit starts to meltdown.
When she goes rigid, refuses to answer questions, just sits there sour when I’ve asked her to pick up, I want to give up.
Throw in the towel.
I’m sick to death of the whole mess. Wounded children and exasperated mamas and adoption and being like Jesus… it’s all just one big pulsing heartache.
No, I’m not going to walk out on anybody. I’ll smile at the guests and talk about how great God is. I’ll be a decent mom and wife. But there’s more than one way to be a quitter.
Inside is where the quittin’ starts.
There’s the quiet, insidious choice to just stop believing.
Here’s the thing: when we stop believing God, we start believing something else. And on day 1,897 of the battle, I just want to call it quits, stop believing for something greater. Inside, I want to stop trying. Stop acting like anything is ever going to change. Stop pretending there is something glorious about it all.
Truth is, there’s nothing glorious about the wretched mess.
And truth is, sometimes it’s just too much to believe for anything better. It’s too hard to keep believing when everything tells you to get real already.
When day after day you go at it like a bull rider, out to master the beast, holding on with every tenacious strand of your being…and every day you’re thrown in the mud while your confidence… your hope… gets slung and trampled, well there’s only so long you can keep doing that.
The vision can be smeared by the mud. The laying face down in the muck can rob you sheer blind. Your faith can be eroded by the maddening mundane.
I sit there on her window seat, defeated. We talk the same talk as always. They are just words now; My heart’s not in it. I hear the company at the door. She starts bawling and sniffling and one really can wonder how in the world a mom is supposed to do this jig. Day after lousy day.
And then it comes to me: our family crest.
We agonized for a year or more over which four family traits we wanted to capitalize on, which four values did we want etched into stone, which ones would make the cut and go on the family crest?
One of the four we decided on? Diligence.
And how many times have I told the kids when they wanted to quit at something too hard for them, “Remember our family values? Part of being diligent means we keep going. We keep trying. We don’t ever give up.”
Never Give Up.
It strikes me then. It’s a Family Value. Straight from the Father Himself. It’s a highly prized character trait and all God’s children are instructed in it.
He taught us to pray and never give up, to know that the testing of our faith works patience, to persevere through trials and not let go of our confidence.
He told us that no matter what, we must build ourselves up in our “most holy faith.”
Never. Give. Up.
And I hear the Father instructing this child’s heart: “You can’t quit, my girl. Because perseverance is a family value and you’re in the family.”
And through my gritted teeth I say it out loud before my mind has time to negotiate it: “I’m not giving up. I am not giving up.”
The tears are coming down her face and now they’re coming down mine too, the blood streaks of battle. There’s company waiting to be greeted, but I’ve got unfinished business to take care of.
“I’m not giving up!” I say it loud and crazy. I’m pacing the room and waving fists in the air and I’m doing warfare that can’t wait, the inner battle in unseen places where whole lives are negotiated for.
The course of an entire family can be traced back to the map of one person’s unwavering faith.
“Do you hear me?” I say it stronger now. “When the Son of Man comes, He’s gonna find persistent faith in this corner of the earth! I am not. giving. up!”
“Because I’ve got the promise of my righteous Daddy to defend and protect and avenge me speedily. He’s able to keep what I’ve entrusted to Him. He’s going to take this sorry mess and He’s going to do abundantly above and beyond all I ask or think and He’s going to keep us from stumbling and make us stand faultless before His glorious throne with great joy one day. And boy howdy, I’m not’a givin’ up.”
And in the midst of my faltering heart, I know it sure: a wounded child doesn’t need her mama to be perfect; she just needs her to be persistent. Persistent in faith.
And a faltering daughter doesn’t need her mama to have all the answers; she just needs her to have all faith.
And a wayward child doesn’t need her mama to keep pining over regrets; she just needs her to keep beseeching the Father.
And a daughter finding her way doesn’t need a mama who frets and controls; she just needs a mama who takes it all to the throne time and again.
The world needs mamas who won’t quit believing.
Who never give up.
And just for today, I am one.
“I tell you, as for God, He will defend and protect and avenge them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find persistence in faith on the earth?”