Hope when you want to quit

 

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?”

Luke 18:8

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29 Comments

  1. Yes!! Thank you, Thank you! I have some of my own areas where I need to say it aloud, “I’m not giving up!!” And I think I’ll do that today! Keeping that verse close, too. We are fighting different but the same battle. That sounds like a crazy person, but I think you will get it! :) Saying a prayer for you this morning!

  2. Oh Arabah!

    There have been days, weeks… Like this. Thank you for the reminder to be diligent. I think we may have to make a family crest, what a wonderful idea! Praying for you, pray for me?

    1. Oh yes, I’m praying for you dear friend! Not just weeks, but months and even years can be like this. Let’s lift one another’s hands and call on the Lord for the victory of our sisters. So thankful for you!

  3. This could not have come at a more opportune time. I know that we are meant to call upon God all of the time, yet there are times where I wonder if He hears. When that happens doubts begin to creep in. This is when I go back to remembering that we are to lean continuously on our Father. Thank you for being transparent. It is appreciated!

    1. It’s been said that our greatest battle is the daily battle to believe and I do think it’s true. Let’s fight doubt today, Carol, and stand firm in our faith. Saying a prayer for you…

  4. Okay, seriously, how do you do it? How do you know JUST what we all need to hear?

    “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.”

    Soul, meet balm. Keep your eyes on the King.

    Arabah, thank you. Again. :)

    1. Steph. Like Moses had Hur and Aaron hold up his arms in battle (see Exodus 17) so Arabah and I hold you up in prayer together. Hang in there. Jump up and down in the victory for our God knows and hears your heart cry. None of us are immune to trouble but the Victor is also the Overcomer! Ask Him to open your spiritual eyes to see the angels surrounding you with His love. Watch and see The Lord is great…taste and see The Lord is good. His banner over you is love. Say with Joseph, “you meant it for harm, but my God meant it for good.” God bless

  5. day after day I see the emails pour in from the daily posts but I don’t always open them, but the Lord told me to open today’s. As I sit in tears and great encouragement I am so thankful I did. When we are transparent we shed light on the darkness and expose the ways of our enemy to our brothers and sisters. In doing so, the enemy not only loses a victory over our own lives but in the lives of our brothers and sisters too. I am in a long standing battle for my marriage, one that some days the weight of it all is too much to bear but as I read this devotional I am reminded of Micah 7:8, “Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.” When we persevere in our faith, His strength shines through our weakness. Thank you for being transparent and lifting up your brothers and sisters.

    1. Oh Erica, you are an inspiration there fighting for your marriage. I so wish I could give you a cup of cold water as you battle long and hard, my friend! I pray for you now, that you would be strengthened in your “inner man” to believe God for the impossible. May He strengthen you anew and pour out fresh grace in your heart and in your marriage. Praying, praying today!

  6. Thank you!
    “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.”

    Although my families difficulties/trials are different from yours, the quote above is what I am speaking to myself and the enemy right now. Thanks for the reminder that God is at work and I must have persistent faith in Him and not the circumstances that are before me.

  7. You have just so beautifully described the way I have felt for this last year and given me a much needed reminder to press on. Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just like cold water to a thirsty soul. Blessings to you and your sweet family as you minister so diligently to them and to us too.

    1. Sweet Noel, He knows your deeds and your perseverance and how you have faithfully served Him where you are. He has not forgotten your labor. Don’t grow weary in well doing, my friend. Build yourself up on your most holy faith, for it is of GREAT VALUE! Praying for you today, my friend!

  8. Yes!! This post was so on time and on target. My church is going through major struggles. The temptation is to leave and go elsewhere, but God has not given me that freedom. thanks, friend for a timely, to-the-point post.

    1. Oh Leah, my heart hurts for you because those church struggles can be so difficult! Yet in time, conflict deepens community. Hang in there! The body needs your godly example now more than ever! Praying for you, friend.

  9. AJ, you are such an encouragement, thank you for showing your heart and life. As I read your story I have to wonder if I have just given up. I don’t know. It is peaceful and easy here. Not what I want or where I want to be, but I am resigned to accept life as it comes and be thankful. Maybe that’s all God wants from me now, and I struggle with delusions of grandeur. hum…

    1. Yes, I think I struggle with those same delusions, my friend. Yet I can’t help it. Honest. I think those delusions just may be prompted by the glimpses of Glory Himself. Let’s keep on expecting something majestic, yes?

  10. You definitely hit the nail on the head here. For one, I have spend hours of my life thus far in a stand-off with my four year old because he doesn’t want to pick up his toys. And I’m frustrated that I *STILL* am having to say the same old thing over and over… and over, again. But, then I remember, how many times does God have to remind me of His truths just as many times, if not more. And I do stop believing… But I need to do like you did and say out loud, “I am not giving up” and saying that “when the Son of Man comes He will find persistent faithfulness in this corner of the earth”. I pray that I won’t ever get up. That I will be found faithful.

  11. Hi Arabah, Thank you so much for this post today! I “accidentally” happened onto it today while meaning to pull up another blog I love. The Lord knew what I needed and directed my finger. I’m thankful. I was just thinking thoughts of giving up and wishing I could just throw in the towel. Some problems that don’t seem to ever improve were just thrown back in my lap today and I felt all the strength go out of me. But, reading your post has reminded me that God is here. He will never give up, and in fact, already has it all worked out for me. I just need to diligently seek Him. Thank you for your encouragement so much!

    BTW, I think your name is beautiful, but I’m not sure how to pronounce it? Could you let me know–curiosity is killing me! Thanks!

    1. Oh Summer, what a blessing to read your comment and to know how God works through our finger slips :) He will not fail us or forsake us. If only we can remember to keep our focus there, on Him. Thanks so much for your comment and visit.

      BTW, Arabah is pronounced Air-uh-buh

  12. Ah, I just SO needed this today!! Living here in our new country is so much harder than I thought it would be…my brain is having such a hard time embracing life as it is (and will be). Thank you for this beautiful, gutsy reminder. <3

      1. Thank you SO much!! I will write soon, but I had to come back and post something miraculous…my seven-year-old son made me a picture today and the focus is a rainbow in the middle of the page with “Never Give Up” written under it. Tears filled my eyes…our awesome God is definitely speaking this message to me! And today was such a better day!! Thank you again so much for praying, and for your post. <3

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