For the Women in Mexico
“I was born and raised in the US midwest, but am now raising my two kiddos on the west coast of Mexico. I am blessed to serve alongside several other mamas, as we live in community and do life together. All 5 of us read your blog here, as well as ALO (A Life Overseas), and so many posts have felt like a lifeline over the to. I doubt any of us have ever commented before- just wanted to give a shout-out and say thank you, sincerely, thank you for the effort and time and honesty. We are deeply appreciative. Many posts have been discussed in our staff meetings or over a breakfast table, and exchanged in emails as encouragement, comment on a situation or challenge. Take a breather, and rest well, we’ll look forward to your return.” –Dana
I can’t imagine forgetting the moment I read the above comment that a reader, Dana, wrote on the blog. On May 22, 2015, Marilyn concluded, after looking at my life from afar, and living through her own life’s lovely chaos, that was it was time for the two of us to take a break. Both of us had had family celebrations, we were both up against some difficult circumstances, both of us were spread too thin, we had been tempted to ‘repost’ something from the past one too many times that week. It was clearly time to take a break.
We received several loving comments that day. Many of you affirmed our need for rest but it was Dana’s remarks that really registered. How could it be possible that we had befriended complete strangers, hidden half a world away? How could it be that our words had been part of their conversations? We were humbled and honoured.
I have found myself often praying for you, Dana, and for your circle of friends. This post on endurance is for you.
I think that in light of the expectations we live under, from ourselves or from others, whether real or perceived, it’s easy to lose hope. It’s easy to get bogged down. It’s easy to feel undervalued, unappreciated and unknown or unloved. It’s easy to give up! I know. I’ve been there.
But God highly values perseverance. He places so much stake in it that he puts all of his power behind it, to support it, to endorse it. Paul writes to the Colossians in chapter 1 verse 11, “We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you have all the endurance and patience you need.”
I wish I would have discovered that tiny nugget of a verse tucked away in Colossians years ago. I wish I had happened upon it while we still lived in North India. But I didn’t– I missed it. It wasn’t until years later, living here in Kansas, that a friend showed it to me.
All of the Power of God….all of His glorious power will strengthen you. For what? What would God dedicate all of His glorious power to? To what cause would He give all of this glorious power? He gives it so that you will be strengthened. Not strengthened to work harder, to entertain more guests, to lead more people to Christ. Not strengthened to lead more team meetings, to fill out more forms from your sending agencies. Strengthened so that you will have all the endurance and patience you need.
God so values endurance and patience, He’s willing to donate all of his glorious power toward it!
But why to endurance? What does endurance accomplish? I think the answer maybe is in James 1:2-4,
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
Endurance results in our completion, our perfection. God is so completely committed to that! He wants to see us grow up. He longs for it. So much so that he has staked all of his glorious power behind it.
Years ago while reading these verses I told God how annoyed I was that it was endurance that brings about my perfection, my completion. I am still baffled by that, if I’m honest. Why couldn’t it be another virtue? Why not compassion? Or service? Endurance implies something to endure. The very words assume sorrows to go through, suffering to embrace, tears to cry, disappointments to lament. To endure means to go through that and more. It hurts. There will be pain and often true agony. Endurance means accepting from God that which will make us perfect and complete.
How odd and amazing that He provides all of this glorious power to strengthen us for such a high calling –He strengthens us to endure!
Dana, my new friend yet unmet, and others who read from far away places, this is my prayer for you. I pray that you and your precious circle of friends will experience God’s glorious power today. My hope is that you will be strengthened from the inside out, that you will have patience and the uncanny ability to endure….and that you will be filled with joy.
(Most of this is loosely quoted, tweaked and adapted from Expectations and Burnout: Women Surviving the Great Commission by Sue Eenigenberg and Robynn Bliss, 2009)
Picture Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/town-mexico-rural-village-469252/