the importance of perseverance

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Life is not easy. It’s full of challenges, and when we face those challenges, we have a choice. Do we stick with it and persevere? Or do we give up?

My mom texted me yesterday with the results from her recent MRI. On top of severe osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, scleroderma, a herniated disc in her back, and celiac disease, they also discovered she has a radial capitellum capsular edema and a posterolateral  capsular synovial cyst.

She was recently confined to a wheelchair.

In other words, the pain and debilitating illness she now faces are nearly unbearable.

Some days it feels like too much.

It is a lot for her to persevere in these times of chronic pain, uncertainty, and a rapidly deteriorating health.

Hard for her husband, children, and grandchildren to watch as well.

But she perseveres. And no, neither she nor I will tell you that it’s easy or that she doesn’t struggle at times.

Chronic illness.

A difficult boss.

A challenging relative.

The effort to lose weight for health reasons.

The challenge to bring up your grades.

Working two jobs to afford basic necessities for your family.

Being a caregiver.

Trying to move on after a death or divorce.

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These can all bring about difficult life situations where it’s easy to give up and give in.

The Apostle Paul went through many trials and hardships and perservered for the Gospel. Missionaries today persist in bringing the Truth to people who may never otherwise hear the Good News of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Even in families, friendships, and neighborhoods, faithful believers hope to plant seeds. Pastors preach to both believers and unbelievers each Sunday.

Or even the perseverence in raising our child(ren) for Christ in an increasingly sinful and hostile world. Yet, when we continue to instill in our children the importance of a relationship with God, we will someday reap the rewards.

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How do we persevere and why is it important that we do?

By keeping our eyes on Jesus. The second we take our eyes off of Him, as Peter did in Matthew 14:30-31, we sink.

Realizing that He knows the “big picture.” How it starts, the middle, and the ending. Remember that we see the tiny hand-held TV screen of life, while God sees an enormous big-screen TV. Or to look at it a different way, we see one word in an entire book, while He sees the entire book – every word, sentence, paragraph, and chapter.

Remembering that even in times of hardship, He loves us and will never leave us.

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Knowing that He is a great listener…and never sleeps. His “line” is open 24/7/365.

Being assured that He’s got this and was not caught off guard.

Spending time in constant prayer, giving thanks for all He has done, seeking His will for your life, and laying down prayer requests are tantamount to a close relationship with Him.

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Reading God’s Word and learning about the faithful ones of the Bible who persevered. To know we are not alone in our difficulties gives us hope and courage.

Keep going forward…even if you feel like you’re constantly going backwards. 

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Making sure you have a good support system. This can be a loving spouse and children, caring friends, and a faithful church body.

Being encouraged by listening to uplifting Christian music.

Facing each day one step at a time. Set small and realistic goals.

Life is not easy. Everyone has a struggle, or multiple struggles, that they face on a daily or ongoing basis. But with faith in God and perseverence, we can face our hardships head-on and emerge victorious.

 

 

 

 

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Movie Monday: Flying High for the Glory of God: The Orville Rogers Story

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When I stumbled across Flying High for the Glory of God: The Orville Rogers Story, it piqued my curiosity.

Orville Rogers was born in 1917. However, at 101, Orville isn’t ready to take it easy just yet. He runs marathons (and holds many world records) and keeps himself in excellent shape. His mind is sharp.

And he has led an adventurous life.

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Orville is a patriot, having fought for our country in both WWII, where he was a bomber pilot instructor, and in the Korean War. He’s also flown for numerous ministry missions to a variety of remote places.

He was the husband of Esther Beth for over sixty-four years. He’s a father, grand-father, and a great-grandfather.

But the thing that stuck out most to me in watching this documentary? Orville’s love for God and his courage in sharing that love. As a matter of fact, one of my favorite parts of the movie is when he’s in a taxi and he’s sharing about Jesus with the cab driver. (But he’s never overbearing). Orville is devout in his faith – something we don’t always see as often in today’s men.

Throughout the short movie, Orville shares about his passions: his faith, his family, flying, and running. It is never slow or boring, but rather uplifting and inspirational.

I found myself wishing the movie was longer – I wanted to know even more about Orville’s life and his testimony. His book, The Running Man: Flying High for the Glory of God is next on my list!

Flying High for the Glory of God: The Orville Rogers Story is available to stream or to purchase as a DVD. It is appropriate for the entire family.

Rating: 5 stars.

 

 

the importance of authenticity

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What do you think of when the word “authentic” comes to mind? An antique? A piece of jewelry? An artifact? While these things deal with authenticity in their own ways, there is another, more important type of authenticity. It is the vulnerability of allowing others to see our true selves and that we have flaws. It’s the sometimes-scary act of “being real.”

In today’s world, authenticity isn’t always a common thing. How can you be authentic? Here are some ways…

Put others first. Think of others better than yourself (Philippians 2:3).

Act the same no matter who you are interacting with. Are you the same person with the one you think can advance your career as you are with the person who can offer you nothing?

Don’t compete with others. We all have God-given gifts, talents, and strengths. Don’t begrudge someone for a gift/talent/strength you wish you possessed, but don’t.

Show no favoritism (James 2). Treat the person who lives in the run-down trailer on the bad side of town the same as you treat the person who lives in the mansion on the golf course.

Be genuine. If you say something, mean it.

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Avoid trying to impress others because of their social status, wealth, or appearance.

Be a person of integrity, both while alone and in the presence of others.

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Avoid being condescending or a know-it-all.

Show compassion and empathy when someone is struggling with a problem. If you yourself have dealt with the same issue, gently share what helped you. (Second Corinthians 1:4).

 

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Movie Monday: Unplanned

“What she saw changed everything.”

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When Unplanned finally came to my small-town theater, I was excited to support this film that was unapologetically pro-life. Based on the true story of former Planned Parenthood Clinic Director, Abby Johnson, Unplanned is a movie that stays with the viewer long after the credits roll.

There are some difficult scenes to watch, namely:

At the beginning when Abby is called to assist with an abortion,

The scene with Abby in the bathroom after taking the abortion pill RU-486,

The scene with the young girl who nearly died when her uterus is perforated during an abortion,

And when Abby is called into the POC room at the beginning of her tenure at Planned Parenthood and we witness the tiny parts of a baby needing to be reconstructed to be sure the doctor removed all parts during the abortion.

Disclaimer: I did avert my eyes during several of those scenes.

There is also some minor language throughout the film.

Perhaps one of the ironies I discovered with the Unplanned movie is that horror flicks that garner an R rating show disgusting and oftentimes perverse themes. Bloody corpses, zombies, and the like are commonplace for that genre. (You can probably sense that I am not a horror flick fan and have seen only one in my life as a teen, and one I regret subjecting my eyes to).

In contrast, Unplanned shows the reality on film of tiny babies being murdered. It’s truth, not something from someone’s imagination like a horror film.

I loved how both Abby’s husband and her parents, while in disagreement over her choice of career, stood by her and prayed for her heart to be changed. Friends she made along the fence outside the clinic did the same. Prayer is powerful, and when God has a plan, nothing and no one can stop it.

Perhaps two of the biggest themes in the movie are redemption and forgiveness. Forgiveness not just of others, but of oneself. Abby struggles to forgive herself for her role in contributing to thousands of abortions and for her own abortions.

One of the other things I really appreciated about the movie was that it did not condemn women who have had abortions. As I discuss in my blog post the importance of life, a close friend of mine had an abortion years ago. She confided to me that, while she remains pro-choice, not a day goes by that she doesn’t think about her baby and what he or she may be like if she had chosen life. She struggles with forgiving herself.

Thankfully, we serve a mighty God, who can forgive us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). Abby discovers this in Unplanned, as she, too, has had not one, but two abortions.

Is Unplanned difficult to watch? Yes.

Is it intense and grisly in parts? Yes.

Will it leave you emotional and burdened for the preborn? Yes.

Is it a movie for children? NO.

Sadly, when we entered the theater, we noticed that several back row seats were filled with little children – some about three or four years old and none older than about seven. While this movie is an important one, it’s not one for children. I honestly cannot state that often enough. It’s not for children. It’s not even for young teens.

Due to the graphic nature, this movie’s target audience is older teens and adults. And those older teens should be watching it with their parent(s) and discussing it afterwards.

But while this movie isn’t for young teens, it’s important to begin discussing with your children the importance of life. Our girls knew that a baby was a baby from the moment God placed it in a mommy’s tummy. That was our simplest explanation when they were little and discussions were age-appropriate as they grew older.

I would highly recommend this movie. But be warned, it will change you. Bring a box of Kleenex and a prayer in your heart. It will leave you with a prayer for people to again someday see the value of life “from womb to tomb,” a prayer for those contemplating abortion that they would choose adoption or to raise the child themselves, and a prayer for those women who have had abortions. That God would heal their broken hearts.

Rating: Five out of five stars.

 

5 ways to start your day off right

5 ways to start your day

You wake in the morning and fling open the curtains to find another beautiful sunshine-filled day. Perhaps you reach for a cup of coffee or head to the shower before tending to your job as a wife, mom, employee, or all of the above. Whatever your plans, be sure to do the following to start your day off right.

Drink a glass of water. According to the Livestrong website, there are several benefits of drinking water right after waking. And it’s a great way to start toward your daily hydration. I keep a bottled water on my nightstand for that very reason.

Spend time with God. Even before I open my eyes, I spend time in prayer thanking Him for giving me another day and praising Him that everyday His mercies are new. I ask Him to help me to be a blessing to others and then offer my prayer requests to Him. Immersing myself in His Word is my next plan of action.

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Spend time with your spouse and kids. My husband heads to work before 5:00 a.m.,  before I wake during the week. However, on the weekends, we spend some time together before embarking on our day.

As a mom, one of the things I do first thing during the week is to spend a few minutes one-on-one with each of my daughters. My youngest daughter loves to have everything planned out for the day, so that is one thing we discuss before praying and going our separate ways until breakfast. Speaking of breakfast…

Be sure to eat a healthy breakfast. On Thursday mornings, I teach an early cycling class, so time is more crunched than the rest of the days of the week. However, being sure I get a good breakfast helps start the day off right and gives me energy for daily activities. WebMD has an excellent article detailing why breakfast is so important.

Do some gentle stretches. Stretching relieves tension and prepares you for the day. It also helps with circulation. As one with a former ankle injury, I always integrate ankle rotations into my morning stretches as well. (Always check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program).

And if you need some fun music to get you going while you are doing stretches, check out Good Morning by Mandisa.

So embrace every morning and remember that each day is a gift and a chance to start over!

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Movie Monday: Beautifully Broken

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One of the things I love about reviewing movies is that I often come across amazing ones that stick with me long after the credits have rolled. Beautifully Broken is one such movie.

Three families worlds away face brokenness…and healing. Their lives intersect across the globe during the Rwanda Genocide of 1994. Three fathers face difficulties while attempting to protect their families. One father is on the run with his wife and daughter to escape the massive killings occurring in his beloved country. Another faces a difficult decision that must be made to save his family. And the third, across the ocean in the United States struggles with a wayward daughter and the terrible secret she’s kept hidden from he and his wife.

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One of the things that struck me most was the reliance on God by William, of the Rwandan Christians and main characters in the movie. As a husband and father, he took his job of loving and protecting his family seriously. He relied on God for his every breath. To see such an amazing display of love and reliance on the Lord was humbling and not something one sees often enough in our country.

The movie, based on a true story, offered excellent reminders to fathers and husbands to lead, protect, love, care for, honor, and cherish their families.

Another topic that was prevalent in the film was immigration to the United States. I appreciate the way it was done legally and through the proper channels, as intended.

Beautifully Broken is a movie of hope. Of redemption. And of forgiveness. Be sure to have  a box of Kleenex ready and consider purchasing this movie, rather than streaming it. You’ll want to watch it more than once – yes, it’s that good.

I rate Beautifully Broken a five out of five stars. It is appropriate for ages 16 and up due to a couple intense and graphic war scenes, and an assault (not shown).