Tag Archives: perseverance

Perseverance Gets the Job Done…

     I was cleaning my home office the other day and ran across several small scraps of paper on which I’d written what I consider ‘delicious’ words. I’m forever jotting down a catchy phrase or quote worth pondering on whatever is handy—back of a receipt, napkin, envelope, torn-out-page.

     Perhaps not the best habit, but truthfully, one I have no intention of breaking!

     The day I was tidying up my office, I came across a quote scribbled on a now-expired coupon. Right about that same time, I received photos my husband took while he was on a guys’ getaway to Palouse Falls in southeast Washington. This photo seemed tailor-made for the quote:

A river cuts through a rock not because of great power but because of its perseverance.
     Perseverance in an essential characteristic necessary to accomplish any significant undertaking, whether a river cutting through massive rocks, completing a daunting project or changing an undesirable habit. I like how the NIV translates James 1:4:

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

     Are you, like me, involved in an endeavor that will require perseverance in order to succeed? Yeah, it’s hard. At times it’s boring. Sure, sometimes it’s wearying.

     Despite all these inconveniences, how about we agree to hang in there and let perseverance finish its work?

I’ll be cheering you on each step of the way…

Sue Reeve

Persevering and Remaining Faithful…

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race,
and I have remained faithful.
2 Timothy 4:7

Sue’s Note: There’s something quite remarkable about a person who trains for a big athletic event. I’m always impressed when I hear about the rigorous process and discipline—setting and achieving one ambitious goal after another—running one more mile, cycling a steeper hill, swimming another lap, rising an hour earlier.

     Even if someone trains for only one event, deciding that was “one and done,” I’m impressed, but my admiration deepens when an individual perseveres and repeats the process. 

     My friend, website manager, and today’s Listening on the Journey… guest blogger, Stephen, is one who not only perseveres and finishes races, but he is also a man who remains faithful to friends, family and faith in the process. I know his words today will inspire you.

Stephen writes:

     As I stood on the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene waiting for the start of the biggest race of my life, IMCDA70.3, my mind was racing. I knew I had put in a lot of time training, but would it be enough? Before coming to a definitive answer, the horn blasted, and I ran into the frigid lake for my 1.2-mile swim.

     Before I continue, I would like to share about the journey to IMCDA70.3 and how it would not have happened without a ton of perseverance and prayer.

     The day I signed up for this race, I sat in the dining room of our rental house. I remember feeling a mix of nerves and excitement. I felt guilty about the cost of the race and the time it would take not to just finish but finish well.

     What I didn’t realize is all that would be involved in the journey I would take on over the next 6 months….

     We began house hunting in March and had almost given up. The housing market in Liberty Lake was very tight, and we couldn’t find anything that met both our needs and budget. After a few near misses, I found a house that turned out to be “the one.” The Lord blessed us with a house that turned out to be more than we could have asked for.

     Anyone who has moved knows how much time it takes. Time, I needed to be training was instead spent packing boxes, cleaning and moving.

     Training for a half Ironman takes an incredible amount of time. Working from home afforded me the flexibility I needed to maintain this rigorous schedule. In April, I accepted a new job which meant I would no longer be working from home, and this impacted my strict training schedule. Nonetheless, keeping my goal in mind, I needed to adapt, be flexible and train whenever I could squeeze it in. The same spiritual discipline I had built up last year, spending time in the Word before training, was applied to this rigorous training schedule.

     Months of hard work and preparation all came down to this day. I felt great in the water and even tried to keep an eye out for Ron who I knew was in his kayak, out there somewhere along the course.

     Running through the transition area to the bike, I saw my wife, Jamara, and three girls cheering for me, along with my Dad and Pastor Gary. I get chills now thinking of them being there to support me.

     As I reflect on this journey, I remember them cheering me on along the CDA Marathon course last year with cow bells, gu gels, water and every other crazy thing I needed along the way. They have been at every race, cheering me on. When I was tired and just wanted to be done, they were there to pick me up. This is no different than our walk with the Lord. One famous poem, Footprints in the Sand, is a reminder that God never leaves us; He is always by our side.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Galatians 6:9

     The bike is my favorite part of a triathlon. This is where I am strongest, and usually, where I make up time. This year I have battled issues with my right knee and hip, but not on race day. It wasn’t until I was flying down Mica Bay on my way back into town that I realized my knee and hip felt great. I knew a lot of people were praying for me that day. I recalled Sue’s email with an encouraging word, and it meant the world to me. The sun was beating down on me during the run, but I stuck to my plan.

     My training paid off.

     I finished!

     No matter what race you are running, goal you are trying to achieve, mountain you are trying to climb, you will get there much faster and arrive in one piece when the foundation of your training is in prayer.

     What are your dreams?

     What is the one goal you would love to achieve if nothing held you back?

     Don’t give up. Don’t listen to negative messages from others.

     Just remember to persevere and FINISH!

Stephen Robinson

My amazing support crew after completing CDAIM70.3. I could not do this without their support and encouragement. #CDAIM70.3 #FINISH

Traveling Through Tough Times

Oops! Recently, you received the second of two posts my friend, Jackie Anderson, had written. The first wasn’t sent, and I apologize. Today, I am pleased to share both of Jackie’s insights with Listening on the Journey… readers. I know you’ll enjoy her perspective of how to deal with tough times she learned while meditating on a portion of Scripture from the New Testament book of James. Read more…

Jackie has been my dear friend for around 20 years. Ron and I met her and her husband, Dr. Duane Anderson, when they invited us to attend a small group held in their home. Our daughters were high school friends. As time passed, our daughters graduated from college and married. A few years later, I shared grandma joys with Jackie. Our friendship deepened, even though Jackie and Duane now spend most of their time serving as medical missionaries in Ethiopia, and we’re able to get together only a few times each year.

Thank you, Jackie, for sharing your heart and your wisdom with us today!


by Jackie Anderson, guest blogger

Part 1

     “Why, Lord? Why me?”

     I struggled with infertility for four years. As a new Christian I also struggled with doubts about God’s love. “How can a loving God be so cruel to me? He is supposed to know what I need. Why is this happening?”

     Life is hard. We all wrestle with God for understanding in trials or we end up tossed about on the waves, miserable.

     I love the story of the little boy who wanted a dog. He begged God for a dog, but his grandfather told him sometimes God doesn’t give us what we want but rather wants us to have character. The little boy thought for a moment, “But I don’t want character. I want a DOG!”

     I laugh at that story because it is so much like me. I want something, and it is hard to submit to the idea of a greater joy in God’s plan. One thing that has helped: I memorized and meditated on James 1:2-9.

James 1:2-4 says, Consider it all  joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your  faith produces endurance. And let endurance do its complete work so that  you may be mature, lacking in nothing.

     ‘Consider’ is from a Greek word that means to think things through or “to make a decision about something after weighing all the facts and circumstances.”

     I really like God’s heart in this word. He knows our first reactions to difficulties can be negative emotions rather than joy. Our hearts rise up with anxiety, pain, fear or anger. I shed tears so many times before submitting to God’s plan.

     Even Jesus struggled in the garden before submitting to the perfect will of the Father. He submitted because he considered the joy of the future when His bride would be made blameless.

     As believers, we don’t stay stuck in that mindset of fear and worry.

     One day during my struggle with infertility, my 3-year-old son asked me why I was so sad since “Jesus loves you.” That simple truth helped me come to a decision that God is good and in control. I KNOW that God loves me. He proved it on the cross.

     I can KNOW that this is a test of faith.

          I can KNOW that God has a plan to produce maturity.

               I can KNOW that this is the great joy.

My encouragement to you today is Consider: think through what you know and find God’s perspective.


by Jackie Anderson, guest blogger

Part 2

     My family watched the Olympics this summer and admired Michael Phelps. He overcame trials and failures. The joy of the Gold motivated him to persevere.

     Then I watched Eddie the Eagle, a movie about Eddie Edwards, the notoriously tenacious British underdog ski jumper who charmed the world at the 1988 Winter Olympics. What an inspiring story to persevere!

     The Israelites in the wilderness do not inspire! They saw God’s miracles over and over yet they continued to complain and lacked faith. No food? No water? God just opened up the Red Sea! But they whined to Moses and God. These trials were meant to strengthen their faith. Finally, God declared they would not enter his rest because of a lack of faith. They didn’t have the faith that stayed true.

James 1:2-4: Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance do its complete work so that you may be mature, lacking in nothing.

     Knowing implies an understanding that we see our problems from God’s perspective. We know that God has a plan, and He uses trials to produce the maturity He desires.

     It would be interesting to count how many times the Scriptures exhort us to “Stand Firm!” God values endurance!

“Endurance is the ability to undergo a period of stress and strain with the inner strength of Christ, emerging from it stronger than when we entered. It’s looking squarely into the face of discouraging circumstances without despair. It’s assuming that God is going to work all things for good.” Robert Morgan

     Trials come to test our faith. The word testing is the idea of exercising. It is like lifting heavier and heavier weights over our heads and standing up longer and longer! Our faith can develop muscles and strength with each trial. I want to remember this so I drew a weight lifter in my journal to remind myself. It helps me to journal some of the trials and victories so that I see the ‘smaller weights’ I have handled and have hope for the heavier trials.

     In Robert Morgan’s book, 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart, he calls this God’s secret formula:

Trials>Endurance>Maturity/Proven Character

     It isn’t always easy. It isn’t easy to find joy when you have lost a child to cancer or face a brain tumor or your body aches with arthritis every day. It isn’t easy, but Jesus showed the way; He stretched His arms on the cross so that we have a new source of strength. He also promises to be with us and to work all things for good! I have to really trust that and make it my self- talk during trials. I have found that the more I think on His promises and truth, the more I can rest in those arms of love.

     God understands it isn’t easy to find joy.

     James 1:5 tells us that if we lack wisdom, ask of God. The context is connected to the trials of verse 2. God will not punish us for struggling through trials but rather encourages us to turn to Him for the wisdom to have God’s perspective so that we stand up under trials and become the child of God that gives Him the glory. He gives us the wisdom to know what to do, think or say to ourselves or someone else who is struggling.

     No one who received the Gold in the summer Olympics did so without discipline, endurance, and strength. I want to receive the heavenly Gold Crown and give God the glory!

Note: Robert Morgan’s book 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart, has been an inspiration and a source for many of these thoughts. I encourage all my friends to use this book.

C:\Users\Sue\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Outlook\U08VSMT7\Looyenga Photography0060.jpg

Jackie and Duane at beautiful Lake Pend Oreille in Sandpoint, Idaho, during their recent return to the States from Ethiopia.