Eye on the Prize

BE ENDURING-SQUARE-01

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ALLISONToday’s post is by our special guest this week, Allison Diaz. Allison is grown from a mix of Georgia Red Clay and Canadian dust…a southern girl with a heart for God, her family and big dreams. She’s a warrior for Jesus, her husband and her family…overcoming near-tragic difficulty and standing firm as an example God is bigger than any disaster. You will be incredibly blessed by her wisdom and insight. To read more about Allison and her journey, visit her personal website,www.allisonmdiaz.com and the site she writes about living in the wake of traumatic brain injury, www.dannyandallison.com

She. She lives each day bracing the pillars of refuge in her life; her father and her husband. Both ill; both needing her. And, she bears up into the suffering, allowing them to absorb her strength to heal, to recover, to live.

She. She works two jobs to keep her family afloat after her husband’s job loss. She labors to the point of physical and emotional exhaustion. Yet, in his own pit of defeat, he doesn’t see. He doesn’t intervene. He doesn’t relieve her. And, it hurts from every side.

She. She lost her father and the grief is unbearable. Like the waves of the ocean tide, grief ebbs and overtakes in the same moment. And, she holds fast to her heavenly Father and His Word to get through the weeping. Over and over again.

Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what. (1 Cor 13:7)

33-weeks pregnant, I found myself staring at my freshly brain injured husband in a hospital bed; not exactly the circumstances we’d imagined and dreamed.

He was in a coma. He did not move. He did not talk. He did nothing.

Hooked up to monitors and a ventilator, he slept with little brain activity.

The neurologist told me that Danny’s recovery would be a marathon, not a sprint.

I am not a runner.

But, I am called to a race.

As I looked down, I found myself on the starting line.

This was not the race I wanted. This was not the life story I wanted to tell.

I wanted to have my husband whole. I wanted him there for the birth of our son. I wanted 2.5 children and our white picket fence.

Standing at the starting line, I had a choice. I had to measure the weight of my circumstances against the desire to exercise my faith.

Do I believe God or not? Do I believe His word? Do I trust Him with my life? Do I trust Him with my family? Do I have enough faith in the Creator to endure?

And that’s not all. We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance, which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness. And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God’s love. (Rom 5:3-5)

To come to a place of endurance, we must first, unfortunately, enter a place of suffering. To endure requires us to be challenged and placed under continuous pressure.

There cannot be endurance without an obstacle, a testing of faith and a decision to press though anyway.

We have that choice; to be victims or to be victors. To bow to our circumstances or to bear up into them with endurance and focus on the prize.

Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor. (Hebrews 12:2)

Christ endured the suffering of the Cross because He focused on the joy that was set before Him; the joy of saving those He loves. For love, he endured.

Since we are called to share in Christ’s sufferings, we too must keep our eyes on the joy set before us. We must rest in the hope that since Christ endured, our suffering will end. It will get better.

I did not willingly subject myself to this journey of enduring. Who does?

But, I do choose to daily take up my cross and follow Him.

We cannot live in ignorance that this world will not produce difficulty. We cannot live as Christians and expect the enemy to ignore us.

I don’t want to live in such a way that I can be ignored.

I want to run my race.

I want to fight my battle.

I want a harvest from the labor in the fields.

I want to own my story.

I want to run my race, whatever that looks like, and run it well.

It is hard and I feel like quitting.

But, He has been faithful. He has made Himself known in the times where my endurance was seemingly failing.

I have picked up my Cross. I am following Jesus.

And, it will be worth it all to stand before Him knowing I’ve poured out myself as an offering.

I have endured well.

 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Tim 4:7)

Friends, on the days you’re weary and you want to quit, rest in knowing you’re not the only one.

Get up again.

Put one foot in front of the other.

Fix your eyes on the prize.

Exercise your faith.

Love well.

Own your story.

Running, walking or crawling — keep moving.

Endure to the end.

Are you in a season where God is calling you to endure? Is it a struggle for you? Share your comments below!

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