Endurance is defined as the ability to withstand hardship or adversity. If any of you mamas are like me, hardship and adversity are not something I seek out. Day to day motherhood is a walk with endurance from sleep training to potty training. We also deal with uncontrollable outside circumstances. Covid anyone? I think we are all weary and want to hit the pause button.
Growing up in severe poverty, watching my first husband Gene die of terminal cancer, and becoming a widowed mom of six- I wanted no more endurance in my life. I was ready for life to get in line with my perfectly planned ideas. Straight paths I could see down, not these twisty offroad travels that left me reeling.
As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."
To grow "better not bitter" through trials we need to have the right friends, have hope for the future, and use our stories to help others.
The Right Friends
In the book of Job we can read the many examples of how not to show up for a friend who is struggling. In the book of Job in the Bible, we find a man named Job who gets tested and loses everything he ever loved. His children died, he lost all of his money and lost his health due to disease. His friends came to "comfort" him, but it didn't go very well. From superior attitudes, blame, and toxic positivity Jobs friends missed the opportunity to show up for him.
If your circle shows up in and of these ways you might need to pray and have some hard conversations. Having the right friends can give you a great advantage in the outcome of your storms. We need friends who won’t get impatient with seasons of pain as we all know they can last long. Look for godly women who will show up and mourn with you. Women who will pray over you and your battles, not deny the reality you are facing. We can be hopeful and hurting. Mamas we all know this life is hard, find your people who can walk it out with you and be that person for others as well.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. -Romans 12:15
Hope for the Future
Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God knows his thoughts towards us, that they are good and that He has has good plans for us and our future. I want to focus in on the last part, “plans to give you hope and a future.” Hope for the future is a key part of learning to endure well. World War II prisoner of war Sergeant Llyod Ponder is quoted as saying, “If you don’t have hope, you’re gone. Having hope can get you through anything.” There are various studies on hope or its lack being the factor in our ability to make it through the worst of circumstances in this life. Hope is refusing to bow to our circumstances. It is believing that we have a good God who will work things out. This doesn’t mean He will work according to our specific desires but He will bring about good.
If you are currently struggling, take heart. This season will not last forever. Lean into hope. Open your bible and speak verses out loud of hope over yourself and your battles. Remind yourself change is coming.
In this life victory often looks like endurance - Mark Dever
Help Someone with Your Story
I am sure many of have heard that the happiest people are those who help others. After my husband Gene died, my whole world changed. It would have been easy to worry about myself and get stuck there. I had lost him and through tragedy, I also lost me. As I was learning who the new me was, God put it on my heart to help others endure the heartaches of life. I don’t like things in my life that don’t have purpose. It wasn’t any different with my grief. Having purpose for my pain helped me begin to see the light.
If you are struggling to know how to help people with your story, ask yourself these questions:
What have you experienced?
What helped you endure?
What was missing that would have helped?
Use these answers to equip yourself for holding up others. The Bible says God gives us beauty for ashes. What higher calling can there be than to use the ashes in our life to bring beauty to others? Be the person you needed for someone else. Don’t let shame stop you from sharing, it could make the difference for someone struggling!
You can do it!
There is wisdom and empathy we can learn through our seasons of endurance that can be shared with others. I have heard it said that nothing is wasted in Gods kingdom. Becoming the best moms and women we can be is through the skills we gain in hard seasons. Learning to see unknowns as opportunities to trust in Gods provision not as moments to panic. Becoming kinder because we know what it is like to hurt inside.
Let's grow our endurance muscle and use it for good!