Due to things that have been happening around me, it has caused me to reflect on the word perseverance. Why is that some people can stick it out and make the hard choices, while others choose to walk the wimpy, worldly path that most certainly WILL lead to heartache and sadness?
I know that I have made tough choices in my life. A lot of times these choices have not been popular, but I know that they were correct choices. When you choose to dedicate your life to Christ and follow the teachings of His gospel, it can be a lonely and seemingly rewardless journey.
I have made a conscious choice to be a mother. It is not glamorous and I do not get the worldly recognition. I will never be a glamor girl with the fake breasts and lots of ME time. But this does not bring true happiness. I have the opportunity every day to serve and give of myself. As I give and lose my life to the Lord, I consistently find it again because I see who I really am and what I am made of. This is where true joy comes from. It is a gift that never stops giving and I am continually blessed because I have made tough choices in my life.
As a child I was fortunate enough to participate on many organized sports teams. I mainly played basketball and ran track and cross-country. On a team, you cannot let your teammates down. After a hard practice, you can't just sit down and cry and say it is too hard and just walk away. You work HARD every day in practice and sweat your guts out and push your body and mind to limits you did not know were possible. When you put in the hard work, it pays huge dividends. When I was a junior, our redneck little basketball team made it all the way to the Final Four in North Carolina. It was an amazing feat. Every single person on our team worked desperately hard. We were one in purpose and we had walked the tough road together. The rewards did not come right away, but in the end they did come.
I have been able to apply the lessons I learned on the court to my every day life. I am NOT A QUITTER. When I get sick of my kids because they are being total brats, I don't feel sorry for myself and fall on the ground and give up. I step back and take a look at what I am doing to see what I can do to make the situation better. I don't blame their behavior on my husband or my in-laws. I am the one in the trenches every day and when chronic problems seem to arise, I may realize that the real problem could be me.
If I am always annoyed with my husband or don't like him sometimes (and yes, sometimes I don't like him because I am human), I step back and look at what I am doing. How can I make the situation better? What fault lies with me? If I am unhappy with my husband, what am I doing to instigate the negative feelings?
I know that life is never easy. Why should it be? If it was easy, how can I grow? How can I learn to be more like Jesus? He walked the road alone. When it really mattered, when the salvation of all humanity rested upon His shoulders, He did it alone. He has already shouldered my sins and my burdens. I know I have to trust Him. That is the daily challenge. I have come to realize that when I am faced with the challenges of the world, I don't look to the world for answers...I look to God. He has promised me peace beyond all understanding. Oh, how true it is. If I didn't have challenges, how could I ever know that Godly peace? It would never be tested or realized.
Plus, I have been given a sacred trust: Raef, Zach, Eli, and my soon to be twins. My happiness is unimportant compared to the things I have to give them. It is my duty to teach them correct principles. I teach them primarily by what I do, and then secondarily by what I say. If I say one thing, and then do something else...then I am just a liar and a hypocrite. I could never put myself before my children. Of course, I have my own interests and hobbies. I don't LIVE for my children. But I have to teach them how to be adults who love Heavenly Father and understand His teachings. They have to know where they can look for answers. This is so vitally important. If I put myself and my own selfish interests above that of my children, then I have truly failed as a human being. I do not want to return to my Father in Heaven and have to be judged as a miserable failure.
So...persevere. I know what I believe and so daily, with every little choice that I make, I persevere. I draw closer to my Heavenly Father and my family circle is strengthened. My children know that they can trust me in all things. I want to earn that trust with them every single day of my life. I am putting in the hard work now, just like I did when I was on the high school basketball team. The big rewards, the eternal, heavenly rewards will follow and they will be great.