The last time I was at my women’s group one of the women looked at me and said, “There is something about you Kelley that I’ve noticed over all the years I’ve known you, and I tell other people this about you…” I got really nervous. I’m sure there are a lot of things people notice about me, but I’m not too sure I want to know what they are. Just the things I notice about myself don’t always make me comfortable.
She said,”The thing about you is that you always persevere. With all the things you’ve been through and everything that’s happened in your life, you never give up.” Honestly, I’m old and can’t remember stuff like I used to, so I’m not sure if that’s exactly what she said. I am sure that’s what she meant. Of course, I started thinking about it and wondering what exactly that meant to me. How would I give up if I wanted to? I mean, what would that look like? Would I just not get up in the morning? How would one do life without persevering?
Then, I started to figure it out. It made more sense when I started thinking about the times I didn’t persevere. One was when I quit the Sheriff’s Academy after 10 weeks. It was too hard. I was too tired, I missed my kids, and I sucked at it. Later, I regretted it like nothing else. I dreamt of it, it plagued my thoughts for two years. Until I finally went back through the entire hiring process and returned to the academy and completed it. The time I put in before was an advantage to me and the second time was way easier. (Using the term loosely)
The other time was when I left my first husband. It was also too hard, and I wasn’t happy. I wanted more, and I wanted something else. I wanted to make me happy. Needless to say, I still live with this one because I can’t go back in time. I wouldn’t if I could, because some things you just can’t do over. I obliterated the lives of my two children because I wanted more. I get to live with this knowledge forever. With that being said, I also live under grace and forgiveness.
Because of these experiences, I hate the feeling of regret and of things undone. That is why I choose not to give up. I get the same feeling from working out. Think about it. During a hard workout, you can always quit. Or, you can choose to just go one movement at a time. Just doing it. One more rep, one more step, and soon enough you are done and it’s under your belt and you are now a bit stronger than you were before your workout. Same in life, you grow with each trial, or event. When working out, I know there is an end. A shower and clean clothes, maybe a snack or two? In life I believe in an end. I believe I’ll have more there than anything I’ve ever had or will ever have here. I believe it as strongly as I believe there is always an end to my workout.
Everything here is temporary, everything in the end is forever. What can happen to me here that wont be ok in the end? Worse case scenario, I die. Christ in me is to live and to die is to gain. Paul said that and I believe it as deeply as my heart beats. It’s part of my wiring and make up. That is why I can persevere. I’m on this journey and that is my end. I want to stand right in front of God and have Him say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
Well done! That means I followed my heart in believing I did what He wanted me to do. When I wanted to leave my second husband I held fast. I wanted to put in the time, and grow and overcome. When I almost lost my daughter, I wanted to represent to her who God was, so I didn’t give up on her, because he never gives up on us. When someone hurts me I don’t hurt them back because I know the difference and to do so would be giving up on who I am. It would be a choice to do the wrong thing, and I know the right thing, so I have no choice at that point. I do right because I can. I once asked my counselor why I had to be the one to do better or make the effort. She responded to me by saying, “Because you can.” Those three words changed my life.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not fabulous, I struggle. I struggle so hard because I really want to be the biggest jerk ever, and if I could get away with it I would. I’m not even kidding. The people closest to me know I’d be the mouthiest, bossiest, most revengeful person you’ve ever met if there were no repercussions. Who wouldn’t? But seriously, can you imagine the guilt and regret and pain you’d be in? I have enough of that, I don’t want any more.
Everything I do is because I want to represent my God and fight the good fight. I want to be a warrior, a survivor, and someone who makes it to the end of the race. I may be the last one in but I’m going to finish, even if I’m walking.
Stay strong, fight the fight, and just make one movement at a time. I’ll be here doing the same.