In the beginning of this year I found these verses:
"We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul-- not the grim strength of gritting your teeth, but the glory strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful he has for us."
Now they are taped to one of my notebooks.
In the beginning they were a constant prayer. I didn't think I could endure. I wasn't sure I could make it. But I did. And there was joy in the enduring. That was completely mind blowing to me. That God could replace my fear and teeth gritting with joy and contentment. And you know what did it? It was the truth in this verse (another one that adorns my notebook):
"He kept right now going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible." Hebrews 11:27b
And it's true. When your eyes are on Jesus, you can keep right on going. He will lead. He will guide. And he'll take that teeth gritting and turn it into a beautiful expression of faith. It becomes joy filled. And that's something that only God can do. And it's pretty awesome. Because when you don't think you have the strength to endure any more, when you're sure that you aren't strong enough, when you're ready to give up and walk back to Michigan, God makes it a time of joy because of what HE can do. Because of his power. And he gets the glory.
And that's just awesome.