As I can I want to offer a fresh word of encouragement sharing from my experience how our Father God meets us in the middle of loving and living out our faith to draw others to freedom. The road to freedom can seem long and hard not unlike the experiences of those living as refugees from war torn nations, those walking out of years of abuse and pain in broken relationships, those facing the reality check that comes with unplanned pregnancy, and the great journey to healing from trauma. I fully believe we are offered so much more than we ever experience as Christ followers. We settle for a life in bondage to the elemental nature of this world and continue to live as Hagar when in fact we are daughters of Sarah.

Galatians 4:31
31 So, brothers [and sisters], we are children not of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

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1 Corinthians 13:7New Living Translation (NLT)

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

The other week my daughter asked me [after listening to her father and I go back and forth about how to deal with a situation] if marriage was hard.  My immediate answer was no.  I could say no because I made a decision to marry and committed to it for life.  The finality and decisiveness in that leaves no room for alternatives, a way out or complaints.  In fact the solidity and finality of that decision provide a security, peace and joy I would not otherwise know.  If she asked if we always agree, or if I have had to make compromises, sacrifices and work through obstacles well , yes, in that sense it is hard but my eyes are not moving from the horizon, being married is not optional and going back is not a choice. 

This is no different than Jesus facing the cross.  His love for us, his decision to endure out of obedience to His father and love for each one of us...his eyes fixed as he walked through suffering, hardship, opposition and what looked like failure through His death on the cross...there was no room for a way out, only a way through.  

Living from a place of decision is what makes this work easier and brings the motivation to endure.  Our family set our face 14 years ago in agreement with where Jesus lead us to love those hard to love, to share our lives with those different in so many ways, and to experience the pain of loving without being loved in return and without expectation of repayment.  We set our face and it has made the way all the more clear...full of disagreement, obstacles, sacrifices, many unknowns and many tears...yes, but not so hard that we cannot endure.  His love that never gives up and continues to say yes opens a way in every circumstance and to the hardest of hearts.

Philippians 3:12-14 New Living Translation (NLT)

Pressing toward the Goal

12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[a] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

May you be moved by a love that never gives up!  May you remain hopeful!  May you endure through every circumstance!