Notes from Jan

Second Efforts

February 26, 2016

Some Sundays after Maggie and Kate’ve spent the night, we sing on our way to church, songs like, Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory.   Today it came not so much as a camp wakeup call, but as the possible sound track for all who’ve fallen and risen by grit and grace to try again.

An insert in this Friday’s edition of USA Today recorded statistics and progress in blood cancers.  Jud could’ve been the centerfold. For a few moments I slipped into the sadness that Jud’s gone, that treatments only went so far and that he endured so much for a few extra weeks with us.  Then I reflected on how he lived those final weeks and days of rising up and going on with all he had for as long as he could.  He honored God and modeled for us, the disciplines in faith and love.

In the 7th Station of the Cross, Jesus falls a second time.  This is according to tradition, not  scripture. While I prefer to follow those based on scripture, this traditional station reminds us that we can fall again. Just ask anyone in AA or look in the mirror.  For those of you who are new to or puzzled by the notions of the stations of the cross, I urge you to go to a site called: Patheos.  Read a blog by Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts, Executive Director of the Max DuPree Center for Leadership at Fuller Seminary.  He’s written,  A Devotional Guide for Lent and Holy Week that is based on the scriptural stations of the cross.

Whether or not Jesus fell a second time carrying the cross, we know we do stumble and fall more than once. Joan Chittister writes, “The second effort makes or breaks the average person.  The second effort either deadens the soul to the rest of life or redefines us to ourselves.  The second effort becomes  the ‘I can’t’ trap, the point after which we never try again, or it becomes the ‘I can’ truth that lifts us to a new level of courage forever.”

Especially, since Jud died,  it’s hard for me to recall a day when I haven’t needed grit and grace to get up and go on.  Sometimes I also look to my eldest Grand, Lily, for encouragement. One of my proudest moments with Lily was after she’d fallen in a mountain biking race.  She didn’t pull off to the side and curl up in a heap.  She got up, scraped and hurt and finished the race.  It wasn’t about placing but finishing.

One day there’ll be something like a medal ceremony for all who’ve struggled  and climbed up out of the dirt of this life, by faith, grit and grace.  Bruised and battered, we’ll lift our faces to  Jesus, who knows best, the cost of finishing.  And just maybe we’ll hear, “Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory, children of the Lord.”

And we will have.



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  • Reply Pam February 27, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    Thank you, Jan, for your words of encouragement.

  • Reply Chris February 27, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    Again and again I love your insights on living, loving and losing!

  • Reply Dale Lefever February 28, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    Thanks Jan,

    Many of us have spent time with those who believe their failures have placed them outside of God’s love. It is comforting for them to hear that God’s infinite love and forgiveness are greater than their sin or failures. Keep encouraging us.

    Love, Dale

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