By Kathy Brenner, Middle School Teacher at St. Patrick Catholic School, Notre Dame ACE Academies Tampa Bay
Every toddler knows how to persist: “Can I have it? Please? Please, can I? Please! Please!” Bullies or kids practicing bad behaviors know how to persist. We all have moments when we might persist at the wrong things or for the wrong reasons, but by listening to how God calls us to persist, we can help build His Kingdom.
Sometimes we can persist at the right things with the wrong spirit. Every day we are called to persist in fulfilling the different roles that we have in life. As a mother, I have to persist at cooking, doing laundry, checking homework, and being the shuttle bus to and from my children’s activities. As a wife, I have to persist at being a good listener, even when my patience has been stretched thin by a long day. As a teacher, I am called to persist in meeting the needs of every student, even if they are resistant to my efforts. It is easy to know that it’s right to persist at these responsibilities; they bring harmony and order to my home and to my school. Christ’s example, however, teaches us not only to persist at these tasks, but to do them with love and an obedient heart – to go even beyond my “crutch” mantra, “Offer it up,” while I am folding a late-night load of “crisis laundry” so the kids have clean uniforms for the next school day.
Sometimes when Christ asks us to persist, it is difficult to discern which path to follow. I know this personally. After my husband and I learned that we could not have our own biological children, we embraced adoption as a way to build our family. After many months of waiting, we were matched with a young, unmarried couple expecting a baby. When we brought our new daughter home, we were filled with joy. About two months later, we received notice that the birth parents wanted to raise her with the support of their extended families, and they did not intend to follow through with finalizing the adoption. We were crushed. We began seeking legal advice, dug in our heels, and fully intended to go to court to persist with this adoption. In this time of brokenness and stubbornness, everyone had advice. The world was speaking loudly, and we had all but tuned out God’s voice. Finally, in the midst of our heartache and hardness of heart, God broke through. His plan for building our family was much greater than one that involved selfishness and battling in court. We gave our adopted daughter all of our love and provided her a safe home for those few months while her birth parents found the resources to raise her. We knew it was time to let go and persist in another direction, resolute that adoption was not just about making us parents, but also about making a loving home for a child who truly needs one. God’s plan for our family really was great; we now have two beautiful children to share life with. Persisting according to God’s will has brought us profound joy.
At the beginning of this year, we know we will encounter occasions at home and school that will require our persistence. Let us collectively commit to following Christ’s call to persist with love and a joyful spirit.
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” – 1 Corinthians 15:58