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CHRISTIAN LIFE IN LONDON | SPRING 2024 EDITION
Don't Give Up
CURRENT COMMUNITY STORIES
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By Melanie Stevenson

You may be tired. Tired of timing. Tired of transition. Tired of today. Tired just thinking about tomorrow.

Maybe the situation you're experiencing is wearing and it's getting harder to place one foot in front of the other.

You're tired of putting on your game face. Tired of facing the next conversation in a mile of unpleasant ones. Tired of going to bed at night feeling lousy and waking up feeling the same. Tired of wondering when hope hiked off and left you alone.

Let me share a story. In my mid-twenties I joined a running group. The first night I showed up they were heading out for a 10K run. I had never run that far before. These people had. In fact, they were hardcore runners and trained almost every day. Somehow, I made it through that first night.

Months later, a fellow runner suggested I come out on Saturday morning for a long run. The following Saturday, I dragged myself out of bed at some inhumane hour. It was mid-January and terrifyingly cold—minus 22 degrees Celsius cold—and still dark. I had neglected to ask exactly how far the "long run" would be and learned too late that it was 22KM long. Again, somehow, I made it through. I may or may not have experienced mobility issues the next day!

From there, I began training for a marathon. I figured I'd managed to deliver three babies—also rather painful and lengthy—so how hard could running 42KM be? I started with Around the Bay, a race in Hamilton, Ontario. It was the furthest I'd ever run... 30KM. There are rolling hills near the end of the race that culminate in a rather large and long incline—think escarpment—before the flat to the finish.

I remember the feel of my wobbly legs after that final hill and how they began to lose the purpose for which they were made. I was nearly delirious, my brain willing my body to keep going, and saying things aloud such as, "Not far now. You can do this! You're almost there!" Once again, I made it through to the finish line, this time to be enfolded in a thermal blanket and the arms of my husband and kids. Five months later, I was able to reach my goal of completing a marathon.

Here's how this ties together. Sometimes our hardship seems endless. We're tired. Our legs are unsteady, and we desperately want to stop, to give up the race. But we know we can't reach the finish line by standing still. We need to keep going, to move through this place—however painful—to reach the other side.

In trials, I need to remind myself that this struggle won't last forever. This isn't my permanent location. I'm just passing through. I'm climbing the hill. I'm taking the next step and the one after that. I will myself not to stop, I ask God to help me not to give up. And even if I feel tired and weak, I trust I'm getting stronger with each step. I'm building spiritual fortitude.

I may have questions. I may feel discouraged, but I need to show up for the long run. No matter how dark, how long, or how far. I must keep going even when my legs aren't cooperating. Whatever I do, I can't quit. Every hardship I face, every escarpment I scale, makes me stronger to face the next hard thing. The same applies to you. You are more resilient than you think. There's more grit inside you than you know. Sometimes it means talking yourself up the hill when your body is screaming for you to stop. Sometimes it's simply taking the next step, the next breath. But don't give up now. Neither be content to just get by. Dig in. You still have things to do.

Your voice, your influence is valuable. You make a difference every time you show up. Don't be lulled into lethargy. Don't be tempted to quit this hard thing you're facing. Your character, your growth, depends on it. Train through the tiredness—or the wilderness— knowing that it's making you stronger and more beautiful. Afterward, you can run alongside another or cheer a fellow runner along.

You will make it through this long run to the finish line to be enfolded in the blanketing love and comforting arms of your Saviour. And you'll be a light to others struggling on their journey to do the same. Don't give up!

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)

" Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed." (Hebrews 12:12-13)

About the author; Melanie Stevenson
Born in England, Melanie has never lost her love of British tea and gardens. Her family immigrated to Canada when she was five years old and settled in southern Ontario. Years later, she entered the University of Waterloo as an English major and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.

Growing up, Melanie was passionate about reading, writing, and drawing. She wrote her first novel at age twelve. Since becoming a Christian at age eighteen, she has filled countless journal pages with prayers which became the inspiration behind her devotionals.

One More Tomorrow (September 2019) is Melanie’s debut novel (the first line of which was conceived in an airport terminal) and won Best Romance at the 2020 Word Guild Awards. Her second book, Soul Focus – Trials (November 2019), is a selection of devotionals written over a span of ten years. Melanie was the winner of Best New Canadian Author at the 2020 Word Guild Awards, and received runner up for Best New Manuscript at the 2021 Word Guild Awards.

Click HERE to visit Melanie’s website.