Monday, June 9, 2014

I Am Not A Quitter

I do some of my best thinking underwater. I am a swimmer and have been since as long as I can remember. Under water I feel safe and secure. Perhaps it has to do with being in my mother's womb. Sounds kind of crazy I know but it feels safe and comforting under the water.

The past 9 months have been some of the toughest I have experienced. I faced things I never dreamed of. I experienced difficult relationships that challenged everything I thought about who I am. I have questioned God like never before.

Grief has become my middle name. I can remember some years ago saying that I never wanted my life to be defined by loss. I have known bone numbing grief since a small child. Grief can rob you of your joy faster than anything.

I stopped writing thinking that I had nothing to offer. I am a perfectionist by trade. It's not that I am not honest in my writing because I think I am. It's the energy it takes to write things down on paper that has been beyond my scope of things to do. So my writing has just sat.

In March we passed the 5 year mark on my husband's illness. We have had many ups and downs. In the five years we have added more symptoms and more diagnosis. His newest is rheumatoid arthritis pretty much in most parts of his body. More medicine, more tests and more pain. It's the pain that I hate, it is the enemy in my thinking. Yes, we may get an hour or two that actually seems like life could be normal again and then BAM, it evaporates as quick as the rain on a hot day.

All the hope vanishes just as quickly. All the dreams we had of ministering together in a small congregation now that the boys are grown and gone have disappeared. Are there people worse off? Absolutely and I get that. But for my husband and I of almost 37 years our reality is quite different then we ever imagined. It's a grieving process.

Loss, loss again.  How to you function when grief comes knocking at your door once again? Do you curl up in a ball, which sounds like a great idea to me at this point or do you transcend the grief? It would be so easy to quit. Life is hard. Life is not what I had imagined or anything even close to it.

Those are the thoughts I had the other day as I swam lap after lap. Typically when I am about at lap 30 I think it might be time to wrap it up and be happy with two-thirds of a mile. It is in those moments when I realize I am NOT a quitter. I don't stop the workout at almost a mile, I go the distance.

I remember the time my brother came with me to ride my first 100 mile bike ride. The temperature in St. Louis that day was 106 degrees and about 95% humidity. At mile 90 I just wanted to quit. By that point I hated my bike and anything to do with it. I questioned my sanity. The ground was so hot that day the tar roads were melting onto my tires. I wanted to take that bike and throw it as far as I could and walk away. But I didn't because I am NOT a quitter.

I refuse to quit. No matter what life throws at me and right now there is a lot I am not going to quit. I will not give up before I get to the finish line. It would be so easy to quit right now but I won't. I finished that mile in the pool. I swam and I swam and didn't give up.

Here is the verse that I am holding onto today. As context, Jesus has been talking to his apostles. It is the last things he is telling them before he goes to the cross. The apostles are not only afraid but bewildered. They don't know what to do or where they should go. So here is the verse;

John 16:33 "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."

Till next time.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".


  1. Oh Jill. I have missed you so much, and your writing of course as well. I wish I had a way to help make things better for you and Rich. If there is ever anything I can do, please let me know.

    I am not a quitter either. I sort of took pride in that. Then there came a time when "quitting" in a situation was all I could do... and it took a long time for me to understand that it wasn't about the things I quit on~~ it was about the other things that the quitting allowed me to remain dedicated to. (Sometimes I still forget for a little while).

    Please keep writing as you are able, even if it's just a few words. I love you.

  2. Thank you so much Jen. I have watched your journey and you are living proof that God lives inside of you. You have not quit God and that is all that matters my friend. Love you too