Create + Write + Inspire
Persuaded to Continue
by Jennifer Kelly on March 31st, 2015

It's that time of year.
And you can't escape it.
It's on every television set in bars, restaurants and living rooms across America.
March Madness.
And while men and women from all over the country are set to watch the Final Four on April 4th, I'm dealing with my own kind of March Madness. And I'm not talking about college basketball.

This year - March IS Madness.
And just how much my life juxtaposes that of a basketball game is fascinating to me.

I'm in the Elite Eight.
Playing like a champ.
The first half of the game is going beautiful. It's like the greatest first half of my life.
I-GOT-THIS.

Half time buzzes in and I take a break. Feeling proud, I settle in around my teammates and listen to the final word from my coach. I grab Gatorade and head back out onto the court.
So many people are watching...

And then the third quarter comes into play.
Inexplicably.
Something HUGE shifts and I'm left wondering, "what in the crap just happened?"

I'm loosing, and not just by 2 points.
I find myself down by 12 with 30 seconds left to go in the fourth quarter.
And that's the gut-wrenching part. The-much-too-late part of the game where I suddenly realize I've lost this one. In my mind - I run the plays, examine my defense and offense, scrutinizing how in the heck it ended up this way.

And that's when the buzzer sounds.
GAME OVER.
It's time to pack up my stuff and head home.

Well, if your March is anything like mine, I'm here to tell you:
Don't quit my friend.
Keep going.
Continue in it.
Reevaluate what worked and what didn't.
GET-AT-IT.
Play another game.


Repent. Forgive. Resolve. 

So many people - I've talked to so-many-people this month that got bombarded with life stuff. Where everything was going great and then the 3rd quarter happened. The game's over and we are left licking our wounds, dealing with our pride and trying to understand what-just-happened.

Me. I'm one of them.

Divorce. Alcohol. Death. Sickness. Finances. You name it. March didn't feel like a game though, it was all very real. All real emotions and feelings and actions that have transpired. And the only way any of those are ever going to change, or get better, is to keep going. Don't quit.
Continue in love, in grace, in freedom and redemption.

In Jesus.

Every athlete that has ever accomplished any milestone in their career has talked about their "love" for that certain sport. They continue in it because they can't help themselves. No matter how bad they screwed up in a game, no matter how deep their wound is.
No-Matter-What-Happened.

All I know is that Jesus is the author and finisher of life and salvation - and there is absolutely no better resource, person, Lord, friend and Savior to keep your eyes fixed upon (and in) through this life. No matter what you are going through. 

Love sets us free because love does not quit. 
Even when you fall down, even when you fail.

During Holy Week - I can't help but re-read what Anne Lamott wrote in her amazing book Stitches, "Every time we choose the good action or response, the decent, the valuable, it builds, incrementally, to renewal, resurrection, the place of newness, freedom, justice. The equation is: life, death, resurrection, hope".

Choose the good.
Choose love.
It does build, piece-by-piece-by-piece.

Don't let one game define your life.
Get up and let love define your life.

It's messy and complicated and really hard. You have to die to so many things. You have to be willing to say sorry and humble enough to practice again-and-again-and-again.
But the more you stay in it, the better you get at it. 

Every day you have a choice. And the only way to make the right choice (the good choice), is to ask the One who can provide it. His name is Jesus. And this week (out of all the weeks in the year) we celebrate His own life, death and resurrection.

He did it for you and He did it for me.

Let's not only celebrate Easter, let's celebrate Jesus' life and work in you as we forge ahead into April. Let's huddle together. Read James 1:25. Pray. Forgive. Resolve. Hope.

Let's continue in this together.


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4 Comments

Laurna Tallman - March 31st, 2015 at 12:24 PM
I hope you don't mind; I printed this out and put in on the fridge. You have preached a better Easter sermon than anyone around here is going to hear. Grateful thanks.
Jennifer Kelly - March 31st, 2015 at 1:00 PM
I do not mind at all! In fact, all the more thrilled that you would share that with me. Thanks for you comments and I am so glad you found encouragement.
Thanks so much for reading!
Heather Caliri - March 31st, 2015 at 2:29 PM
Amen: let's choose love. Thanks for sharing this, Jennifer.
Jennifer - March 31st, 2015 at 2:34 PM
Thanks for the comments and kind words Heather!
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