I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Persevere . . . or fail

Delores Topliff

Perseverance is a crucial word for me this year. So far I’ve semi-finaled in the Genesis, but didn’t place in the Frasier, though I’d worked hard and believed I’d done my best work. As my Scottish friends say, “There was a slip between the cup and the lip.” I can quit attempting novel-writing and change directions. Or analyze weak spots and work until my writing demonstrates honed skills.

Success reflects how hard we want to succeed. Young Abe Lincoln longed to read and write but had no teacher, and no materials. So he painted a wooden shovel white and wrote on it with blackened sticks to practice writing letters. The result? A man who grew in expressing thoughts and devotion until he penned the lasting words of The Gettysburg Address.

I also love the true account of a teen-age Jewish girl who worked hard to become an accomplished pianist. Just before her scheduled debut, the Third Reich locked her and her parents away in a Nazi concentration camp. She refused to abandon her dream. Instead she found a large throwaway cardboard and drew piano keys with a piece of coal. She kept her dream alive by running her fingers over those keys every spare moment until the war ended. After her family’s release, when she could again play a real piano, hearers agreed that her skill had increased. The girl’s concerts received wide acclaim, but I believe her greatest feat was keeping her dream alive. Not letting her spirit be defeated.

What price will we pay for success? Plan, pray, dream. But also put fingers to keyboard or hold a pen for minutes or hours a day until God-given stories are captured and blessed with favor to reach the audiences He intends. We are changed and blessed during that process.

What about you? What renewed commitment will you pursue with God’s help and direction? (I'm not quite ready to quit pursuing novel-writing, though I may also try some other writing projects.)
What encouraging signs does He give along the way?


  1. Before you quit, Delores, remember that Madeleine L"Engle's A WRINKLE IN TIME was turned down 29 times.

    And THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT was turned down so many times, Beatrix Potter initially self-published it.

    Rudyard Kipling received this from the editor of the San Francisco Examiner: "I'm sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don't know how to use the English language."

    What if the next editor said "I love it!"

  2. Dee, I loved this post. The reminder, "but I believe her greatest feat was keeping her dream alive. Not letting her spirit be defeated." ~Just beautiful.

    Rachelle Gardner blogged today at Books and Such about keeping a big picture perspective (my words), remembering there will be hard times. When it gets hard, we can remember we were told it would be and press through it. You have an amazing gift for stories, and a beautiful way of putting thoughts and story to words. Keep at it, my friend!

  3. Yes, Dee! You can't quit. You have a story to tell. I can't tell you how many times I rewrote Shadows of the Past. So hangeth thou in there!

  4. Teri, bless your heart. Perfect & true reminders.
    Jeanne, thank you for your kind statements
    Pat, I hear King Jameseth w/ a southern accent, and loveth it.
    Thanks all :)

  5. Dee, such a good post on perseverence ~ I especially liked the example of the young Jewish girl. I can't think of an environment more likely to cause loss of hope. Congratulations on your recognition in the Genesis! I know your Audience of One is pleased with your perseverence as He reaches HIS intended audience through you.

    Jenny G.

  6. Thank you. Yes, our Audience of One is the most important of all.

  7. Sorry I'm commenting on this so late, Dee, but I loved your post! I especially love what you said about being changed and blessed through the process of reaching for a dream. It's hard work. It really is. But God always does a big work in us when we're working big for him. :)