Not-So-Many Words (learning how to live fully)

To live fully the life we have been given is not so easy. Oh, it often looks easy in our heyday of innocence (that time between birth and age 5; okay, for some maybe into the double digits).

After that, living can be downright difficult—at least at times.

My early years largely played out in the typical fashion of that era: carefree years of play intermingled with a healthy dose of hard work, family, and worship. And then real life became a reality; when ugliness, stress, and difficulty began to weigh on me.

Nothing monumental happened right away, it was just the bigness of life itself that seemed to rob me of my contentedness. Only dear friends and family would notice—and only if you looked really close.

Later, the “uppers” of college graduation, marriage, and a real job gave way to significant losses. Losses of children long dreamed for and losses of dreams long planned.

Life threatened to swallow me up!Dadresized

Difference Makers

However, I had two important assets going for me: an amazing, loving, big-shouldered, never-let-me-go Father and Savior (whom I didn’t know real well or even want to know at times [He is there for all of you as well!]) and a supportive family that taught me to never quit.

Sustenance and eventually joy came back into my life through that powerful combination.

Navigating through the twists and turns of our time on earth is much easier when there is a guide. One such person on my journey was my father.

Navigating through the twists and turns of our time on earth is much easier when there is a guide. Click To Tweet

Without knowing it, my dad taught me through example about living life despite setbacks. He demonstrated how to live fully, even when it is hard.

Life certainly wasn’t easy for him (or so many others) growing up during the Great Depression. And the loss of his older brother declared missing in action during the Korean War added weight to the heaviness of carrying on.

But carry on he did!

Through long hours toiling to provide for his wife and six children, he kept living with few complaints. Health issues set in and age advanced, but Dad refused to let them squelch his willingness to participate in the process of life.

He has always risen above the circumstances, not only to participate, but to continue to pursue the things he loves: driving truck, tractor, and operating his bulldozer (despite a terrifying spill off the trailer—thank you, Lord, for your divine protection!)

to live fully the life he was given.

As far as I can remember (which I have to admit, isn’t very far), my dad never sat me down and discussed with me how to get through the toughness of life, to carry on. In fact, Dad wasn’t one to verbalize much of his lessons.

He just taught by doing.

We will all face ugliness in this world; we all enter into valleys whether they are deep crevices or gentler dips, but I learned how to keep going by watching my dad.

At 81 (now 86), Dad could let fear stop him from really living and simply wait to meet the Lord. No one would blame him. After all, with a heart that required serious intervention a few years back and the assault of age, shouldn’t he sit back and “play it safe”?

But, that’s not good enough for Dad.

live fully

Live Fully

He continues to walk an hour every day (up and down “roller coaster” hills), works hard, worships God regularly, and does the things he loves because he loves them (like jumping out of airplanes at 85 and taking a hot-air balloon ride at 86!). My dad taught me the value of working hard, but he has also taught me something of even more worth.

Dad taught me to live fully the life I’ve been given—with his not-so-many words!

Learn to live fully the life you've been given. Click To Tweet

Our life stories will rarely, if ever, unfold the way we would have written them. Often other people’s roles look so much more appealing or the crosses they bear seem to be so much lighter than our own.

We have two choices.

  1. We can be be bitter about the lot we’ve been given and stumble through.
  2. Or we can let God redeem the ugliness and run our race the best way we know how all the way to the finish line, just like my dad is doing. We can live fully right to that new beginning promised to every Christian!

By “letting go and letting God” the blessings of this earthly life will be revealed. We will finish the race in glory!

By letting go and letting God the blessings of this earthly life will be revealed. We'll finish the race in glory! Click To Tweet

“And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope” (Romans 5:3).

Reflections: Who has imparted important lessons to you along this journey called life? Let’s give tribute to them in the comments. 

By His grace ≈


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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

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