I wonder if she ever whispered, What if?

I’m talking about Nancy.  Maybe you can relate to a few (and hopefully only a few!) of the situations in her life:

Nancy had a houseful of children.  Seven, in fact.  

Nancy was well educated. 

She was also a devout Christian.

Nancy married young.

Her husband, a bit of a visionary, changed jobs and moved a lot.


The family struggled financially most of the time.

Only four of Nancy’s seven children lived to adulthood.

Her husband drank and gambled.  A lot.

Nancy’s youngest child was hyper active and “difficult”.

This same child survived a life-threatening disease, but it left him nearly deaf.   He struggled in school and was considered too slow to learn.

Despite his struggles, Nancy believed that her son, affectionately known as Al, had potential.  When teachers gave up on him, she removed Al from school and taught him at home.

Al loved to read, so Nancy gave him books.  

Al was curious, so Nancy let him explore.


Al loved to experiment with things, so Nancy let him set up a laboratory in the basement.

Nancy lived long enough to see her son make something of himself.  When she died in 1871, Al had already begun to see moderate success as an inventor and an independent entrepreneur.

What Nancy didn’t live to see was her son, Thomas Alva Edison, go on to become one of the most famous and notable inventors in American history.

Many years after his mother’s death, Thomas Edison stated,

“My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint.”

When I read the story of Nancy Edison in my kids’ history lesson this week, I couldn’t help but think of you.  Maybe your life story is vastly different from Nancy’s.  Maybe there are similarities.   

with mother

Nancy Edison surely wasn’t the only woman in history to find herself disappointed with life, and the people in it.  She wasn’t the first mother to lose a child, to hurt for her child, to wonder if she was even capable of meeting his needs.

And yet she refused to let life overwhelm her.  Because Nancy Edison chose to embrace life with determination and faith, she empowered her son to do the same.

Somehow, Nancy Edison looked past the disappointments and limitations in her life and saw potential.   

It’s inspiring to read about women like Nancy, but what are you and I doing to give the same gift to our children?

I seriously doubt your life looks as bleak as Nancy’s, but maybe you can feel her disappointment in some measure.


My husband isn’t the spiritual leader I need him to be.

I’m tired of always having to pinch pennies and do without. 

I’m sick of moving and trying to put down roots over and over again. 

It hurts beyond words to see my child struggle in areas that come so easily for other kids. 

We need a bigger house and a better vehicle.  Why do other families always seem to get the lucky break?

My life is so different from what I imagined it would be.  I battle every day against feeling bitter and disappointed. 

I don’t know what your Nancy moment might be, but I have a feeling that we all have them.  Everyone of us, including me.

Let me challenge you, my friend, to embrace life with faith and determination.


Look past the small corners of your world and catch a glimpse of eternity.  

What is God doing in your heart through the trials and disappointments?  How is He shaping you?

What does He have planned for your children?  The potential in those young hearts is absolutely limitless.

Maybe you see a child who can’t talk, or won’t potty train, or who struggles to read, or who has a bad attitude.

Maybe you can’t see past a broken relationship, a strained marriage, financial struggles, a difficult pregnancy, too many disappointments, or a loss that is suffocating your hope.

Maybe you find yourself thinking, If only things were different.  If only I were different.  If only THAT hadn’t happened.  If only someone or something would change.


Replace your “if only’s” with “what if’s”.  

What if I choose to trust…

to forgive…

to let go…

to laugh out loud…

to smile through the tears…

to dare to hope again…

to say yes when everyone else says no…

to believe in a forgotten dream…

to get out of my comfort zone…

to not let my mistakes keep me from trying again… and again… again…   

What if you just don’t ever give up?



Image courtesies: I Am a Child and Free Stock Photos
Historical sources: here, here, and here
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7 thoughts on “What if you just never give up?

  1. Thank you for this! Thank you for finding time with such a busy life to minister to us? Thank you for being obedient to follow God’s calling in your life and therefore, being a blessing on the life of those who need, even when you don’t know them. Thanks for choosing to love God’s people and to share what He is putting in your heart.

    Posted on April 9, 2014 at 10:53 am
  2. Wow! What an amazing inspiration. It reminds me of a story a friend told me recently about Monica, Augustine’s mother, who prayed fervently for ten years for her son before he turned to Jesus.

    I give up far too easily and so grateful for examples like these to press on.

    Posted on April 7, 2014 at 10:51 pm
  3. So glad I stopped by! I was wondering as I was reading along if this was going to turn out to be a true story, and had Edison in mind 🙂
    Great post!

    Posted on April 7, 2014 at 1:30 pm
  4. Such a great post Kristy! What an amazing story, and an inspiration for sure.

    Posted on April 7, 2014 at 1:16 pm
  5. Wow that was profound and hit it on the nail. It took a while for me to forgive someone but after I did, what a load off and made me so much happier.

    Great post!

    Posted on April 3, 2014 at 8:28 pm
    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Lisa. Forgiveness is definitely a choice, and we don’t always “feel” it. So glad you’ve found freedom and joy! God is so faithful.

      Posted on April 4, 2014 at 9:53 pm
  6. Great article! Thank you!! 🙂

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    Posted on April 3, 2014 at 7:28 am