Proud of my wife for staying the course and persevering PDF Print E-mail
Written by George Browning   
Tuesday, 02 May 2017 07:14

I’ve read books on the subject, heard sermons about it and even have verses about it underlined in my Bible.

This week, I’ve seen it living, breathing and coming to completion. What am I talking about you ask? Perseverance!

That’s right, I’ve always heard that word and even seen some people do it, but as of April 27, when my wife finishes her final class at the University of Louisville, I can say I’ve lived it.

In the late spring, early summer of 2011, my wife Tonya decided she was being called into a career working with the Deaf and hearing impaired.

She made a few calls, got some information and then we sat down for a long talk.

Having her return to college with three kids – who at that time were in the sixth, fifth and fourth grades, was going to take commitment. Not only commitment from her, but really all of us had to buy in and get on board.

I cheered her on, encouraged her and assured her I would do anything and everything I could to be a help-mate on this endeavor.

The only thing I asked of her in return is for her to dig-in and persevere when things got really difficult and it seemed like dropping out was the only thing to do.

Looking back over the past six years, I only recall even one such conversation. It was in the spring of 20xx. I was sick, really, really sick.

I was diagnosed with blood clots in my lungs and type 2 diabetes at the same time. I spent a week in the hospital and we were hearing things like, “You may never be able to work or have the life that you once knew.”

That was a long week in Floyd Memorial. I saw the worry on her face and the questions in her eyes, “Is he going to be OK? Should I put school on hold.”

Tonya even floated the idea out there and I said, “No!”

We knew there would be difficulties and we agreed, there’d be no reason to take that course of action – the future of my health included.

Good news, people prayed, God answered, my body healed and I eventually returned to “normal.”

Tonya stayed in school and while no one ended up knocking on death’s door, I know it was hard for her to miss basketball games.

Not be able to attend our son’s football games because they were played for two years on nights when she had classes.

I watched Tonya get behind on her school work and still push the computer and books to the side to listen to something that was troubling one of our kids.

At some point on this long and winding road the call that led Tonya down the path of working with the Deaf and the hearing impaired started to look different. Tonya began to wonder if that call was really the call at all. Maybe, just maybe, God called her in that direction, to get her to hear another call.

We had a discussion one morning on the way to church. The thought had been eating at her and the more we talked I could see her hesitation wasn’t as much about the call, as it was about what I’d think of her changing directions.

Her worry was for naught! If the call had changed, only she could really know and as long as she finished, I didn’t care what direction she went.

That conversation was right on time, and we both agreed that, “Maybe God wanted you to go down this road, to get you here to hear the different call!”

She prayed, I prayed, God answered and she answered the call.

Through lots of long nights, lots of fights between she and I, she and the kids, the kids and I; physical illness; marital problems and too many frustrating times and ups and downs to mention on May 13, 2017 the President of the University of Louisville is going to hand Tonya her psychology degree.

She persevered, we persevered and if I am being honest, not sure I’ve ever been so proud of someone in my whole life. She did it and she did it with mostly great grades. Not dean’s list great, but for someone who worked, was a wife and a mom and a student, a low B doesn’t look that bad!

Last week, Tonya let me watch one of her final video projects for a class she was taking. I was blown away at how good it was.

On May 13th, it’s only going to be about 300 feet from where Tonya will sit to the KFC Yum! Center stage where she will get her degree, but all of us will know it took a lot more steps than that.

They will tell us before hand not to cheer for individuals, but how can I not? How can we not celebrate seeing perseverance to completion? How can we not yell with excitement about seeing it to the end?

She told me she hopes that others who have wanted to return to college will see what she did and be encouraged that it can be done.

Her advice to them, “Pray, have patience and most of all, be ready to persevere!”

Let me know what you think at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .