If you are pursuing a goal, you have likely been tempted to quit. Maybe it is excising more, eating healthier, saving money, or spending more time with your family.

My mother’s goal was to help translate the Bible into a language in which it has not yet been published. Tucked among the papers on her desk when she passed away was a verse from Scripture. Written in capitals, it said, “BE STRONG + DO NOT GIVE UP – FOR YOUR WORK WILL BE REWARDED,” 2 Chronicles 15:7.

After decades of work – and sacrificing much – my mom died without fulfilling her goal. Yet, she did not quit. Even in the hospital, sickened by cancer, she requested reference books so she could keep working. Does this mean that her work wasn’t rewarded?

Far from it. Nearly two years after her death, I received an email from three of my mother’s former co-workers in a land near the Caspian Sea. Unknown to me, all this time they have been faithfully praying and seeking a way to complete her work.

This week, these three women held a conference. Translators, native language speakers, and indigenous believers gathered to review my mother’s work, plan and seek funding to publish it. My eyes filled with tears as I scanned photos from their time together. These people, whom my mother loved and spent the breadth of her life to serve, were the next part of God’s plan.

Had my mom been focused only on her own part in this project, her work would have looked like failure. But life’s greatest goals aren’t centered on ourselves. They are centered on others. And it takes more than our own abilities and efforts to bring the biggest goals about.

Often in my journey as a writer, I have succumbed to the lie that success depends solely on me. Now that I am about to send the final edits of my memoir to my editor and all the behind-the-scenes people in the publishing process, I see how God has connected me to so many others who themselves resolved not quit. With their help, my work – like my mom’s — has been transformed into something that will bless others.

So, as we muddle through the middle of winter and dark skies and dreary days close in, consider your own goals. Are they worthy of your highest efforts? How will reaching them benefit more than just yourself? If they don’t, how can you enlarge them? And who might God be connecting you with to bring them about?

Now framed, my mother’s note from Scripture sits on my own desk. I read it often. Inspired by her strength and determination, I know that her work has indeed been rewarded. By the One who called her, yes. But also by the positive difference it will make in the lives of others.

What greater goal is there than that?

Meadow Rue Merrill writes and reflects on God’s presence in her everyday life from a little house in the big woods of Midcoast Maine. Her memoir, Redeeming Ruth: Everything Life Takes, Love Restores, is available for pre-order wherever books are sold.

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