The Concordia Publishing House Podcast

Overcoming Challenges Through Perseverance with Donna Snow

August 12, 2020 Elizabeth Pittman Season 1 Episode 13
The Concordia Publishing House Podcast
Overcoming Challenges Through Perseverance with Donna Snow
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The Concordia Publishing House Podcast
Overcoming Challenges Through Perseverance with Donna Snow
Aug 12, 2020 Season 1 Episode 13
Elizabeth Pittman

What challenges are you facing today? I suspect that most of us have a handful, or more, of challenges that we are struggling to conquer. Some of these may be short term challenges. Others might be really big. Maybe, you have that one big thing that never seems to go away. Then what?

How do you put one foot in front of the other over and over until that one thing has been toppled?

Today, Donna Snow is joining us to talk about perseverance in the face of lifes challenges. Along the way she’ll give us tips to confront the challenge, comfort, and most importantly, hope.

Donna Snow is a life-long Texan and coffee lover. She is an adventurous traveler, avid reader, dabbling gardener and closet chef, and home is always her favorite place to be. She has authored over 35 Bible studies, including Perseverance: Praying through Life’s Challenges, 

Show Notes Transcript

What challenges are you facing today? I suspect that most of us have a handful, or more, of challenges that we are struggling to conquer. Some of these may be short term challenges. Others might be really big. Maybe, you have that one big thing that never seems to go away. Then what?

How do you put one foot in front of the other over and over until that one thing has been toppled?

Today, Donna Snow is joining us to talk about perseverance in the face of lifes challenges. Along the way she’ll give us tips to confront the challenge, comfort, and most importantly, hope.

Donna Snow is a life-long Texan and coffee lover. She is an adventurous traveler, avid reader, dabbling gardener and closet chef, and home is always her favorite place to be. She has authored over 35 Bible studies, including Perseverance: Praying through Life’s Challenges, 

Elizabeth Pittman (11s):
Welcome to the Concordia publishing house podcast, where we consider everything in the light of Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. I'm your host, Elizabeth Pittman. What challenges are you facing today? I suspect that most of us have a handful or more of challenges that we are struggling to conquer. Some of these might be short term challenges, really small others might be purely big. Maybe just, maybe you have that one big thing that never seems to go away.

Elizabeth Pittman (43s):
Then what, how do you put one foot in front of the other over and over and over again until your one big thing has been toppled today? Donna Snow is joining us to talk about perseverance in the face of life's challenges along the way. She'll give us tips to confront the challenges, some comfort, and most importantly hope. Donna is a lifelong Texan and coffee lover. She is an adventurous traveler, avid reader, dabbling Gardner and closet chef and home will always be her favorite place to be.

Elizabeth Pittman (1m 16s):
She has authored over 35 Bible studies, including perseverance, praying through life's challenges. Welcome Donna. Hey Elizabeth, how are you doing? I'm doing great. How are you today? I am mojo. Excellent. Oh, that's great to hear. Talk about challenges you're in the Houston area and you've just had a hurricane level storm come your way. Isn't that right? Yes we did. But you know what? It kind of sideswiped us. We got a lot of rain, but it wasn't anything like Harvey a couple of years ago, but it was, you know, it's still early in the season, so I'm sure we'll get some more, but it seems quiet so far, which is nice.

Elizabeth Pittman (1m 54s):
Oh, that's a good thing. I have some friends on the East coast who have had the tropical storm knock out their power and cause a lot of, you know, wind damage and, and water coming their way. So we had definitely keep everyone in the face of storms and those challenges in our prayers. Before we get into the heart of our topic today, I've had some folks reach out with questions for you specifically about where you find your inspiration for writing. And you've written 35 plus studies, countless devotions.

Elizabeth Pittman (2m 27s):
You speak regularly to women's groups across the country. When you sit down to write something, where does your inspiration come from and where, where do you start to feel those nudges on your different projects? You know what? They come in two different ways. Actually, the first obviously is scripture. You know, I have a very, I don't want to say rigid, but I'm diligent about working through the Bible and doing daily devotions and stuff like that. And you know, every now and then something will just stick in mind that doesn't

Donna Snow (3m 0s):
Go away, you know, either a phrase or thought that comes from that scripture and it just won't go away. And that's when I know I need to start like researching and trying to figure out, you know, what, why is this sticking in my brain? And really the studies come from those kinds of things. Like, what does this really mean? How do we translate that from scripture? How do we live it out? But another way I find things to write about is actually real life encounters. And you know, you mentioned the hurricane and I had one, when that hurricane was rolling through, I went up to the Lake and I to get some really cool shots of the thunderheads coming in.

Donna Snow (3m 39s):
Cause I love cloud shots and I was walking along this jetty and this gentleman just walked straight up to me, this older gentleman. And he was on an evangelism mission. You could tell, but he was an ex baseball player that I had never heard of, but he was now a minister in a different religion. And his first question to me was, do you want to die on third? And it caught my attention because with the baseball analogy and with the Christian analogy together that has not left my mind.

Donna Snow (4m 12s):
And I thought, do I want to die on third? Okay. How do we teach people how to slide home? You know? And that was just some, so sometimes it comes from real life, things like that.

Elizabeth Pittman (4m 25s):
It's a neat thing I know you've had with all of your studies. You've had different nudges taking you different places today. We're going to tackle this topic of perseverance in the face of challenges. And I know for me personally, there have been plenty of times in my life where I have been so overwhelmed by something that all I've wanted to do is crawl into bed, pull the weighted blanket up over my head and hide, hide until the problem has gone away and I can get up and breathe easy.

Elizabeth Pittman (4m 59s):
You might be able to relate. I don't know. Some of our listeners might be able to, but what I found when those times come is that eventually there's a voice in my head that starts nagging at me and yelling at me really of this isn't going to work. This is not going to help you get past whatever is in front of you at the moment. I would imagine that hiding under the blankets is probably not the way you would recommend. We go about identifying and confronting the challenges or that one big thing that faces us. Is that right?

Donna Snow (5m 29s):
I think you are. You have just been all of us in that moment. We all want to hide. Cause we don't. We want life to go smooth and we just, we don't want ripples in the current, you know, we just don't. And you know, as you were talking, I thought of Noah because all he saw was the fact that he didn't know what rain was, what he, you know, God could have been speaking Urdu for all. He knew, you know, what is Ryan and building an arc for so long. He could only take a certain amount of people with him. And then he was on the, on the arc for so long and all he saw were storms and torrential rain and no land in sight.

Donna Snow (6m 6s):
And I really believe that that's kind of where we find ourselves with this pandemic. We can't see an end to it and it can be overwhelming, but you know, one day we are going to have to exit this arc of COVID and the landscape is going to look different, but God is still there. God is still there. And when we're trying to discern anything, we have to focus on the fact that God is still there and prayer still works. No matter what situation we're in,

Elizabeth Pittman (6m 35s):
You bring up COVID which adds a huge wrinkle to all of this because on good days, none, 20, 20 COVID days, we all likely have those things that we're faced with. And that could be anything from finances to parenting, to diet and exercise to you, name your challenge. But now all of a sudden we have this pandemic on top of all of that. And for once we all have a shared challenge that we're each having to confront in a different way.

Elizabeth Pittman (7m 11s):
How do we sort it all out?

Donna Snow (7m 14s):
Well, you know what, when it comes to stuff like this, we all have our own opinions and we all have our own points of view on how we should do things. But when it comes to actually helping each other through things like this, when, when we're getting outside of this is what I think. And everyone should think the same thing when we get past that to actually thinking, okay, how are we going to help somebody through this? We have to let compassion lead. We have to let love lead because you know, two of my sisters are nurses and one of them is in the ER nurse.

Donna Snow (7m 47s):
And when they go off to work, they look like they're heading into a demilitarized zone. You know, they look like they're, weren't hazmat suits and, and things like that. And I think everybody just needs to stay home all the time, but no, that's not letting compassion and love lead. That's not helping anyone cause we have to get through this together. And that's it realizing that we actually need each other. And during this time, if we can help each other, realize once again, that Christ walks behind us and beside us and before us and actually act like it, choose our words carefully.

Donna Snow (8m 23s):
The stuff on social media. Think about what you say before you post it. We can actually help each other and point people to Christ instead of fighting like the world,

Elizabeth Pittman (8m 36s):
Compassion is so important and we all need it. And I've talked to many people in recent months and it keeps coming back to, we need hope. We're looking for hope to get through whatever is in front of us. For those of us who might not be able to identify apart from COVID are one big thing. But we feel like we have, you know, 87 big things on our plates and we know we need to move forward, but we were not sure which direction to start.

Elizabeth Pittman (9m 11s):
How can we sort through these things and bring a little bit of clarity? So we can say, this is the challenge that I need to start tackling first.

Donna Snow (9m 22s):
That's a great question. Clarifying the real challenge. If that is everything, because until it's clarified, you don't know how to tackle it. And as far as identifying it, it actually requires really brutal honesty and a desire to change because it can be overwhelming. But a great question to bring clarity is what occupies my thoughts most like what's the pink elephant in the room. You know, there's that famous quote that says as a man thinks.

Donna Snow (9m 55s):
So he is, if we think the defeated, if we think hopeless, we're going to act it and we're going to walk that way. So how are we thinking about these things, but when it comes to clarifying or identifying it's it's, what's the one thing that keeps you up at night? What is the one thing that you think about most often during the day that really needs to be the one thing that you tackle first, whatever that is and whatever that looks like.

Elizabeth Pittman (10m 20s):
You talk about that one thing that's nagging at you and you can't get off your mind and often it'll feel like you're trying to, I know I'll do this. I'll say, Oh, it's not that big of a deal, but it keeps coming back and I feel more and more guilt each time I ignore it. And that becomes a challenge to kind of step back and say, okay, I really do need to pull the covers off of my head and step back and figure out how to tackle it. So once we have identified that big thing, what should our first step be?

Donna Snow (10m 55s):
Well, the first steps is after you've clarified it, you, you need to really identify the steps to reach it. I mean, once the goal is in place, like, like in Nehemiah building the wall in Jerusalem, he had to identify that that was the most important thing. I mean, yes, there was an economy that needed to be propped up. There were people that needed to be helped, but to bring a secure city again, he had to build a wall and once he clarified that, then it was okay. Let's back up from the goal now and figure out how to get to that.

Donna Snow (11m 25s):
And what are the steps to that? And the first thing Nehemiah did was pray. It's one of the longest prayers in, in the book of Nehemiah is the very first one that he said, and it takes up like nine or 10 verses and he prayed diligently, okay, God, this is, this is what you've laid on my heart. This is what has broken my heart. Show me the steps on how to get to where you want me to go. And it really does start with prayer.

Elizabeth Pittman (11m 52s):
It's a very good place start and, and stay connected in prayer through the whole process. How can we persevere for exhausted? Because if we're exhausted, it's going to be hard to keep putting one foot in front of the other day after day to continue to try to tackle our one thing.

Donna Snow (12m 13s):
You know, it's rest. That's what it comes down to rest. I thought of the Israelites coming out of Egypt, you know, their, their value was based on how many bricks they could make a day. They worked seven days a week and they were human doings. You know, we've heard that phrase, human doings, God had to reteach them how to rest. And even though there's a lot to do and a lot of things that need to be tackled during this pandemic and during our one thing or whatever it is, we can't forget to rest.

Donna Snow (12m 45s):
We can't forget to remember that we don't fight alone, you know, and rest is just huge and you know, we're worth more than bricks. And so exhaustion just erects an unnecessary barrier, you know, to where we need to go, that God is leading us. And if you're exhausted rest, rest, however long that takes, you know, it's interesting when this whole COVID thing first started. I had one event after another booked out, you know, and I work full time and, you know, taking care of a home and I realized going into March, I was already feeling exhausted and then COVID hit.

Donna Snow (13m 22s):
And it took me a month to, you know, when an event after event started postponing or cancelling to actually find a rhythm of rest again. And it, it took a good solid month and I'm hoping and praying that maybe during this extra time that we've had people have reconnected to, when am I really exhausted? And when do I actually need to rest and not just sleep rest, but like when you're awake, don't do something maybe that's productive. You know, rest has many different definitions.

Elizabeth Pittman (13m 55s):
It really has been a silver lining in many ways in recent months that we have had extra time. I know, and my life when March, April, may, we're effectively shut down. That's usually a very busy time in our household just because of the kids and their school schedules and end of year and heading towards, you know, spring track and graduation and all the things that generally cause me a lot of stress at that time of year, where all of a sudden, just gone and traveled.

Elizabeth Pittman (14m 27s):
It had been scheduled, was gone and we were home and we had nothing but time. And even now I'm back in the office, but what I'm still finding is the days are long because most of the extra things that eat up our time haven't returned. How can we use in addition to rest? How can we use this gift of time to work on our one thing?

Donna Snow (14m 54s):
Well, I think for me personally, it's figuring out where, where my contentment lay. I mean, I think it's challenges during the pandemic on finding queer our contentment lies. Like if our contentment is in doing, if our contentment is in being on a stage or being on a plane or being, I don't know where, but I think contentment is huge on that. You know, I think with more time, I've had time to realize, okay, the things that I thought made me content, they did to a certain extent, but it wasn't true contentment.

Donna Snow (15m 33s):
It was more, it had become a to do list. And I can just say this, honestly, you know, I'm preparing for Bible studies and preparing to speak and teach and lead women's groups had almost replaced my own personal time in the word. And I was studying to teach instead of studying to grow. And I believe the most important thing is being content in Christ is being content in his word and how it directs us each day and let that inform the rest of it instead of the other way around.

Elizabeth Pittman (16m 5s):
So if, as we're facing things, we've, we've clarified what our one thing is. And we're starting with prayer. We're making ample time for rest. And for ongoing time in the word to stay connected with our Lord. We know that when we start down that path, Satan is going to rear his ugly head and throw up obstacles. And he's going to try to trip us up when that happens, how can we regroup and keep on our path?

Donna Snow (16m 37s):
You know, what years ago, I wrote a study on Ephesians six on the armor of God. And the challenge I had when I became a new Christian is the fact that, yeah, we're told we have this, but we can't see it. We still feel very vulnerable and very alone, but we're given the armor of light. You know, we're given the armor of God and we can't forget that we have that, you know, we have the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, and we have the sword of truth and the feet of peace, wherever we go, we can go in peace in the peace of the Lord.

Donna Snow (17m 9s):
And when we go into these different things and Satan is going to throw roadblocks, I think that's what he does. But I think one of the most wise things I ever heard a pastor say was if what you're thinking of causes you to look back in guilt or in shame, that is really from Satan. If, if the situation causes you to look forward to hope and to the fact that God can change that, that is from God. And so that's like a discerning point on if the roadblock is, you know, something that God is trying to put in front of us, that we need to reassess some things.

Donna Snow (17m 46s):
Or if it's throwing us back into a defeated mentality, if it's a defeated mentality, that's not from God. Cause that's not God's goal for us. His goal for us is to teach us to move forward, not to teach us, to fail us.

Elizabeth Pittman (17m 58s):
And at the end of the day, I think it's important that we remember that while we can get better at handling our one thing and we can make wise decisions, we will never be completely free of these challenges until the day God calls us home and restores us. Correct.

Donna Snow (18m 16s):
Doesn't that just drive you crazy? I mean, it's like when I'm in type a personality, when the job is done, it needs to be done, you know, and to have a one thing keep going on, you know, until I see Jesus, it's a, that drives me crazy. Sometimes

Elizabeth Pittman (18m 32s):
It's easy to do because we want instant completion, right? We live in this instant popcorn world. We want our solutions to come right now. We want our answers to come right now. We want the problems to go away right now. And boy, it's hard to realize that no, this is going to require some perseverance and sometimes some patients or persistence. And I think we need to distinguish between those three. How do you distinguish these big three P's patience, perseverance and persistence, and how can they work together?

Donna Snow (19m 7s):
That's a great question because they seem the same. And I don't know that many of us have stopped to identify the difference between perseverance and persistence and patience. But what I see in them personally are various levels of struggle. You know, patients waits, it waits on others to work. It waits on God to work. It, it is a, it's almost that resting place where we're not doing anything we're just patiently waiting on something else, someone else to move.

Donna Snow (19m 40s):
It's almost like standing in a grocery line and waiting to be checked out or waiting for your kids to finish dinner. That's patients, that's waiting for someone else to do their thing. But when I think of persistence, that's something that, that fights past roadblocks. That's something that you have the goal in mind that God has given you and whatever roadblocks come, you know, you're going to find a way through the power of the Holy spirit to get around him and get past him. And that's really persistence, but perseverance that's, that's the big thing because it's that long haul kind of stuff where we can't discern, you know, a completion timetable that drives the type a is crazy.

Donna Snow (20m 22s):
You know, it's like Moses in the desert times, this pandemic, I think feels like Moses in the desert times, but God is still leading the charge. And when we trust him, that's the key to persevering. Well, when he moves just like the cloud, you know, in the desert, when he moves, we follow and being diligent, persistent, and persevering to do that. But they all work. They really do. I think if the, the best example I heard of discerning between persistence, patience and perseverance was a lady that is a friend of mine who struggled through cancer.

Donna Snow (21m 0s):
And I remember her telling me that she was a patient patient, but she had to persist through her treatments and keeping going to the doctor and stuff. And through all of that, she had to persevere on that road until those treatments and the wise, you know, medical decisions of people had come to a conclusion, but they all worked together, but they were different levels.

Elizabeth Pittman (21m 27s):
That's very helpful to be able to clarify that and see how they do work together. And it's a great example. Before we start to wrap things up, are there some specific things that we can do that will help us as we take steps forward on our perseverance journey?

Donna Snow (21m 44s):
Well, I think you hit the, the head on the nail earlier, when you said clarify, we have to clarify the goal. Noah knew he had to build an arc to survive. Nehemiah knew he had to build a wall for the city to be rebuilt. It's like we have to the first step when we pray is to clarify the goal, what is it that God is urging us to accomplish? And once we do that, okay, then back up, what are the steps to do that? And I love the book of Nehemiah because it shows us the steps he took to, you know, to pray, to approach the King, to garner the troops, to get to Jerusalem, to rebuild the walls.

Donna Snow (22m 25s):
I mean, it's such a clear delineation of the steps he took, but the first thing was to identify what the goal was first. And until God brings clarity for that, you're really not going to, you're just kind of shooting blind. You really need to know where you're going first and then pray every step of the way

Elizabeth Pittman (22m 46s):
In your Bible study, perseverance near the end. You have a 52 day challenge.

Donna Snow (22m 53s):
It is

Elizabeth Pittman (22m 55s):
Day to day challenge. Can you tell us if we wanted to give ourselves a challenge? What should we do on this 52 day challenge?

Donna Snow (23m 4s):
Well, that came out of the fact that it took Nehemiah and the workers 52 days to complete the wall. And even though there are no miracles in the whole book of Nehemiah to finish rebuilding the wall in 52 days was just, people could see that that contained the thumbprint of God. And the impetus behind the 52 day challenge is, okay, let's pray through this. Let's memorize some scripture and take steps and see what God can accomplish in 52 days. The first step was prayer. You know, there's different levels of, you know, the 52 day challenge as far as what you want to tackle.

Donna Snow (23m 40s):
But the whole thing is in 52 days, okay, set a goal. And in 52, what do you want to accomplish in that 52 days? And you'll be amazed. That's almost two months of what God can accomplish toward a goal when you diligently for 52 days, focus on it and pray through it and read scripture about it and work towards it. It's just an amazing challenge to get through. Well, I think even just taking the exercise of writing down those things that you're praying about, even if it's just jotting it down in a notebook with a couple of words at the end of it, to go back and read through that and kind of reflect on what has happened in those last last days would be a powerful thing to experience.

Donna Snow (24m 26s):
That's my love language. Oh my gosh, making lists is my love language, but I mean, I'm a, I'm a writer and I know that's probably weird, but I make a list for absolutely everything. And to me that helps identify what I need to do the time it's going to take to do it. That actually has been a struggle for me during COVID cause I can make a list, but I don't really know what the goal of this is, but you know, to be honest, as I've thought about the COVID and coming out of this, I really, you know, I've seen Christians struggle with this and I've seen people do wonderful things and people do some really stupid things, you know, and say some really stupid things.

Donna Snow (25m 5s):
And I can just say that because I've been one of them. So I really think though, like Jesus, 40 days in the wilderness, we have a choice on how we come out of this. We can come out of this broken and stumbling and bloody and stuff like that. And just needing help like everyone else or within come out, like Jesus did fill with power and fill with the Holy spirit and ready to roll, to do what God is calling us to do. And we have a choice and I pray that we come out of this, you know, with power and the Holy spirit ready to roll.

Donna Snow (25m 39s):
I hope so too. And I think the more time we can spend in prayer and in the word and showing compassion for our neighbor, the stronger we will be at the end of this, Donna, thank you so much for joining us today. This was a fun chat to have it's, you know, sparked some ideas for me to tackle some of those things that are nagging at my mind. It's always a good thing, right? For our listeners. If you'd like to learn more about Donna's Bible study, perseverance, head over to cph.org, backslash perseverance.

Donna Snow (26m 12s):
There, you'll be able to learn more about the study and get yourself a copy. If you'd like Donna, we appreciate your time today. Thanks so much. Thanks so much, Elizabeth. See you next time, everyone. Thank you for joining us on this episode of the Concordia publishing house podcast. I pray that this time was valuable to your walk with Christ. We'd love to connect with listeners on Instagram, Facebook, and twitter@concordiapubvisitcph.org for more resources to grow deeper in the gospel.