Never, Never Give Up -- A Lesson in Forgiveness

Never, never give up!  Sounds easy enough but never giving up can be really hard.

For more than a decade, I’ve taught motivational and life skills classes to women recovering from addiction.  I use Mother Teresa as an example of a woman who has learned to overcome hard things.  She was a poor and simple woman who believed if you can't feed a hundred than you just feed one.  Her worn, and wrinkly hands, by the end of her life, were all used up in doing good.  After she passed away, books were written about her, and, in them, readers discovered her darker side; a side that made me love her even more. 

Mother Teresa experienced depression and doubt.  In her journals, she expressed feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and fear. To me, her loveliness became all the more apparent, because her humanitarianism was illuminated by her humanness!

Despite her adversities, she had, somewhere on her life’s journey, made a choice to keep on loving others and to never, never give up!

For Valentine’s Day, I gave a mother and a daughter a special gift.  I gave them each a pendant engraved with the words NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP.  I keep fifty or so of these pendants on hand, so that, at a moment’s notice, I can give one to a woman in recovery, or anyone struggling to find a light spark in a dark space.  

I’ve experienced how hard addiction can be by watching those who suffer from it and because of it.  Currently, I’m working with a mom who suffers from addiction, and a daughter who suffers because of it.  To me, the beauty of their story is that they both keep trying to make life better.  They both continue moving forward, even when they take ten steps back. 

They’ve chosen to never give up.    

The daughter has had this never-give-up spirit since I first met her six years ago.  She’s had some of the saddest life experiences I’ve known, and, yet, her heart never gives up.  Our family started reaching out to her when she was in fifth grade.  She responded to our reaching out by reaching back.  We loved her.  She loved our family.  Thus a beautiful relationship was formed.  But, the key to loving this sweet girl has been allowing her to see and understand her love for her mother.  I can see how much she loves her mother, and, yet, her mother has been, at times, the reason why she has suffered.  Her suffering, at times, has made me angry, frustrated, even to the point of wanting to give up.  But, the daughter: she keeps teaching me that I must never give up.  She’s teaching me that if she can forgive, than so must I. 

I’ve struggled sometimes, knowing she’s been hurt, wanting to fix everything.  And, yet, her natural love for the woman who gave birth to her somehow gives her a more-than-human ability to want to forgive her mother.  Her eagerness to want to try again and again to create a relationship with her mother inspires me.  Because of her determination to never give up this 16-year-old girl has become one of my greatest teachers. 

Here, I'm a teacher and mentor to women recovering from addiction.  And, yet, this young woman’s big heart has taught me.  She has a willingness to forgive and lto allow her mother try again.  This beautiful girl sees her own addict mother as being worthy of love, happiness, and forgiveness.  She’s taught me that I must choose to love with the same determination to forgive. She's taught me that forgiveness is about seeing possibility instead of impossibility.    

Like Mother Teresa, who kept feeding people, this beautiful daughter of God keeps loving her mother and encourages her to never give up!   

Picture in your mind Mother Teresa’s worn and wrinkly hands.  Now, imagine your hands reaching out and feeding a hungry soul—someone who needs to be reminded they’re worth loving.  In my mind, I picture this girl and I picture her bronzed, hands being placed on her mother’s cheeks, softly and lovingly.  And I feel amazing! 

We’re all worthy of love. 

No matter what.

And we should encourage one another to NEVER, EVER GIVE UP. 



Jodi is a mother, author, and presenter, and is a certified instructor/mentor for JOHNNY COVEY'S NEW book, due out in June 2016.  She teaches Johnny Covey’s "head to heart frame work and the five habits of the heart"—a delivery system for life-change that truly changes lives.    

For information on Jodi Robinson's presentations, or one-on-one mentoring, email her.



Jodimarierobinson (at) Gmail (dot) com

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