Worth It

Recently, the son of one of my all-time favorite entertainers released a song that seemed tailor-made for me and our little Cross-Dubya ranch. Ned LeDoux wrote this song as a tribute to his grandfather, a Wyoming cattle rancher named Mr. Bud Rhoads. The song, titled “Worth It”, spoke to me the first time I heard it; and has become the unofficial theme song of our Cross-Dubya Ranch. More, it personifies my life.

There is one line of the chorus that touched deep in my soul. “It’s a tough job to do, but it gets done; and it’s worth it.” With that phrase, I had to pause and thank God for all He’s done. It caused me to look back upon my life and recognize how even before I was saved, God was watching over and guiding me. Becoming the man I am wasn’t always easy. There were lots of hard lessons to learn; lots of challenges to overcome. I look back upon them now and I can see how God was faithful to me long before I became faithful to Him.

As a little boy, I survived mental and physical abuse to become a tough-minded, independent young man. God knew I needed a firm resolve to face the life He planned for me. Through an adopted family, I found love and acceptance. Without these influencers, I wonder how I would have ever found my way to Christ. In the military, I drew upon my life experiences, and a lot of faith, to not only survive but excel and grow into the man He wanted me to become. In college, God helped me develop the knowledge and skills needed to act upon my convictions, values, and morals.

Throughout my professional career, I see how the trials faced and lessons learned formed my leadership abilities and managerial skills. In my personal life, I look back upon my rebellious attitude toward God and the trials it caused, and I can see God’s presence throughout. Like Joseph perhaps, God used the hardships in my life to prepare me for what was to come. At the end of my life’s greatest trial to date, I learned my most important life lesson; to let go and let God. In surrender and acceptance of His will for me, I found the peace, joy, and rest needed to take the next steps.

I’ve learned over many decades of struggle, strife, and trials that we must sacrifice what is comfortable and safe to make room in our lives for new. God can’t fill us with new if we won’t surrender the old inside. Learning to let go is a tough process, but an important step in growing in our faith. If you feel God is leading you toward something new, then trust Him in faith to guide you into it.

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God has tempered my spirit through years spent in the crucible of fiery trials. Throughout this journey of sanctification, I have faced many trials from Satan and tests from God. In each, God has patiently taught me how to surrender my will for His. These lessons will continue until that day when I am called home. I’m not sure what my job in heaven will one day be. I hope it’s helping to tend the cattle on a thousand hills in heaven. As I move toward that day, I remind myself of Paul’s words; “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14, NKJV) I am certain God will have me well-prepared.

When I look back upon the battle scars of my life, I can see how surrendering my life to God’s plan has brought amazing blessings. I have a loving wife who is a helpmate and who challenges me daily to be a man worthy of her love and devotion. Our Cross-Dubya ranch will never be a profitable enterprise, but the rewards of peace, grace, and growing in our faith far surpasses the investments we make. God repays each scar and muscle ache many times over with ministry opportunities, lessons learned, friendships, and God’s love. Is all the sacrifice worth it? You bet!

I pray for your strength to reach out, take God’s hand, and let Him lead your life.

God’s blessings,

You can listen to Mr. Ned LeDoux’s song “Worth It” by clicking this link: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqbQAjoam0U).

60 thoughts on “Worth It

  1. Beautiful words, thank you for sharing from
    Your heart. Life is tough, but surrendering all means God has our frail little bodies and minds with which to work out all for His Glory and greatest Good.

    1. Aww! Thank you Ms. PJ. I’m pleased you enjoyed the post ma’am. You’re right my friend, God has us and holds us even when we don’t realize He’s there with us sometimes. God’s blessings ma’am.

    1. Absolutely Ms. Martha. I sometimes wonder how many times God slowly shakes His head and asks Himself “Why won’t they just let go? They know I’ll never let them fall.” God’s blessings ma’am.

  2. As if I couldn’t respect you any more. Thank you for sharing your story, J.D. He makes all things beautiful in His time. Although your life took detours, there’s no doubt you’re exactly where God wants you to be. What a blessing! With two adopted grandsons, your testimony means even more. God bless, my friend.

    1. Ms. Cathy, I deserve no respect ma’am, but we both know who deserves our utmost. I didn’t know your grandsons were adopted. What a blessing it is. I’ll always remember something my adopted mom told me many years ago. I was in my 20s and made a comment to her that I understood how my being adopted meant I would always be the “last in line.” I said “That’s okay because at least I have a line to be in.” As only my little Frenchwoman from Massachusetts could do, she took my hand in hers, gentle but coarse for many years of hard work, said “Boy. I love each of my children. I gladly accepted what God gave me for children, but you remember this. I chose you!” She smiled, gave me a peck on the cheek, and went right back to what we were doing. From that day forward, I never felt I didn’t belong again. 🙂 Love on those grandsons my friend. They’ll cherish the time.

  3. I like your theme song for the ranch, J.D. Your story always gives me pause, so sorry for the abuse you endured. And I agree, surrender brings the greatest blessings no matter the battle scars…so worth it!

    1. Wow! I’m so glad you listened Ms. Karen. Thank you ma’am. As sure Ned is appreciative also. The young man who helps me with the ranch used to rodeo with his dad (Chris LeDoux) and actually knew Ned as a child. Some pretty neat stories there. As for the battle scars? Yes ma’am, there’s a few. The amazing thing is that as God helped me learn to forgive, He took away the pain of those memories as a blessing. And yes ma’am; absolutely Worth It! 🙂 God’s blessings gentle friend.

  4. Beautiful J.D. I only met my husband when I finally surrendered my desire to be married and have a family. All I ever wanted was to be a mom and it began to look like it would never happen. It’s too long a story, but once I told Him I would live my life any way He wanted, He gave me the desire of my heart and 3 children and 5 grandchildren! What a magnificent God we serve.

    1. OMGoodness Ms. Ann. God gave me Diane, the girl of my dreams, only after I had found my peace with Him and had quit looking for a wife. We met too late in life for children, but our animals and pseudo-family (we’ve unofficially adopted a couple of families here in TX who could use Christian grandparents) are certainly enough to fulfill us, and wear us out at the same time. 🙂 God’s blessings ma’am. I pray your Mr Musico is everything my Mrs. Wininger is to me.

    1. How sweet Ms. Tammy. That hurt little boy, with God’s help, has grown into a strong, godly man, with a steel resolve and gentle heart. That’s what faith in our Lord can do my friend. God’s blessings sweet friend.

    1. I am reminded of that very fact each morning when I awake. Before I roll out of bed, I ask “What will you have me do today Lord?” We all have so much more to accomplish. As I suspect you and Mr. Mike also endeavor to do, I want to leave this world completely empty and used up. #LeaveItAllOnTheField God’s blessings ma’am.

  5. I am thankful for your messages J.D. I am thankful God never gives up on me. As a teenager, I did not lead the life He wanted me to lead. I chose wrong paths and made poor decisions. Yet, God continued to place people in my life that would lead me closer to Him. Some of those people have passed on now and I never got the chance to thank them for their love and compassion. I pray I will show His love and lead others to Christ.

    1. OMGoodness Ms. Melissa. Had you not wrote it, I would have never believed it ma’am. When I look at you today, I see pure joy! How God has remade our lives my friend. What a blessing it is. Thank you so much for commenting. I am certain those who helped you in life know.

  6. All that you have gone through has made you into a kind, generous, encouraging, compassionate, humble servant of God. And I’m sure there are words to describe you I’ve left out. Surrender isn’t a popular word but I hope I can do it half as well as you. Definitely worth it, my friend. I am honored to know you.

    1. Oh my Ms. Cathy. I pray I can one day become the man you believe I am my friend. And I am most honored to know you and call you my friend also ma’am. You’re right; surrender is not an easy word; and it’s an even tougher thing to do. Still, the reward is worth it my friend; as I know you can attest. God’s blessings

  7. This is a wonderful testimony and is filled with many life lessons. One of my favorites is, “God can’t fill us with new if we won’t surrender the old inside.” Thanks for sharing your heart.

    1. Thank you so much Ms. Connie. As we’ve discussed, my life has been so blessed, I think I can never repay God for all His blessings. His Son reminds me, the debt was “Paid in Full” on the cross. I just have to remember to honor that sacrifice my friend.

  8. “God repays each scar and muscle ache many times over with ministry opportunities, lessons learned, friendships, and God’s love.” Amen, dear friend! God has me recording each joy right now. I am surprised by how many of them are directly byproduct of his hands shaping my scars into usable ministry.

    1. Amen Ms. Karisa! I look at your ministry and ask myself “How can she do it?” Then I remind myself of Philippians 4:13 and I understand how. It’s not us that’s doing anything; it’s God working through us, but it only happens when we allow Him to doesn’t it my friend? God’s blessings; and know that I pray you and the important ministry you serve each day.

  9. There’s so much truth here. Thank you for sharing these snippets of your story, and the lessons you’ve learned. It speaks volumes to me. Yielding our will to God’s will, letting go, and dying to self is key. His plan is so much better than ours.

  10. An encouraging message for all of us JD! Thanks for putting into words things that have taught you to dwell closer to Him. Your words encourage us to do the same! ~ Ben C.

  11. J.D. Wininger, thanks so much for this post. This part particularly blessed me: “I’ve learned over many decades of struggle, strife, and trials that we must sacrifice what is comfortable and safe to make room in our lives for new. God can’t fill us with new if we won’t surrender the old inside. Learning to let go is a tough process, but an important step in growing in our faith. If you feel God is leading you toward something new, then trust Him in faith to guide you into it.” I am at a crossroads where I am going to have to let go of things that hurt to release, but I believe God will fill my hands with good things once the space is available.

    1. Thank you Ms. Joanna. I too believe God will fill you to overflowing again and again ma’am; if we’ll just allow Him to do so. In my life, I tend to want to hold onto the past, especially the good things. This makes me slow to change. I seek betterment. I desire change. Yet, the future is unknown; and that not knowing is scary. It can indeed be difficult to let go of something good in hopes of something better. My life has proven two truths that are the basis for my hope though. 1) God always gives us better. 2) Our future is not unknown to God. When I remember these two truths, they allow me to let go of the tether to the past and soar boldly into to future. I’ll be praying my young friend. God’s blessings.

  12. Be still, my heart! Did you know my three grandsons are adopted? This story touched me so. And, I love learning a little more about you, your story, and God’s faithfulness. What a testimony!

    1. I did not know that Ms. Jeanne. I knew of one from China (I think) last year. Somehow I’m not surprised at all to learn this though ma’am. I see a great deal of love in your writing. It just flows through your family I think. I’m so grateful you enjoyed the post ma’am. Thank you so much for commenting; and especially for making room in your family to love others into your family. God’s blessings ma’am.

  13. This post was inspiring, JD. My husband was also abused, and I admire the person who he is today, despite his background. I hope that you and Miss Diane are well. Is there a spike in Covid cases in your area?

    1. Thank you so much for commenting Ms. Robin. I’m honored to know both you and your husband, and am proud to call y’all friends ma’am. I’m told there’s a spike in Covid 19 cases here in TX, but I assure you they are nowhere near us. In our entire county, we’ve only had one reported case, and that young person contracted it elsewhere and has fully recovered. Thanks for asking ma’am.

  14. It has taken me a few days to get to your latest post, but I it was well worth the wait. Thank you for your testimony. Hearing your testimony is sure to give strength and motivation to most anyone who reads it. I especially liked the line, “ God can’t fill us with new if we won’t surrender the old inside.” Very simple to say and so difficult to remember to do at time. I appreciate your work and willingness to share of the “personal “side of Mr. JD, my friend.

  15. J. D., amazing power is packed into this short statement: “God can’t fill us with new if we won’t surrender the old inside.” Thank you for demonstrating through your story that God uses everything to conform us to His image and bring His plan to fruition.

  16. Know what? I’m gonna pray your ranch becomes profitable. Love the words about not being able to bring in the new until you put to pasture the old! As always, good stuff, my rancher and writer friend.

    1. Thank you so much for the sweet thoughts Ms. Karen. Honestly ma’am, I’ll feel doubly blessed when the ranch can break even some years, but I guess that’s why this song struck such a chord with me. The lessons God is teaching my Ms. Diane and me here at the Cross-Dubya are worth any price. Our savings, perceived “nest egg” has no value to us when compared to the eternal security we are gaining as we grow closer to our Lord each day. God’s blessings dear friend.

  17. God bless you, JD. Thanks for sharing another powerful piece of your story. I’m thankful for the hope we have in Jesus. All the pain and hardships we endured here will be wiped away when we see his face. No doubt, it will be worth it all. Joy will come in the morning. Amen!

    1. Thank you so much for commenting Ms. Joann. I was raking and baling hay this afternoon, so I was unable to approve your comment. I do this until folks have commented a few times to help eliminate the more unsavory comments we all sometimes receive. By mediating comments beforehand, I’m able to keep much of the nonsense away from my readers. Apologies for the delay in approving your comment ma’am. What a blessing they are. Thank you; and God’s blessings ma’am.

  18. Great words! My favorites are the ones about God being able to fill us with the new if we don’t surrender the old. Words I needed to hear today.

    1. Thank you Ms. Cherie; much appreciated ma’am. It’s taken me too many years, but I’ve finally figured out that the best way for me to receive more blessings is by pouring out the many God has already given me into others. Thank you for all your encouragement and examples my friend.

  19. “God can’t fill us with new if we won’t surrender the old inside.” Surrender is huge! Stepping into something new can be scary. But when we walk in faith, we are assured that God is with us every step of the way. Thank you, J.D.

    1. I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post Ms. LuAnn. Surrender is difficult for sure, but the reward of surrendering yourself to the transformational power of God is amazing and wonderful. You are so right, it might be difficult, but it is less scary when we remember that our Savior walks with us each step of the way. 🙂

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