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Faith focus: Jason Witten and grit

Last Thursday, Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten retired. With him, he took a slew of franchise records, including most career receptions, most career receiving yards, most receptions in a game, most consecutive games played and most consecutive seasons with a receiving touchdown.

It was an emotional announcement where one of today's most popular players shared a bit of his journey from a third round draft pick to what one day officially will surely be a Hall of Fame career.  

"I was never the most talented, never the flashiest," he said. "I relied on grit. Other players might have been more talented, but I can assure you no one was going to outwork me.

"Whenever young kids come up to me and ask me, 'How do you grow up and play for the Dallas Cowboys and have that type of career?' My answer was always the same: the secret is in the dirt.

"I learned early on in my life, through many challenges, that I can change my circumstances with hard work, but I'd have to be willing to go out and earn it.

"The sheer concentration that is required to pursue a dream, you see it's not for everyone, but it was for me. I yearned for the daily grind, and I couldn't get enough of it."

As I listened to the press conference on the radio, my mind wandered to the single parents in Buckner Family Pathways. I've been honored to meet and get to know some of them over the years, and the same could be said for them: They yearn for the daily grind.

They are singularly focused on strengthening their respective families so their future will be brighter. The way to make that dream a reality is through reaching their educational goals, improving their parental and communication skills and many times undergoing counseling for past hurts.

That requires working late into the night on schoolwork after their children have gone to bed. It means dealing with painful pasts and learning to overcome them. It means putting the practical skills they learn in place daily so they can be better parents.

All of this takes them where they want to go – for the betterment of themselves, the strengthening of their families and the glory of God.

Do you have what it takes this week to live out the Bible verse Witten regularly used throughout his playing career?

"There is scripture in the good book, Colossians 3:23, I used to reference a lot throughout my career. 'Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart. Work at it for the Lord.'"

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