Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Motherhood Race

May always brings a time of reminiscing in my life. I remember through my Senior year, with all the goods and bads along the way.  This year, our State Track Meet seemed foremost on my mind.  The year before had been quite disappointing for us, with a dropped baton, mediocre running, and selfishness towards each other.  So realizing this was the last chance to get it right, we were a little nervous. And as it goes, we were told, "Leave it all on the track. If you can walk off, you didn't give your all. Anything less, and you will always regret what you could have done."  I was the anchor leg of our 2 mile relay team.  This race was our baby. We were resolved to help each other through this race. We could give up every other race, but this one. 

On that warm, May morning in 1995, I was near the starting line mentally preparing for my part in the race. I suddenly realized, the race had already started. Somehow I missed the pop of the starter's gun; I was scrambling to see what had already happened.  Each member of the team must run a half mile, which is two laps around the track.  I spent the first three legs of the race running back and forth on the in field to the two sides of the track cheering, yelling, and even tough-love talking my teammates as they ran.  And then, before I knew it, it was my turn. I ran with one goal in mind. To run this race better than I ever had ran.  Baton in hand, I chanted in my head, "You can do this". The first lap, was pretty good, and we were looking good. A quarter into the second lap the proverbial monkey jumped on my back. I fought through that with a determination I had never shown.  When I sprinted across that finish line, my legs were wobbly, and I was helped of the track. It was my best personal time ever. My Coach only had one thing to say, "Atta-boy, Girl".  That was the biggest compliment we could receive.

As I was thinking about this race, I began to see correlations to being a Mother. Often, I have one chance to get it right; I get nervous over many decisions and I would give up nearly everything in this world, except my role as a Mother. 

My mornings often start before I am ready. The baby is up nursing, the littles come bouncing in ready to talk, and the bigs drag in asking what is for breakfast. I am behind before I ever start.  And this isn't a practice run, this is the real deal. If I yell at the toddler for dumping the full gallon of milk all over the floor, I have lost my chance to give grace and show all my children how to behave when something goes wrong.  If I watch T.V. all day, delegating all my responsibilities to the children, I cannot expect my children to be self-less. And, I have been training for this. All those quiet moments spent with God and His Word; they have been preparing me for this day.

There are others running this race with me, and even some are running to compete.  It is vital I encourage that Mother at the grocery store who is frazzled and dazed and is asking me, "How do you do it? My three are about to do me in?" I could be selfish, and tell her horror stories, but neither one of us would finish the race well.  If I start comparing myself to the other Mothers, I will not run my race that is best for me. And again, I will finish poorly.

This Motherhood Race is hard.  Anyone who has been here knows.  I have discovered each day is THE race.  No more chances.  No more excuses.  There isn't any "me" time.  My one goal is to train my children. And I can do this! But not if I choose my way, my wants, my thoughts. Dear Moms, we should be falling into bed each night, exhausted from giving our all. Because the Lord has given us enough grace, strength, and abilities for this day. No more, no less.  I remember my husband picking me up off the couch one night, and carried me off to bed. I had fallen dead asleep after a long day caring for my family. Nothing was sweeter. I wasn't concerned over all I didn't get to do. Nor did I complain about all I DID do.  I was content that I had ran my race well that day. There were no regrets. And as I drifted back to sleep, I think I heard, "Good job, my faithful child".

So dear Mom, when the race gets hard, just take that next step. Breathe in, breathe out. Listen for the crowd cheering you on. And give it your all.  The Lord filled your cup, pour it out.  Leave it all on the line. Run with no regrets.

Lord~May we as Mothers see that exhaustion, being tired is a good thing. That we are pouring ourselves out in service to YOU.  May we see that You are faithful to fill our cups each morning, and that this Motherhood Race is what we love, and would never give up. When we are overwhelmed, may we hear the cheering of the saints beckoning us on. And let me always see the Mother who needs to hear, "Atta-boy, Girl".

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