So, after morning drop-off, I ran into our grocery store, I would say with no make up on, but I actually had a good amount of left-over mascara under my eyes. I hadn’t even brushed my hair, but I needed stuff to make pumpkin bread. As I was getting out of the car to go in, I realized I still had my son’s spelling paper that we WORKED SO HARD TO FINISH, because END OF SCHOOL IS HARD. It was right there, sitting in my lap. Not with him, not turned in, because we were STUDYING ON THE WAY TO SCHOOL. So many good intentions. So why not roll into Kroger looking like I’d just rolled out of bed?
I gathered a couple things quickly while hiding behind my glasses praying nobody was there, snuck back out and headed home. As I pulled onto my street, I passed this beautiful woman running with her baby in a stroller. She had this gorgeous red hair, and I smiled at her with all this knowing and appreciation of all she was accomplishing in that moment. She was on it, getting up, going for a run, doing her thing, all with a baby in tow. She smiled back because she had a million endorphins running through her because she was out running before 8am. #bless
Seeing her run with such joy took me back to the verse I had read just this morning.
“Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1
Back in the day, and my kids laugh at this, but I use to be fast. In 8th grade I could crush the 200 meter, both individually and on the 800 relay team. I was usually third leg in the relay, because I wasn’t super fast out of the gate, and I didn’t have that last leg fire, but I could hold steady at number 3.
If you’ve ever run a relay, you know there are three critical parts to the race. The first is watching that runner before you. When I was in position, I would stand there and track that girl coming around the course before me, watching her run, analyzing her stride, cheering her on but fully aware of my own place on the track. I would study her cadence and begin to anticipate how fast she was running and how quickly she would reach me. There was a certain point where I had to calculate and determine when it was my time to engage.
Because I knew at some point the second part of that race would come, and it would be my turn.
Standing in my position there, I had witnessed this runner’s baton hand-off from the previous runner, watching as she turned and made that the race her own, staying in her lane, moving forward with everything she had. I couldn’t go until she handed me that baton, but I knew there was a lot that had to happen before she could hand it to me. Even in the hand-off, there was a lot of calculation, timing and precision.
But when it was my time to go, I had to set my face forward, begin to run, put my hand back, wait for that baton to enter the palm of my hand, grab it, and go. With everything that I had.
I want to say this: As women, as mothers, there is a time to look and analyze all that has come before us. Those women who have run that race, our parents, grandparents, all they have done and worked so hard to accomplish – all of it has made up our past and has made us who we are today. There is absolutely a time to analyze what they have done, the bruises and scars they’ve acquired from falling down a time or two. The beauty that they posses as they run with such joy, bringing so much around that track that is good and right. A time to observe the baggage they might be carrying, a wondering of why they don’t just dump it all and run with freedom. A time to look back, analyze and scrutinize. A time to mourn and grieve what could have been, what has already happened, what we are being handed in this thing called life.
But the second part of that race must happen. That moment when you have got to grab that baton, no matter the shape or size or how battered and scarred it may be, and turn your face forward and run the race that is set out before you. To not hold onto that previous leg and wish the person before you had run it differently, lamenting that you’d be so much further ahead of they had just run better.
It is your time. You have a lane you are in and it is your time to run. Because that third critical piece of the race will come, and there will come a time when you will be charged with handing that baton off to that next runner…
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2
Therefore, let us run – let’s do this. Let’s commit to running and participating and showing up for this one and only life.
With endurance – for the long haul because it’s all a marathon, not a sprint. Endurance is gritty and messy, but there’s so much depth hidden in the secret places of endurance. When there’s a crying out to God to help you when you fall, or your legs cramp. Endurance means staying in that race.
The race God has set before us – your path. Not your friend’s, not your mama’s, not anyone else you follow on social media. Your path, with your gifts, your personality, your gifts and all the ways that God has wired you.
Keeping our eyes on Jesus – that’s the only way how. It’s the only way through. The only way.
The Champion who initiates and perfects your faith – He is the beginning and the end. He is our Champion, running right beside us every single moment of it all.
What if we lived our lives today as if we believe all of that?
Being a mom is everything good and great and exhausting. Motherhood is no joke and it is absolutely a marathon and not a sprint.
I so needed these words today, just these two verses in Hebrews.
Running this race, today…staying in my lane and not taking on anyone else’s race, just the one God has marked out for me. Keeping my eyes on Jesus.
Yes to that. Yes to keeping my eyes on Jesus, when I’ve got yesterday’s mascara under my eyes and I’m roaming the grocery store, and yes to it when I’m moving through my kitchen to get tonight’s dinner miraculously finished.
Yes to keeping my eyes on Jesus when I pour through work’s responsibilities, and later make bread for my son’s teachers who just lost one of their own.
Yes to keeping my eyes on Him when I think about the future, about the run I want my girl to be watching, as I move around the track. God, let me throw off all that is holding me up, all that trips me up, God let me run with endurance this path you have marked out before me.
For this one and only beautiful life.