Friday, June 03, 2011

Going the Distance ~ Part Two

I’ve heard it said the the years go fast but the days go slow in parenting. Today is one of those days. Dealing with my four year old today has been a challenge. A test of my patience. It’s only fourteen more years right?

Well, no doubt those years will fly by. There is also no doubt in my mind that I am in this for the long haul and ready to go the distance. But between dealing with a demanding preschooler, an energetic kindergartner, and the tweens that are testing limits and fighting it’s easy to feel like there is not much hope in this job.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it or if maybe I could just kind of check out emotionally for the next ten years. But I know that’s not the answer. Even if I’m there physically, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve gone the distance.

We’ve been living here for 13 years. Although it’s not that long in some respects, we’ve also been in this long enough that we are attending weddings of kids we have known since grade school.

Last weekend we went to two such weddings. I love weddings. I especially love weddings of people we know well. The place God has brought these girls is amazing. They were radiantly happy and glowingly beautiful. Their ceremonies reflected their relationship with Jesus. It was a pure joy to be there to celebrate with them.

These brides are girls that we have known for a long time. We have seen them experience ups and downs, bumps and bruises through the years. We saw their relationship with their parents struggle and falter at times. But it all seemed to come full circle when they walked down the aisle on their father’s arms. Secure and in love. With their siblings around them beaming with happiness.

In one family in particular, I think it’s because they have parents that did not quit. They remained faithful to loving their girl. They were in it for the long haul, committed to go the distance no matter what. They prayed, cried, encouraged, exhorted, sometimes threw up their hands but they didn’t give up.

Those days gave me great hope in my job as a mom. I know I have to go the distance because if I don’t, who will? Seeing it come full circle was a great encouragement to me. Something that will help me through the hard times, the boring times, the stressful times.

God is referred to as our Heavenly Father. He went the ultimate distance by sacrificing his son for our sins. He is faithful. As a mom I cannot be perfect. But I hope the ability Jesus gives me to go the distance as a mom will be a reflection of God’s unfailing love for my kids as it obviously has been for these young brides.

I hope that someday as my daughters are walking down the aisle on the arm of their father it will come full circle for us too. We’ll have gone the distance and a new journey in parenting will begin.

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:23-25

Thursday, June 02, 2011


I was just reading an article that was complaining about all the ceremonies and parties we have for kids.  Preschool graduations, 6th grade graduations, first day of school, last day of school, first loose tooth, first bloody nose and first hangnail.

I mean I get the point.  Maybe we do go a little overboard.  Who needs all these ceremonies and special nights?  Isn’t it just a little ridiculous?


Is marching in to Pomp and Circumstance at the age of six a little much?


Or does singing cute songs for a crowd of enamored parents and grandparents seem like a waste of time?


Doesn’t it seem like a nuisance to have your kindergartener come into your bed at 5:15 a.m. just because she is so excited about her graduation?  Or a little frivolous for a six year old to wonder how she will get down the stairs in her high heels?


Don’t the principal and superintendent have better things to do that to sit through a kindergarten program?

Maybe the author of the article doesn’t have kids or has a heart of stone.  But I feel I need to say after reading the whole article that I wholeheartedly, absolutely, couldn’t …….

disagree more.

Who needs all these rights of passage?  I do, that’s who.  These kids learned to read, tell time, do sign language and tons of other stuff.  How can that not merit a little pomp and circumstance?

There is nothing cuter or more delightful than a kindergarten graduation.  And a sixth grade graduation.  And a preschool graduation.  And maybe even a little cake for a first hang nail.


Going the Distance

I had a really bad run last week.  Really bad.  Everything hurt.  I couldn’t hit my stride.  My legs just didn’t work.  It was miserable.

I’ve been at this training for three months.  I keep thinking I should get to the point where it feels great.  But my legs do not agree.

When I got home I was cold and sore.  I sulked about it.  I limped all day.  I wondered why on earth am I doing this?  Running stinks.  Getting up early stinks.  I was ready to throw in the towel.

My weekend long run loomed in the distance.  I ended up being sick and missing the opportunity to go with my friend.  I didn’t want to go.  I figured I couldn’t make it.  I was ready to give up before I even started.

I hate giving up.  But it is so easy to give up when things are hard.  We don’t like it and it doesn’t feel good so we walk away.  We limp.  We sulk.  I sometimes get angry and pretend that I don’t care.

But I do care.  I can’t run away or quit most of the challenges I face in life.  I think I am so conditioned in the bubble gum gospel that things should go great, be fun, be plentiful, be rosy that when things are hard or frustrating or hurtful I figure it’s not right. 

There are some parts of my life right now that are challenging me.  It’s a kind of hurt that is new to me.  I don’t like it.  And I don’t know if I have what it takes to go the distance.  I want to run away.  Or quit.  Or pretend I don’t care.

But do you know what I’ve discovered?  There is something worse than feeling like you can’t do something. That is not even trying.  That is worse. 

It feels way worse to give up and stay in bed instead of going for a run than even the most miserable, painful run.  Even in the pain, at least in the end, you know you did it.  You went for it.  Even if you didn’t achieve all you hoped, you achieved way more than sitting on the couch.

So Sunday after church, I got my shoes on and went.  The first mile was tough but after that it was fine.  I did all ten miles.  It wasn’t super fast.  It wasn’t pretty.  But I did it.  That is the longest I have ever gone.  Imagine what a bummer it would have been to miss that.

I’ve heard it said that successful people don’t always succeed, they just never quit.  They lace their shoes back up and hit the trail.  They get back out there. 

That is how you go the distance.  Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. 

Now if I don’t run the race I’m training for the world will not end.  The true test for going the distance is the things God has put into our lives that we need to deal with;  marriage, parenting, work, family, church.  Things can get ugly.  Things can get hard.  Things can get messy.

The thing is, I know I will be filled with regret if I give up.  Sunday’s run reinvigorated me to go the distance in the parts of my life outside running.  The more important parts.  Why?  Because God asks us to.  There is a lot of talk about suffering, perseverance, hope and finishing the race in the bible.  If I give up, it seems like I am ultimately not trusting Christ with what He has put into my life.  So I’ll keep loving, giving, sharing, helping, encouraging and forgiving until God moves me on.

Don’t sit this one out even if it’s hard.  Everyone fails.  Everyone falls.  But through God’s grace we can get up again and get back on the trail.  I was so encourage by reading Isaiah and Revelation today.  It gives me hope in the things to come.  God’s glory being revealed to all nations.  A day when God himself will wipe the tears from our eyes. 

That’s the prize that we are going the distance for.  God’s fame and renown.  And our joy and comfort. 

Don’t give up.  Go the distance.  I’ll limp along with you.

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.  They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’”  Revelation 21:3-4

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  2 Peter 1:5-8

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


We celebrated a milestone last night.  Our oldest graduated from 6th grade.  They really do 6th grade graduation up big here.  Pomp and circumstance.  Speeches.  Musical selections.  Professional pictures.  Slide shows.  It was a fun night.


The kids in this class are growing up and it’s amazing to see their talents and personalities shine. 

There are so many great things about my boy.  I must admit I’m a little worried all those thing are going to fly out the door when he gets to junior high. 


Like letting me take his picture.


I know there will be tough times through the next six years, until the next graduation.  But I don’t feel doomed.  He still cuddles with his little sister and isn’t embarrassed to see me at school.  Plus, I found this in his 6th Grade Sketch Book.


Ignore the “Smile Die” part.  I did.

The instructions at the top of the page are to draw your favorite place.


It looks familiar.


If things get rough, I’ll just sleep with that drawing under my pillow.  I think we are going to be just fine.