Equipped to Finish

It was a hot day in the saddle of my bike…strong headwind, Ozarkian hills, and the heat of summer.  I rode in a training ride for the upcoming MS 150.  The MS 150 is an annual charity ride to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society.  This is my fifth year riding in the event, and at age forty-two, three kids, a full-time job, a husband, and a household to maintain, I do my best to squeeze in training time when I can.

Today, as riders passed me by, I thought, “Why can’t I keep up with them?  I’m trying just has hard.  My legs are burning.  My heart rate is up, and I’m eager, just like them, to finish this ride with a personal best time.”  

photo (73)I get “lost” in my head sometimes when out riding my bike on long distance rides.  If you ever need time to clear your head a bit, get a bike, pick a route, and take off. On my bike, I am able to work through so many challenges; physical, emotional, and spiritual.

As other riders passed me by, I started to think about life outside of my journeys on two wheels in the country.  I thought about the times when I have wondered, “I work just as hard as this person does.  I have more experience, and more time spent in the field.  I have just as much passion about the work at hand. Why do I seem to be passed by?”

As the miles clicked on, I found myself alone on the road with the sweltering heat and the odometer on my bike declaring how many miles I had yet to finish.  And then, I recalled Scripture:

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” -2 Timothy 4:7

Now, I am not at all comparing the trials and imprisonment of Paul to my own traveling down the hilly roads on my bike.  Of course, not.

However, when out there today, on the road with the blazing hot sun glaring at me, and riders passing me by, I started to meditate and speak to God about life, and challenges both off and on the bike.  While doing this, I felt the Lord speaking back to me,

“I equipped you to finish the race…not best, not first, not fastest, and not necessarily with top honors.  I equipped you to finish it with faith, endurance, and courage.”

As the fifty mile training ride drew to a close, and I rode my weary body to my car, I continued to think on these things.  To finish the race; this race of life, with faith, endurance, and courage is by far, the most sacred of all finales as we make our way to our Home.

Whatever road you are traversing, hill you are climbing, or number of miles ahead of you, remember this,

God loves you.  Jesus died for you.  You have been equipped to finish the race; not first, not best, and possibly not with top honors.  Instead, you have been dressed in the fullness of faith, endurance, and courage.

…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. -Isaiah 40:31

Momma-in-Waiting {Part #4}

Pssst…Hey momma-in-waiting. Yes, you….

It is that time of year again, isn’t it?  The day where mothers are celebrated, loved on, and honored.  You are already thinking about this upcoming Sunday.  You are dreading sitting in church, listening to the sermon about motherhood, and watching people clap for the all of the mothers who stand up in the congregation.  You know that little by little, your heart will collapse upon itself.

You are sick and tired of being sick and tired of worrying about motherhood.  You hear people say, “Just stop trying and it will happen”, “God has a plan for everyone”, “Relax, it will happen when it is supposed to”, or “You can always adopt”.  The truth is, sometimes, you just want to scream out when people say these things to you.  You want for them to not just hear the binding pain you have experienced through the barren walk…you want them to feel the crunching of your bones, the twisting of your guts, the dryness of your spirit, and the haunting of your hopes.

You are a Momma-in-Waiting, and you are tired of being one.

Pssst…Hey momma-in-waiting. Yes, you….

You dread this time of year.  You watch kids pick out Mother’s Day cards in the stores.  You see social media posts about the simple gifts given to momma’s by their wide-eyed babes, and you “like” them out of courtesy.  Sometimes, though, you would rather ignore them.  Sometimes, just sometimes, you despise them.

How could it be that you are still a Momma-in-Waiting?  Why has another Mother’s Day crept up on you without any difference from the years gone by?  Anymore, it is often that you have forgotten to ask when it will happen.  Instead, you are surrendering to the emptiness of unanswered why’s.

You are a Momma-in-Waiting, and you are longing for an answer.

Pssst…Hey momma-in-waiting. Yes, you….

There is something special about you.  You are strong, courageous, patient, and hopeful.  You choose to keep your pain to yourself because you do not want to dampen other mother’s experiences.  Instead, you hold it in, take it home, and unleash it into your pillow, your prayers, and your tears.

Only the other Momma’s-in-Waiting will ever understand the path you are on. Despite the attempts of your friends and families to empathize, you know this desert you have found yourself in, is unlike any other.  It is a dry place.  It is a woeful place. It is an agonizing place.  Still yet, it is also a place where hope seeps into your clutch.

You are a Momma-in-Waiting, and even though you despair, you also carry a burning torch of hope for your future.

Pssst…Hey momma-in-waiting. Yes, you….

You are a Momma waiting on her children to arrive.  You do not know how or when, but you are starting to visualize them.  You have cried out their names to the Lord (even if you don’t know them).  You have hung their images in your mind.  You have engraved their stories onto your heart, and you have included your own story of being a Momma-in-Waiting.

So, Happy Future Mother’s Day, Momma-in-Waiting.  

Happy first time you look upon your children’s faces, or the moment when your children call you Momma for the first time,

Happy first time they tell you that they love you, or snuggle up next to you in the middle of the night,

Happy first time you hear the pitter-patter of their feet,

Happy first and forever moment you look into their eyes and see yourself,

Happy glorious moment when everything makes sense,

Happy instant when you look at your scars (physical and/or emotional) and no longer see the pain they harbor,

Happy breathtaking time when you know the Lord carried you through it all,

and,

Happy day when you will no longer be a Momma-in-Waiting.

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – Isaiah 40:31

*Author’s Note:  Sunday, May 11th is Mother’s Day in the United States.  I wrote this to be an encouragement for all of the Momma’s-in-Waiting.