Sunday, September 09, 2012

What I Learned From My Trio's Tri

One day my children might participate in a triathlon where I don't cry--but I doubt it.

Although we only compete in the sport twice a year, I am moved in a meaningful way each time. There is just something incredible about watching your children participate in this type of challenge (especially when I have never had the tenacity to take one on myself.)

It reminds me that they are their own people. They came from my womb, but they are growing, changing creations of God. As parents we nurture, train, encourage, coach...but ultimately we must step back to the sidelines as they make their own way in this world.

I find myself overwhelmed by the metaphor of life represented on a sunny afternoon as parents nervously pace (or jog along side), shouting until they are hoarse and praying for safety--relegated to the role of cheerleaders & coaches--spectators as their offspring run their own race.

In youth triathlons part of the race includes the transition areas where they change clothes, load/unload bikes, etc--parents aren't allowed to intervene at all. That turns out to be the easy part. When your kid is in a lake without flotation devices, riding their bike hard and fast on asphalt or running on a path out of your sight, you are forced to deal with control issues.

All three of mine participated today. They have different strengths and weaknesses, so parts of the race challenged them in various ways. Sometimes they surprised us.
While we worried unnecessarily about our boys' responses to the lake swim, K, our strongest swimmer struggled unexpectedly. We were reminded to not take things for granted and to never be too quick to pigeon hole a child.
Our typically non-competitive P, took even the challenging parts of the race in stride.
And even though I kept my composure outwardly, my heart kept yelling "THAT was a 2 pound 6 ounce baby with a cerebral palsy diagnosis...THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!" His placement in the competition did not matter. He was out there & I was overwhelmingly grateful.

I don't want to dwell on the past, but I think it would be almost sinful to forget how very far my preemie babies have come. I couldn't help but imagine that this must be how God feels about His children. He knows the rocky roads so many of us have traveled to get to the place we are in and how much it requires of us just to stay in the race sometimes.

Thank you, Lord, for the reminder that YOU are writing the story and we just cannot jump too many chapters ahead.
Today my kids served as precious reminders of the goodness and provision of God. They were also role models to me. Because of the stagger start of a triathlon, you cannot compare yourself to how anyone else it doing. It is not a team sport. Each participant is truly running their own race. This afternoon, my kids ran their individual races with enthusiasm and commitment.

Lord, I really want to do the same. It's not about what ANYBODY ELSE is or is not doing. Give me peace, strength & endurance to focus on this life, this season and the tasks You have uniquely equipped me to tackle. May I run my race in a way that honors You.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. 
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV


Mindy said...

Every bit of it!!

The Niemeyer Nest said...

Impressive that they are already veteran triathlon participants!

Taylor York said...

My heart grew so big and tears started flowing when I read the part about you thinking where they have come.. teeny tiny fragile babies to strong, independent children!! The Lord is faithful.. I love those three! (and you, of course)

Carrie said...

Thank you. God is speaking to me through you. I plan to print this out and reread and do my devotion on this tomorrow morning. I have enjoyed your blog for a year now and just now responded. My heart needed to read this. Beautiful post on so many levels.