If you’ve ever run a marathon, you know that some races feel ok – like maybe I won’t die and perhaps I should do another. Other races feel like this water station might be an ok place to live out the rest of my days because I am surely not able to take another step. This is exactly how the marathon of motherhood feels to me.
Somedays I think we are all going to make it…
PS. I like Parks and Rec. Anyway.
Two weeks ago I got the flu. I woke up with a scratchy throat and a desire to never move again. Ty had worked the past four weekends. But this weekend would be different. We had childcare. He took a day off. We were to have a date where we would eat pizza at a restaurant and come home to watch Wonder Woman (we are the most exciting couple on the block). I’ve only been wanting to see Wonder Woman since it premiered 22 weekends ago. Ok, that was dramatic, it came out in May. We also had plans to take the kids to Disney that weekend to get their annual passes which was a birthday/Christmas gift from their grandparents.
It was going to be epic.
But it was not a good race day. It was a race day where every step hurt (literally) and I just wanted it to be over so I could drink my beer and relish in how many calories I had burned that day.
I said it was a 24-hour bug.
Then my daughter got sick. I told her it was a 24 hour bug. Then it was a 48 hour virus. Then the boys went to Disney without us. And then the weekend was over and I returned Wonder Woman to Redbox without finishing it.
Today is two weeks since my throat did not hurt. I am not dying anymore but that weekend took some prayer.
My first marathon was a 5k. That should tell you what kind of a runner I am. After those 3.1 miles, I swore I would never do it again. Then dad talked me into a half-marathon. I trained for that one and I did not die. I also was thinner, so that was nice. Then we decided to do another half-marathon. This time my
gazelle sister joined us. We did not train and I thought I would have to live on the side of the road.
Meanwhile, I’m parenting. I’m disciplining my sons, trying to teach them how to be without crushing their spirit. I was reminded of Hebrews 12 which talks about how God disciplines His sons. In verse 1 it says:
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. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.(emphasis added)
I’m not sure that there was sin in my heart to throw off, but I know that it was God who helped me persevere. And by “persevere”, I mean feed my baby. Shower. Make dinner. Host a birthday party. Did I mention my son turned 3 yesterday? It rained in the middle of his party at the park. But somehow, in all this, I did not freak out. Sure, I began to lose heart when my perfect weekend crumbled before my eyes. But then I remembered all the times people say to “lean on God” “get your strength from the Lord” “when you have nothing left, look to Him”.
I mean, what does that all mean? I’ve been a Christian more than 20 years (and it took me three times to spell Christian correctly) and I still don’t have a definitive answer to that question. I prayed. I asked God to help me lean on Him, to give me strength to do what needed to be done. And as the week went on, I made a birthday cake, packed goody bags, bought decorations and food and I did not feel stressed. I did not worry about the thunderstorm that was to happen all day. I did not question whether his cake looked good or not.
And then I thanked God for doing what needed to be done because it surely didn’t come from me.
I’m not sharing this because I have found the answer, but because it was just another leg of the marathon. It’s not over, I’m still in that first bend where you’re wondering if you stretched enough before you started. Maybe mile marker 1 is when my third child is done nursing? I don’t know. A seasoned mom somewhere probably just laughed at me, that’s ok. We all need to laugh more.
The point is that motherhood – for me – isn’t whether it was a good race day or a bad race day, but whether I kept moving, putting one foot in front of the other at whatever pace I can handle. It’s whether I keep going, whether I do not grow weary and lose heart.
About the Art
When I began thinking of motherhood as a marathon, I knew I wanted to draw a woman running. This illustration was modeled after my sister-in-law, Victoria. If you know her, you know this isn’t what she looks like. But she is an incredible athlete and mother. I tried to do some fun shading with the skin tone and then it kinda got weird (in my opinion). I am still working on adding correct shading to skin tones. There’s always more to learn!
Also, my 2018 hanging calendar is still for sale on Etsy. Click here to shop!