August 25, 2020
…Keep on Skating…
“…But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 NASB
God is not interested in us dashing through life and being the first one to the finish line. Rather, He asks us to take time, to run well and to finish well ~ His Way! In these days, as many of you are making major decisions for your families and for yourselves, and adapting as you go, I share this memory with you to encourage you to stay focused and intent on your purpose. And in these days, as you embrace the process, engage in the process, and press on through His Strength, nothing can stop you!
One of our children’s favorite activities during our homeschool years was the monthly Homeschool Skate Day at one of the local roller-skating rinks in our home-town of Waco. It was a great incentive to motivate them to have their weekly school work completed by Friday morning so they could join the other homeschool students as they packed the rink! And each month, the rink was packed for the two-hour activity!
About half-way though the skating session, the manager would announce for the floor to be cleared for the races! Children would dash out on the floor as the appropriate age divisions were called. Our children were always some of the first ones to rush to the starting line, hunger and determination burning in their eyes. They would both welcome victories, no matter what the activity. Taking this very seriously, they skated for the win, and the free soda and treat from the snack bar awaiting the lucky winners! Oh, those were very good days!
I want to confess to you right now after questioning our adult kids, one of them has a memory of a portion of this event which I am sharing with you. I seriously doubt that anyone else remembers any part of this story…but, I do. I cannot tell you how many times I have rehearsed it in my mind over the years…laughing at myself…oh silly-silly me…but, remembering the lesson I learned that day, a lesson about looking back.
On this particular day, after the children had their races, two laps around the oval rink, the manager called for any willing parents to come to the starting line and to take their positions; the Race of the Parents was about to begin!
My son and daughter immediately turned to me, their faces ignited with excitement… “MOM, you have to race! You can do it, Mom…you are an awesome skater!” I am pretty sure they based their opinion on two facts. I was one of the only moms who could make it around the rink without falling, and I could skate to the rhythm of the music, commonly called ‘dance skating’. Sometimes, on a very good day, I could make my move and turn to skate backwards! Oh, my children were so easily impressed in those days!
And on this day, I listened to them echo the messages they had heard from me in every activity they ever tried! “You can do it! You never know unless you try! Be brave Mom! You can do it! Go MOMMY!”
So, I reluctantly joined the other parents, mostly moms as we lined up on the starting line, some struggling just to stand, and some holding onto one another for balance! It is not easy to stand still on roller skates! As we waited for the whistle to sound, I noticed that some of the moms began to leave the floor and go back to their seats…Hmmmmm-I clearly should have taken the hint. But, the children of those of us who remained were now screaming at the top of their lungs for their moms to win!
I was determined to dash out in front of the other competitors as soon as the whistle sounded. But, as I concentrated and tried to focus, I did not notice the even more rapidly diminishing competition. And, when it was time for the race to begin, I looked around to discover that I stood on the starting line alone-except for a very tall man, a man I did not know, clearly a father of a home-schooling child.
I can’t tell you how much I wanted to shrink and just slip away. What was I thinking? What was I doing? I panicked! I shuddered, completely aware that all eyes were on me and this stranger, this man, who now was in a REAL starting-line position, as though he had done this before. And, I could hear people screaming and yelling and cheering, and I could see the faces of my kids in the crowd…smiling and cheering me on! “Go Mommy! You can do it!”
Oh no! I couldn’t let them down! So, like any mommy trying to be brave, I began the self-talk… “I am a pretty good skater… I seldom fall down when I skate…I can skate to the beat of the music…and sometimes, I can skate backwards…and these moms who slithered off the rink before the race even started just might have been a little intimidated by my ability.”
Hmmmmmm. I think my pride began to inflate a bit!
The whistle blew loudly through the speaker and echoed throughout the rink! I hurled myself from the starting line and began madly thrashing and pumping my arms in case it made my legs skate faster. I found myself out in front, daring to look from side-to-side. I discovered that I was alone. And, I could hear the sounds of people clapping…shouting… Go! Go! Go!!
So, I went, and went, and went—And, at this point, I began to feel a little more confident and the speed was thrilling to me… “GO Mommy!” One lap down, and one more…only one more to go! But, where in the world was the poor man with whom I shared the race? How would he feel about being pummeled by a mom who had never mom-raced on skates before?
And then, curious and determined to find him, I carefully turned, and peered over my shoulder, and looked back! There, about ten feet behind me, the man was skating with his arms resting on his chest, and then, yawning, placing his head in his hands feigning sleep. Then, he casually, turned to move in a figure eight, skating backwards! Laughter filled the rink. Oh, and then I got it! I realized this was a bit of a show…This man was certainly a ringer! He knew exactly what he was doing. Who knows, maybe he was a professional roller derby dad!
As I turned, very carefully facing forward, I could see my kids, their attention still on me… “Go Mommy- you are winning! Go Mommy-Keep on skating!” Honestly, you probably know what I was thinking at this moment, how I was feeling. First, of all, it was extremely funny…and I was so silly-silly silly me! But, my pride ached a bit. There I was doing my absolute best…and, it was not good enough…or was it? What exactly was I desiring to accomplish?
Keep on Skating…
The words of my children… “Mom, Keep on Skating!” How many times had that been my message to them? How many times had I encouraged them in their swimming lessons when they wanted to grasp the side of the pool? I had shouted to them, running along the side of the swimming pool, “Keep on swimming! You can do it!” In the soccer game–keep on running! In the baseball game–keep on swinging! Yes, even when their team was losing, keep doing the right thing because it is right, no matter what people are thinking. Keep doing your best…yes…KEEP on SKATING!
You see my friends, that day, my goal when I started that silly roller-skating race, was to show my children that I could stand up, I could be brave like them, and I could do my best! I had the opportunity to give wings to the message my husband and I tried to deliver to them each day. And, I discovered in the process that I honestly did not care if I won that soda and treat from the snack bar, or if people were applauding for me, or in this case, if they were laughing at my role in the entertainment of the day. My goal was to embrace my job as my beautiful children’s mom, modeling for them the way their father and I wanted them to live, and more importantly, the way their Heavenly Father desired for them to live. We wanted our children to keep on keeping on, to press on, to not quit when there was a distraction, a loss or disappointment, a diversion in school plans, a disaster, or a disheartening defeat. We desired that they would persevere, and not shrink back or quit even when there was an unseen enemy, or a distractor, or a virus attempting to disrupt their lives…What we wanted for them was for them to Keep on Skating!
And since that day-I have learned that anytime we look back…it must always be with the purpose and the intention, to then move forward. God has given each one of us a job to do…A job which we are called to do, in spite of distraction, diversion, detours, or defeat. We are called to Keep on Skating…To be brave…to Keep on…to do our Best to serve Him by serving others, and to trust Him to see us to our destination!
“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.” Ephesians 6:7 NIV
One More Thing!
Perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed by the number of necessary decisions you are having to make in these days. Perhaps, you are frustrated by the circumstantial interruptions in your well-made plans and your family agendas. Perhaps you are feeling tempted to spend more time looking back, looking back to the past, instead of looking forward and experiencing the gift of today, as you anticipate a tomorrow, by God’s grace. You may feel as though you are staring into a tunnel sprinkled with a few glimpses of daylight, more often lost in the midst of shadows.
I encourage you my friends, to focus on the light, and to Keep on Skating… And remember as you press on, the process is what lies between the beginning of your journey and your final destination. The process and your response are integral parts of your journey, empowering you to navigate and to arrive exactly where God intends for you to land, accomplishing what He intends for you to accomplish. And, when you find it necessary to look back, remember to use what is behind you to propel you to move you forward, regardless of what the past holds, regardless of what others are doing or saying. Stay on task to complete the job God has given you. My friends, don’t let anyone or anything distract you from what God has assigned you to do…Yes, Keep on Skating! I promise, it is so worth it! And be assured, He is with you all the way! Keep on Skating!
Love you in Jesus,