Monthly Archives: November 2011

Hey, Marathon Girl

I signed my husband and I up for a triathlon about two months ago. This was his first and our first as a team. He was to swim; I was cycling and running. It was a gorgeous morning out at South Padre Island. Every now and then I like to sign up for some type of event just to hold myself accountable and to not completely turn into jello.

My husband finished his swim (with the help of the canoe people). Hey, he tried. I very much give him credit for trying. Not many husbands would jump into the bay at 7:30 in the morning for their wives. I quickly got the timing chip off of his leg and transitioned to my bike station; and I was off. It was hot. Every now and then the sand would blow and that wasn’t too pleasant. People would pass me. I would pass people. Then there was this girl. She and I were at about equal speeds. We still had about 7 miles left to pedal.

So what do girls do? We talk. Started with the normal, “What’s your name?” “Where are you from?”  Then got a little deeper from there. I found out that this girl has run nine marathons. Wow. I’m impressed. She said she was a flight attendant, and was able to travel to many of the more well know marathons like Boston Marathon and San Fransisco, and Hawaii. She also said that she has invited her mom to every single one of those- but her mom had declined. You see, her mom was, her words, a very ‘religious’ person. And all of her marathons landed on a Sunday. So, her mom couldn’t participate on the day of rest.

I think when I told her my husband and I were Children’s Pastors, she probably thought, “Oh no, another religious person.” But she realized I appeared to be pretty normal, so she kept talking. “You see, today is the first time my mom has ever come out to see me participate in any of my events.” Our event was on a Saturday. It was obvious the two weren’t as close as she would have liked to have been. I’m assuming this by her comment, “There’s my mom, the fat lady in the jean skit.”And we transitioned into the run. Went our separate ways- yelled bye, never to see her again.

My heart was a little sad that day for marathon girl. Because her mom was so blinded by all the religious rules, that she was missing out on a fabulous relationship with her  daughter who so desperately wanted her attention.

I learned two lessons from that bike ride:

1) Don’t get so caught up in rules that you loose the relationship. Jesus is all about people. Love God and love your neighbor. That’s it. When your little religious rituals take the place of people, you’ve just missed what Jesus is all about.

2) Never underestimate the power of seeds planted. (Even if only for a brief moment in time, on a bike). God may have allowed your paths to cross with someone for a season, for a few moments, or for a lifetime.  I know marathon girl has a very negative spin on most people who go to church or spew their religious beliefs. I hope that, on this particular day, that she saw someone who cared, someone who listened, and someone who didn’t tell her everything she’s doing wrong. That we aren’t all fruit cakes with our hair up in a bun waving our Jesus flag. I hope that through a regular girl like me, she saw Jesus.

Jesus said, “‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
(Matthew 22:37 – 40)

Validation

“To seek validation from others only leaves the soul thirsty for more; but to seek validation from the Lord leaves one’s soul satisfied.”

“Um, honey, have you seen all the laundry I did today?”

“Wow, it’s a lot of work to plan out all these meals.”

As you’re walking up the stairs: “Huff … puff … Gee, this is so heavy…”

C’mon, ladies, you know we all do it. We make these comments to let our spouse (and maybe even our children) know that we are working; and not just working, but darn it, we are working hard. We will usually give them about four minutes from the time they walk in the door from work to see if they’ve noticed all we have done, and if they don’t notice right away, we will quickly point it out to them.

Heaven help us if they think we’ve been sitting around, watching movies and eating bonbons all day. “Look, I went grocery shopping all by myself with three kids, planned the meals … oh and look, I cleaned out your closet. It looks so nice and organized now, doesn’t it?!” We wait for their approval.

And watch out if they’re home trying to relax after a long day at the office. We don’t say anything right away. We make noises. You know you do this. “Ugg..” “Woo … this is a lot of laundry to fold … ahem.” (As we clear our throats, thinking maybe they’ve just translated that into, “Hey babe, can you help fold while you’re watching your show?”)

What is it that we are searching for deep down in our inner souls? The Lord revealed it to me today as I was saying, “Honey, look at all this laundry I still have to do.”

I was looking for validation.

Another word for validation is evidence, or confirmation. I need you to confirm that what I’m doing really matters. I need you to see it. For me, I think I needed to be validated because I started working almost full time. I needed my husband to see how much I do, and how hard I work. There is something within me that needs to hear him say, “Wow, good job.” or, “I know you work so hard to keep our family going, thank you.”

Here’s the thing. As a mom, we are thirsty for validation. But more often than not, we don’t get what we ‘think’ we need, leaving us feeling unappreciated and drained. The Lord quietly took me aside today and said, “I validate you. I see your work when no one else does. You run your house, taking care of things no one else sees. No one else knows you spent hours filing bills and paperwork, taking care of the banking, or shopping with the kids in the grocery store, but I see it.”

Something arose within me to keep going, taking away the need to bring up how busy I’ve been in order to receive that validation of time well spent. The Lord knows- He sees everything.

Psalms 139:1-5
1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.

Here’s the Celeste translation:

You, Lord, know when I rise to pray. You know my every ache.

You know when I spend days doing unending laundry.

You know when I spend countless hours to make sure my family is fed.

You know when I have to go to work to help bring extra income in for our family.

You know when I’m just exhausted and worn out, and it is all I can do at the end of the day to fall into bed, and be ready to start all over again tomorrow.

Psalm 139:17-18
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

Here’s the Celeste translation:

Daughter, I never stop thinking about you. I am with you always. I will give you the strength you need. I will bless you for all that you do, because you are being faithful with all that I have entrusted to you. When you sleep and when you rise, I am with you. I validate you. I see you. You are never alone.

Ladies, the Lord sees all that you do. It–your chores, your day–is never in vain. It matters. You make a difference. I’ve often heard the saying that the woman is the heartbeat of her home. Why do you think Proverbs refers to wisdom as ‘she’? We have the power to tear down or to build up our homes.

I encourage you to begin each day seeking the Lord for validation. Sit down with your prayer journal and your Bible. Ask Him: “Lord, do I matter? Am I making a difference?” I promise, you won’t be disappointed by what you hear. Allow the Lord to validate you as His daughter. When you make a difference in your home, you make a difference in the kingdom. As you go about throughout your day, it’s not strange to say, “Lord, look at all the laundry I’ve done!” Or “Lord, look how clean the house is!” He cares about EVERY detail of your day. You are so valuable and important to Him, and He desires to validate you!

Lord, there are days when we feel unappreciated and sometimes we just want to give up. Our husband or children might be incapable of always having the right words (or even any words) to bring that sense of validation that we are longing for. Lord, fill us up with Your words of love and validation. Every time we begin to feel that sense of anxiety because we are not feeling noticed, would You gently guide us back into Your Word and into Your presence? Fill us up and send us back out. In Jesus’ name, amen.