By Melissa Miller
One year my high school track coach made a decision he later regretted. He placed me (a pole vaulter) in the 400 meter race. With no training or experience, I willingly filled in to earn extra points for our team. After the gun fired, I was convinced I found my calling. I was so far ahead of everyone, I thought I must be some sort of hidden prodigy. The crowd roared and I read their thoughts: We had an Olympic athlete on our hands all this time! How did we miss this?
After the first lap, my pace went down an octave and the rest of the runners caught up. My breath grew heavy and even though my mind prodded my legs to move faster, they responded like sandbags. One athlete passed me, then another. The flock of other runners flew past me. And that is how long my Olympic dream lasted, a whole 100 meters.
After the race, a few friends patted me on the back and gave me lectures about pace and endurance. But everything they said was hard to hear through the vomiting.
My calling to motherhood suits me much better than the Olympics anyway. Although I don’t get any 100 meter moments of glory, I do get daily practice on endurance and persistence.
Every day, parenting presents new challenges and new joys. Some days we feel like the Olympic athlete, and the next day we feel like the tired runner, underprepared for the task at hand. Some days we think, “I’ve got this!” While other days it seems like other moms whiz past us towards some imaginary finish line. What I’ve learned is, it doesn’t matter how fast we run as a mom, it only matters who we run to. We might be out of breath and weary some days, but we can keep running to our Father in Heaven - who is the source of all wisdom and strength.
And after teaching about prayer in Luke 11, Jesus told his disciples this story:
“And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
The word “impudence” comes from the Greek word anaideia, which means, “lack of sensitivity to what is proper.” It’s indicating this friend has a type of persistence that is shameless. He doesn’t stop knocking. He doesn’t stop asking. He doesn’t stop seeking. He doesn’t give up. He doesn’t take no for an answer.
This shameless persistence in prayer is our greatest advantage in this journey of motherhood. Some days, we wish it were a sprint and that our prayers would be answered after the first attempt. But most days, God teaches us to be shamelessly persistent in our requests and patient in the process of them being answered. He teaches us to be unrelenting in faith, but gracious while the evidence is unseen. He teaches us to get on our knees with a battle cry, then go shepherd our children with gentleness. It’s like the way the more experienced runners ran the 400 meter race. They knew when to slow down, when to speed up, and how to pace themselves to endure to the end.
Martin Luther King Jr. says, “If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
Whether we feel like we are running or crawling our way there, we get to participate in a greater honor than the Olympics, the honor of raising children to know the Lord. Let’s be shamelessly persistent in our prayers for our kids and this worthy calling of motherhood.
Melissa Miller is married to her best friend and has three children. She serves alongside her husband at Canvas Church in San Diego, CA. Melissa works for a marriage ministry, and is passionate about helping marriages and families thrive. Melissa and her husband are in the process of adopting internationally. She enjoys reading, writing, cooking, and beach days with her family. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook!