Thoughts for the Journey

Welcome to my journey! Perhaps you'll find some encouragement, laughter, or just a thought as you walk along with me.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Final 100m

I remember running the 400m dash in high school. (Anyone else?) Those of us who ran it had 'affectionately' called it the 'race from hell'. Some consider it the longest sprint (the longest of the sprinting races). Because you literally have to run the entire lap around the track with full exertion, or you are guaranteed last place, or at least a slow time.

I have very clear memories of feeling pretty awesome for the first 200m (thank you 200m dash for helping with that!). But by the time I was rounding that last curve, the sight of that final 100m made me feel like throwing in the towel/vomiting/quitting track altogether- EVERY TIME. The only time I felt great running that last 100m was when we competed against the only track team in our district that was smaller and, frankly, slower, than we were. The other schools we ran against ... well they basically had a budget for a track team (a nice track to train on, trained coaches, more than 15 members of the track team, and uniforms more recent than the 80's). I will say no more. But regardless, our little team stuck it out year after year, and whenever we ran against 'that one school', boy was it exhilarating to finish in 3rd, 2nd, and even 1st place!

But back to the beloved 400m dash. Training for this sprint was everything. I didn't turn into an Olympian by any means, but I learned well that it wasn't sufficient to only train up to 400m. No, in order to finish it well, you needed to train past 400m- you need to be able to keep the pace to 500m and 600m and beyond. By my senior year, I applied this better and better, and even qualified at the League level for the first time! (Yeah I know, League level..."whoopee". But hey, see the previous paragraph for subtle hints about the prestige of our tiny little team! We took whatever we could get and we ran with it! Ouch...)

But even after learning to train better, and nearly qualifying for the US Olympic team (clearly!), I still found myself feeling so tired, panicked, and eager to quit once I approached that final 100m of the race. Why?? Why, with so much training, and after running the same race for 3 years?? Why was I so tired?? BECAUSE THE RACE IS RIGOROUS! (And because I'm no Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Yes she was one of my track and field 'heros' growing up....and Michael Johnson! I wanted his gold spikes so badly!)

You know you wanted them too....
(Photo credit: Complex)

So here's where I'm at, being as honest as possible. We have been learning language and culture for about 3 years now. First Tok Pisin, and the last almost 2.5 years, Tigak. If you've followed our progress as we've had our CLA evaluations, you know that we are about 3/4 finished learning the language. That's right. There's your cheesy analogy. You knew it was coming! We are staring at the final 100m, and I. AM. TIRED. Despite spending 4 years in training, becoming equipped to be great learners, understanding the cost and the sacrifice of leaving much behind to go and make disciples in the 'uttermost parts of the earth'... despite all of this equipping, I find myself getting very tired. Why? Did I do something wrong? .. NO! It's because the race is rigorous! The Apostle Paul talks about training for and running a race well. You train rigorously, and you do not run aimlessly. No, you run hard so as to win the prize. Nothing easy about it.

Granted, this final '100m' of language learning is some of the toughest. It involves trying to grasp the elements of language at a discourse level (how to naturally connect paragraphs and thoughts, in essence). And because we are at this level of language learning, we are able to dive deeper into the culture. We are learning the "why"s, the motivations, and the beliefs that lie beneath the actions and behaviors happening around us.

I think some of my tiredness makes sense, because at this stage, when we sit down with a language helper/friend to explore these deeper areas of language and culture, it's much more taxing mentally than the early days of pointing to pictures of animals and trying to memorize them. But it's not just the language learning, it's balancing so much every day that is becoming more difficult for me.

So I need your prayer, that the Lord will grant me the energy I need each day:

  • to get up and make the coffee and drink it, 
  • to sit as His feet and let Him teach me His Word (fancy talk for "read the Bible"), 
  • to savor my time homeschooling my dear daughters, to enjoy them for who they are, and raise them in His ways
  • to delight in making meals for my family
  • to be content in my work of taking care of the home so as to be a joy and helper to my husband
  • to be a diligent language and culture learner in this last 100m, because the CLA days are nearly gone!
  • to listen and hear His voice regarding any discipleship I should be doing at this time of learning
  • to have wisdom in balancing all of the above, and not to put undue guilt or pressure on myself, because that is not of Him
Would you please stop scrolling for a minute and pray for those things? I am your sister in Christ, and I would be very grateful for your prayers, because I am very tired, but I want to run this final 100m whole-heartedly, and with as much strength and zeal as possible, so as to cross the finish line WELL!

Thank you!

I'm looking forward to the free banana, granola bar, and water bottle at the end of this race.

(Photo credit: "For the Win USA Today", Rio Olympics 2016)


  1. I love you! As a 300m hurdler, I can relate! Different race, same struggle!! I have prayed, will continue to pray. I find myself in the same frame of mind, ironically as I French press my Starbucks beans in a blizzard without the daddy... but oh, His grace!!

  2. I just prayed for you, my friend. Thank you for your honesty, that allows us to understand your challenges. Being the support staff for your family, full of tedious tasks and thankless chores that must be done EVERY SINGLE DAY, is a tough task, let alone your CLA on top. Praying for you top finish well!