Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 1 Cor 9:24-25
My poor Joshie boy…I seem to tell all the stories about him. As I have mentioned before, he had some motor delays. When he was two, he was not jumping. The doctor said, “Those milestones are just guidelines.”
Time passed and no amount of coaxing would induce attempts at jumping. You know how that makes a mom feel, right? It is on us to teach them to use the potty, to make a bed, to say “please” and “thank you”, and to walk through Target without touching everything. But how do you teach someone to jump? Especially when there is no desire to jump.
At three, we went back to the doctor and got the referral to the physical therapist. We called our therapy appointments “jumping school”. But she noticed other things. Besides problems with jumping, there was an inability to alternate feet going up or down stairs. There were strength and coordination deficits. These were things I had missed, which felt like a doing belly flop instead of a beautiful dive in the Olympics. Sure, this wasn’t the Olympics…but full-time mothering means you should be on top of these things, right? I had always thought, he’s just the baby. I had missed the signs.
You’re not supposed to “bribe” kids with food, right? That is what our PT said too. Until she met Josh. At the second visit, she broke out the gummy bears. It took 10 months of “jumping school” to get that stair thing and the jumping thing too. He still jumps with his “favorite” foot first, not with feet together. His problem lies with motor planning and this affects handwriting, throwing and catching a ball, climbing up play structures…you get the picture.
But this year, he is a senior orange belt in Tang Soo Do, which is a form of Korean marital arts (thanks Master Williamson). He is playing “Ti-i-i-ime is on my side, yes, it is…” by the Rolling Stones, on his guitar and also learning drums (thanks Mr. Anderson). This week he started taking swim lessons in our backyard (thanks Mr. David). LOL! When I reread that, I realized that I should clarify…there is a pool in our back yard (otherwise those swim lesson would be really tricky!). Our PT had said with each new milestone, he would always be just a little behind his peers, but that he would eventually catch up, with hard work.
And so, Josh is my tenderhearted child, who is easily discouraged and tends to the hot side in the temper department…wait a minute…sounds like me, yikes! Anyway, I see God has given Josh a gift: the need to work harder. The Lord knows what Josh needs to learn – because life lessons are spiritual training too. While this “deficit” did break my heart at one time, I can see how that it made all of us more attentive to our need to grow in endurance and to run the “race” with honor.
Today’s verse is special because when I read it I don’t really see a race. I see jumping school. And I know that honoring the Lord with our best efforts in jumping, or parenting, or ministering to others (as Paul did) is worship. Running the race is living obediently to the Lord, having a good attitude when things are hard, and learning the lessons He gives us…in all of this we should run in such a way as to get the prize (1 Cor 9:24).