Partnering the Race

My ten-year-old daughter and I recently ran a 5k together. We were excited that morning as we got ready to go. It was cold, but at least the sun was shining. It was a beautiful day to run.

Our whole family had been counting down the days to the race. We had talked of little else the week before. My daughter and I had been training for several weeks, and we knew that we were running at a similar pace. I suspected that she could run faster, but I was completely unprepared for what actually happened that morning.

We huddled next to each other at the starting line waiting for the race to begin. We were surrounded by two thousand other runners, and I could tell my daughter was intimidated by the number. She clutched at my hand as she looked around in fear. She asked if we could continue to hold hands while running. I knew that holding hands would only hold us both back once the race began. Just before the horn sounded, I gently released her hand and told her, “You’ve got this.” She shook her head in the affirmative and took a deep breath.

“I realized that I had been privileged to play a partnering role in my daughter’s race that is symbolic of the role I play in her life.”

We began the race together. Side by side. It felt good to run together like that as other runners thinned out around us. I hit my stride but noticed that she started to gradually pull ahead after the first mile. I let her go knowing she was still safely where I could see her. When I lost sight of her, my daughter was running confidently at full speed completely unhindered by her earlier fear. It was so beautiful to watch her come into her own stride as a young woman apart from me. I still tear up at the memory.

My daughter finished the 5k almost four minutes ahead of me and nearly two minutes ahead of the nearest competitor in her age group. No one was more surprised at how fast she could run than she was herself. As we created the display space at home for her trophy, she confided in me her disbelief at having won an award. Understanding my daughter’s humility, I smiled and whispered in her ear, “You are incredible. Expect more awards.” She returned my smile and suddenly seemed to stand taller as I watched her confidence begin to bloom before my very eyes.

As I later reflected on the day’s events, I realized that I had been privileged to play a partnering role in my daughter’s race that is symbolic of the role I play in her life. I train her. I encourage her. She currently grows under the safety of my watchful eye, but there is coming a time when she will surpass me and hit her own stride. As that happens, I face a choice. Will I hinder her by my own fears, or will I release her and encourage her to be all that God has for her to be?

So how about you? With whom are you partnering? Is God calling you to release that person into His care and allow your role to shift? If so, get ready to have the privilege of witnessing moments of triumph that very well could be pivotal in his or her life.

– Michelle Maenche