Ever since my Mary, 15, was in first grade, she has been a runner.
She spent grades 1-5 in Vermont, where she had a wonderful UVM student as her track coach. The program gave her a solid foundation as well as a lot of fun. Bravo to college students who volunteer their time teaching young kids.
When we moved to a tiny upstate New York town for her 6th and 7th grade years. Her new coach was the perfect mix of inspiration and discipline for middle school girls. It was there that Mary had her first epiphany: Being lazy is harder than working hard. Do what the coach says and it will pay off. (See The Secret to Greatness at http://www.margiesims.com/blog/2011/05/23/The-Secret-to-Greatness.aspx )
Our year in Florida meant another track coach, but she was up for trying. She not only succeeded in track and swimming, but also was one of only two girls to make the coed soccer team. Much to her surprise, she finished her 8th grade year as Female Scholar Athlete--quite an accomplishment for a brand new student.
Now here we are in Virginia, and Mary is on the indoor track team at the local high school. But this isn't just any high school, this high school was named by Newsweek as one of the top high schools in the nation. Though the school is only six years old, excellence has quickly become the norm. Opportunity abounds in sports, music, academics and everything else. But the atmosphere can be intimidating.
Last Friday night before her track meet on Saturday, she came to a conclusion. "Mom, I am not exactly sure how to please my coach--he is a little tough to read. So," she said, "I think I will just run to please God." Her confidence was shaky about the 4 events in which she was entered, but I was happy she knew that God would be pleased with her best effort.
I am not one to claim that our best effort at being good can make us good enough for God. If that were true, the Bible says in Galatians 2:21, then Christ died for nothing. It is after the commitment to Christ that God accepts our best effort. And that is just what Mary offered Him.
And He blessed it.
Long Jump, First Place: Mary Sims
55m Hurdles, First Place: Mary Sims
500m Dash, First Place: Mary Sims
And on the 4x400 relay, Mary's team was in last place when the baton was placed into her hand. She remembered the coach's instructions and found herself in first place at the finish line.
"You really can do all things through Christ!" I texted her from Silas' basketball practice when Captain Fun called me with the results.
"Most definitely!" she wrote back.
Singer Keith Green put it in a song years ago: Keep doing your best, and pray that it's blessed, and He'll take care of the rest. (www.keithgreen.com)
I hope Mary never forgets it. It really is enough.
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters."
-- Colossians 3:23