5 Things To Remember When Facing a Challenge


What if I come in last?”

 It was a valid question. I needed to answer carefully.

“Well,” I began, “what if you don’t?”

I could see the shift in her eyes, the change her in stance, as she considered this equally valid thought.

It was the night before my youngest daughter’s first cross country meet. She’d joined the team, mainly I think because her older sister is a runner. She’d been to several of her meets, and thought it looked like fun. Only this daughter had never run before. I had no idea what would happen; but of course I wanted to encourage her.

First Item to Remember:  We all need someone to believe in us, especially when we don’t believe in ourselves. Surround yourself with people who will support you.

It hadn’t gone so smoothly. Late August in Indiana is nothing if not humid. So when practice started and my non-running daughter was asked to run 1.8 miles in the steamy heat, she struggled. She quickly grew tired and sweaty and found herself gasping for air at just about every practice. She often had to stop and walk.

Those first weeks of practice were difficult. There were days she wanted to quit. There were lots of talks and tears and a bit of stress for us all.

Second Thing to Remember: No one excels instantly; anything worth doing takes effort, time and practice.

It’s hard to watch your child struggle. I really had no idea what to do. Part of me thought she should hang in there, part of me knows not everyone is a runner; perhaps this was just wasn’t her thing. So I left it to her. I made sure she knew her dad and I didn’t care whether she ran or not; we just wanted her to do what she wanted to do.  She chose to stick it out.

And so here we were, the night before her first meet. Her nerves were setting in.

“What if I can’t breath again, do you think I could have asthma?”

Again, I needed to choose my words carefully. Running is 90% mental. Just thinking she had asthma would worry her, could make her panic during the race.

“Well, you didn’t have any trouble running last spring in soccer,” I reminded her, “I think you’re fine. Just go out there and do your best. No matter what, you’ll get through it, you’ll be okay.”

I had no idea what would happen. But it didn’t matter. Right then she needed me to believe in her.

Somehow, God had given me words to comfort. My daughter went to bed easily, her worries subsided, at least for the night. Too bad no one gave me words of comfort.

The day of the meet was yet another steamy one. My husband rushed home from work that evening and we headed out to the course to see our girl in her debut race. And that’s when it hit me.

What if she DOES have asthma?

What if she CAN’T finish the race?

What if my encouraging words put her at RISK?

The gun went off and I could feel the sweat trickling down from my temples; it wasn’t just the heat. I was completely stressed, worried my daughter might have an asthma attack in the woods where there was no one there to help her.

Just watching cross country is a bit of a work out in and of itself. You watch the start of the race, then hike it over to the middle of the course to wait for the runners to come out of the woods so you can cheer them on, then you run back to the finish line to see the end of the race. When we were midway through the course I watched as girl after girl ran past, only I didn’t see my girl.

What if she DOES have asthma?

What if she CAN’T finish the race?

What if my encouraging words put her at RISK?

By this time I was sweating profusely. Please God, I begged, help her. Finally a few agonizing minutes later, we saw a second round of girls; but still no Abby.

“I don’t see her! Do you see her?” I asked my husband impatiently.

It took him a while to respond, “Yea, I see her, she’s one of the last girls out there.”

Minutes later I finally saw her. She was running, slowly, but she was running!  No panting, no apparent asthma and a silent prayer of thanks from me. We cheered her on as if she were in first place.

Third Thing to Remember: Trust in what you cannot see; and remember, there’s no reason to panic in advance.

Next we ran over to the finish line. One by one the girls ran past us. Girls on fire! Our girl though, was nowhere in sight. Again my panic set in.

What if she DOES have asthma?

What if she CAN’T finish the race?

What if my encouraging words put her at RISK?

 Fourth Important Lesson: The trust thing takes time and practice.  

Many long minutes later and I saw her. She was making her way to the finish and I have to say I was glad to see she wasn’t in last place. A tiny girl in green was a good 20 feet behind her. But it didn’t last long-the girl in green sped up, she got faster and faster and suddenly passed Abby.

I looked at my girl, worried for her, concerned and wondering how she would take finishing last.  But I needn’t have worried. One look at Abby’s face and I could see her determination. She kicked it in and ran like nobody’s business, passing the girl in green. So much for asthma.

And Number Five: Never under estimate your own or another person’s potential. Anything can happen.

My girl came in almost dead last. I’ve never been so proud.





About thewritertracy

Writer, Mom, Lover of books, travel, family, friends and fun.
This entry was posted in Faith, Family Life, Goals, humor, inspiration, kids, life lessons, parenting, Risk, trials, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to 5 Things To Remember When Facing a Challenge

  1. Sabra Penley says:

    Tracy, I absolutely love this post! You kept me captivated the whole way through.

  2. Joyce Welbaum says:

    You really expressed how all mother’s feel when trying to encourage our children, and at the same time worrying that maybe we have pushed them too far or led them in the wrong direction.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s