The Amazing Race for Single Mothers    by: Lois Breit 

You’re up before dawn; the ‘clues’ for today’s race will be found in your day-timer, iphone, blackberry, or wall calendar; you expect “detours” throughout the day and pray they aren’t too difficult or time consuming; you run hard, you run fast, and you finish each day exhausted.

On the Amazing Race reality show, this craziness lasts for a few weeks. They have a partner to share their challenges, and they run to win a million dollars.  Single mothers run their amazing race daily, alone, without fanfare, often unequipped, and usually without emotional support.  We run this race for years, just for the pleasure of seeing our children grow into responsible healthy adults.  How is your race through life going?

Realistically, some days ARE grueling, full of detours, overscheduled, crazy with activities and leave us exhausted.  But there are also those precious days that captivate our emotions and deposit a memory for life.

Amazing Race teams are made-up of best friends, a parent and child, siblings, couples of all kinds; people that love each other.   Even so, as they rush and become weary, teammates often yell at each other, treat each other with disrespect, and become utterly frustrated with everyone around them.  As single moms we can turn into the tired, under nourished, overly pressurized “amazing racers”!  Screaming at the slightest thing, angry towards those we love, impatient with the world.

Some ‘racers’ see the beauty of the countries they are in, the people they are around, the wonders they encounter; while other ‘racers’ experience only the grueling trek they are on each day.  Both types run hard and fast, encounter the same obstacles, and have the same goal.   Yet one team enjoys the adventure of the race, while the other barely endures each day.  Which kind of ‘racer’ are you?

Does your race allow room to bake messy cookies with your children or plan a surprise trip to a museum or park?  Is your pace so fast and hard that you miss opportunities to talk to your teen, read to your preschooler or laugh over the silly things?  (I must have slowed down on a few days, because this week I was surprised to receive a four-page letter from my oldest daughter listing 55 of her favorite memories with me!  How fun!)

I believe, even in the midst of an unwanted ‘race’ we can stay on pace, enjoy the race, and not get frustrated with our teammates (kids and family).  If you apply these scriptural words of encouragement to your daily routine over the next few weeks, I believe they will bring balance to your personal amazing race.

Read your Bible and worship God daily

Luke 11:3 … “Give us this day our daily bread” The Bible is our nourishment and strength for the race we are in.

Matthew 6:34 “Jesus is the Bread of Life” He will sustain us.

Run with integrity and focus

I Corinthians 9:24 “… Run in such a way as to get the prize”.  Salvation, hope and a future for you and your children.

Don’t get lost in the detours 

Galatians 5:7 “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?”  Don’t let activities, other people, or materialism trip you up.

Never quit the Race! 

Hebrews 12:1-3 “…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”

I hope you can see the race we are in is not a sprint with a cash prize.  Ours is an Amazing Race of endurance.  A race not meant to wear us down, but rather build us up!