On the Side - May 2018
If Life is a Race, Why am I Pushing a Stroller?
by Sharon Chatwell
“…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus...” (Hebrews 12:1-2, NASB).
Did you ever get the feeling that you’re not getting anywhere? You think you’re supposed to be doing something big, but actually you’re at the grocery store, deciding between 1% and 2% milk. You want to be doing something grand to help the world or make a difference, and instead you’re fixing dinner… again. You take heart and think you’ll get there, eventually; but day after day goes by and pretty soon it’s next year and you’re wondering, “What am I doing wrong?”
As women married to doctors, sometimes we find ourselves alone. We clean the house, cook the meals, raise the kids, empty the trash and we are still alone.
Our well-meaning husbands go off to work in the morning to do things we don’t necessarily understand, to do battle with diseases we can barely pronounce. When they come home, they are often exhausted shells of who they were when they left. We put them back together as best we can, pour food down them, let them sleep and send them back the next day, to wage the same battle again.
While they are gone we deal with field trips, permission slips, lost homework and after-school practices. If a child gets sick, who stays home? If a child needs to go somewhere, even—ironically—to the doctor, who takes him or her? Even if we work, and many of us do, in the end who has to quit her job and follow her spouse to his next job or learning assignment? That’s right.
Right now—all over America—women, who are married to doctors, are preparing for that episodic migration we do every few years; from one residency program to another, or from one medical center to another, etc., etc. We box up our belongings, sell our homes, leave our friends and move somewhere else, to start again. And when we get there, some things are different, but others are eerily the same.
Don’t get the wrong idea! Our husbands love us, and they’re attentive, when they are at home…and awake. Sure, they’re kind, and supportive, and way-better-than-average providers, but there’s still an even chance that we’ll be at home alone with the kids on Mother’s Day, or any other national holiday.
So, how do we stay kind, and patient, and loving? How do we keep coming back, day after day, to “Take care of the ones, who take care of everyone else?”
God. The answer is God. God and what He has planned for our lives. When we “fix our eyes on Jesus” we find that “running our race” (or living our life as a wife and a mom) is something beautiful and worthwhile. It has joy and purpose—even during the most boring and repetitive tasks—and eventually you will begin to see fruit from the seeds you’ve sewn. You will see that you have made a difference.
When your kids grow up and have their own families and they call you when there is a joy or a sorrow or a question. When your daughters-in-law turn to you for advice and comfort. When your sons come to your aide, when you are ill. When your grandchildren hug you when they see you. At these times, you’ll see the fruit.
When your husband’s patients and their families recognize him out in public and come up to greet him. And when, after you have been introduced, they smile warmly and say things like, “Your husband saved my husband’s life. Thank you.”
Don’t worry! God has a plan for you! He knows all of your gifts and talents. If you’ll entrust them to Him, He will make the highest and best use of them. Just remember Matthew 23:12, “...whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (NASB).
Sometimes it takes a lot to humble our hearts and not try to force our selfish agenda over God’s will for us. But, do it anyway. And get up tomorrow and do it again. Keep doing it every day. And pretty soon you’ll see your life stretching out, not only behind you, but in front of you as well, strewn with God’s grace and mercy. It is worth it. And you may yet change the world, as well. You’ll see.
Often, when it feels like we are on the sideline, we are actually running the race. We really are making a difference. And we are able to do it, too!
Let’s face it, our husbands didn’t marry us because we were wimps. They married us because, underneath all that wit and beauty, we are brilliant, fearless women, who are strong enough to raise kids with remote support, brave enough to face a leaky faucet with a crescent wrench and wise enough to know when to call a plumber.
Keep on running the good race!
Proverbs 31:10-12 says: “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her And he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil All the days of her life” (NASB). And Proverbs 31:28-31 says: “Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: ‘Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.’ Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates” (NASB).
Sharon is a wife and mom, and now a grandma, who married her physician hubby while they were both still in medical school. She wishes each of you a very Happy Mother’s Day and hopes that this year you won’t have to spend it alone!