“Let’s race!”

It’s a common request from a certain little girl – a request I can’t refuse when she throws in a smile punctuated by her strong, solitary dimple.

“Okay, let’s race, Love,” I reply.

“On yours mark. Put set. Go!” Her three-year-old voice chants, bouncing with excitement.

I smile at her word choice, and determined stance as she gets ready to run, and I take off next to her. The grin on her face is priceless. She is ready to give it her all, but not long after we start, her “all” runs out and she pants out the words, “I is on yours team, Mama.”

Even as she says the words, she holds out her hand to grab mine, and we run hand-in-hand.

I found it humorous the first couple of times that she did this, the way that she gave up on her original plan to “beat” me when she realized that it was an impossible task she’d taken upon herself. Then one day, God showed me the gift of the metaphor my girl has been displaying for me during each of our races.

When she takes my hand mid-run, it’s no longer about beating me. Rather, it’s about running with me, about both of us finishing together.

The truth is, the race I’m running each day in life is far more worthwhile when I remember that it’s all about taking hold of my Father’s hand and letting Him sustain me as we labor together.

There are mornings where I approach that day’s race determined to run an impressive distance, or impress any spectators who might happen to be watching, but I end up running out of steam long before I can brew a second cup of coffee. I’d be wise if I choose to take a cue from my daughter and reach out my hand before I fall on my face mid-sprint and grab onto God.

When I take His hand while running the race He’s set before me, my tasks transform into manageable strides. My goal is no longer about winning, but about journeying hand-in-hand with the One who gave me life in the first place. My attempts at finding happiness in accomplishments transform into joy from acknowledging Whose team I’m on.

The race a mom runs on any given day is impossible to win alone, and there are days when it feels we can’t even make it to the finish line. Don’t be tempted to believe that you aren’t winning when you fall into bed at the end of a day with crumbs and dust coating every last surface of your house. Instead, start to believe this truth:

You are winning every time you pause to acknowledge it’s not about how fast you’re moving, but it’s all about intentionally joining hands with your source of Love.

When we’re in the midst of running around accomplishing our to-do lists and unrealistic expectations, it’s easy to forget that it’s not about how many medals we can’t seem to earn and it’s everything to do with passing that Love onto every single person with whose path we cross.

We are all better off when we take time to note the lessons our little people teach us through their growing up journey. I for one have a new appreciation for the precious reminder that comes each time that I feel a tiny hand grasp mine for a jog.