Will you finish strong with me?

It’s Monday evening.  

It’s the last week of school for my kids. 

And it’s about time. 

(Don’t groan if you still have a few more weeks to go. We started the school year on August 12, while many of you were still bathing in the sun!)

I know in the depths of my heart and my soul that we need this break. 

However, as the end of each school year approaches, I’m always a little bit sad. While not a day goes by that my kids aren’t getting older, the end of the school year is such a tangible reminder that they’re growing up.  

Fast. 

Way faster than I want them to.

And it never fails that I look back on the school year and wish I had done more with them. That I had been more for them.  That I would have seized the opportunity to do this or that along the way.

And it is these conflicting feelings of fatigue, regret, and relief that always have my emotions running high during the last week of school. 

On the one hand, I’m so tired that I can hardly make myself do another thing (like bathe my children or make them do their homework). 

On the other hand, I want to seize every moment of this last week of school because my kids will never be this age again. They will never have this teacher again. They will never be in this grade again.  And all I will have left of this school year is the memories we made together.  

That makes me happy and sad, all at the same time.

In our family, we have a saying that we often use to encourage one another:

Let’s finish strong!

I started saying this to my kids not too long ago when I became very aware of the fact that, in so many ways, I’m a “ninety-five-percenter.” I work really hard to get to the finish line, but then sometimes as I approach it, I lose my steam and fall short.  

It’s something about myself that I don’t like.  And I don’t want them to be the same way.  So to teach into them and to encourage myself to persevere at the same time, I adopted that phrase.

Let’s finish baseball season strong.

Let’s finish our homework strong.

Let’s finish Twenty Minutes of Teamwork strong.

Now, whenever I hear my children expressing fatigue about something I know we need to push through, I’ll speak encouraging words to them and end with:

Let’s finish strong!

It’s rubbed off on them, and they’ve been saying the same thing to each other and to me in these last few weeks. I’ve even heard them ask God to help us “finish strong” during our prayer time together.  

As I drank my coffee this morning, I came across a blog post by Jenny Lee Sulpizio that offered a great word of encouragement to me for this last week.  At the end of the post, she asked what other “mamas” are doing to help “push through” these last few weeks of school.  

I thought about it for a few minutes and posted this as part of my reply:

My secrets to push through this last week include taking things one day at a time. Asking God to give me the strength to put one foot in front of the other each day. Finding the joy in each moment. And taking lots of pictures along the way. They’ll only be this age once, and I want to soak it all in. Even in these last few days! 

So that’s what I’m trying to do this last week of school so that we can Finish Strong.  Will you Finish Strong with me?

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

Hebrews 12:1


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