This past week I was glued to the tv watching the Women’s Gymnastics competition. Athlete after athlete, pushing mind and body to extreme limits, going after the GOLD. As I drifted off into a reverie of my earlier days of playing sports, I wondered if I’d ever had a fraction of the determination that drove these young women. I was having a difficult time coming up with ANYTHING that came close to the dedication, commitment, and sheer fortitude that seemed to control the body and soul of every single gymnast I saw.
And then I remembered . . . there WAS something! An event that drove me beyond limits I’d ever imagined physically possible. It took fortitude, commitment, and extreme endurance to push through and make it victoriously to the other side. Yep, around the time that Nadia Comanceci, that celebrated Romanian gymnast, was earning gold medals in the late 1970s, I was gearing up and training for my own competition; child-birthing! I smiled thinking about the determination and stubbornness perhaps, that kept me focused on the one thing I wanted more than anything – a completely natural childbirth. I set my sights high and refused to budge as labor set in. The world wasn’t watching and the crowds weren’t cheering, but the Closing Ceremony was the best I’d ever experienced. And that baby boy, worth more than all the gold medals I could imagine.
Returning back to the present day Competition, I caught the face of Nadia Comaneci on the sidelines cheering for her gymnast comrades. She, who knows the joys, struggles, and heartaches of training and competing, was there giving encouragement and sharing in the celebration of victory.
We live in difficult times, and it’s tough being a woman. There are so many demands, pressures, and tugs on our lives, right? These days I’m on the other side of child-rearing and navigating through the early years of marriage. Now don’t get me wrong; I’m still very much in the game, for sure. But from one who knows the joys, struggles, and heartaches of being a woman, just let me encourage you from the sidelines to keep reaching, keep training, keep resting in Jesus . . . so that together we can share in the grandest celebration of all, ETERNAL VICTORY!
Cindi Wood is the author of the Anonymous: Discovering the Somebody You Are to God women's Bible study.