Embrace the Ankle Weights
By: Marialicia Coates
I remember it so well. Mom and dad’s face showing such confusion as I told them what my Christmas present request was. They both replied at the same time, “Are you serious? Ankle weights?” Before you think I was a little weirdo, let me explain. I was in eighth grade and obsessed with getting better at volleyball. I was a side hitter, so I wanted to be able to jump as high as possible. The higher you were, the better you would hit that ball. I can almost feel it all over again! That sweet sensation of the ball almost being squeezed in by my hand when I hit it in the right place! This is one of the best feelings in the world. I know, sounds weird, but if you ever played volleyball you understand what I’m talking about.
Our coach mentioned the team he played for trained with ankle weights, so they would not only strengthen their legs but “trick” their minds and bodies on how to jump. The moment the weights came off, they jumped so high they could hit the ball in any direction — almost popping it because they hit it so hard.
I promise you, this will all make sense. I have a point.
I’m a mom of two precious girls. My oldest is two and a half and my second is a 7-month-old chubby yummy baby. I’m writing this as I’m flying away from home for literally just 24 hours, but I’m crying thinking about my babies. Trust me, around noon I wanted to get on this plane and disappear — but now that I’m here I miss them so much! These two princesses have become my life, so I don't feel myself without them. Some of you might be thinking, “This poor woman has lost her identity.” No, not really. I decided to dedicate my life to them for this season and trust me, it’s beautiful but it’s not easy! Not easy at all.
I’m flying to Houston to get some paperwork done to be able to travel to Brazil in June because I’m a minister. Yes. Surprise! I’m a full-time mommy/full-time minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I travel speaking at conferences, directing women’s mission trips, and building teams of women who disciple other women around the United States. So, how am I a full-time mommy as well? Good question!
I keep busy in doing both things, but it’s definitely super hard. Sometimes I literally feel like I’m playing volleyball again — wearing weights. Yes, I said it. Weights. I feel like my children are weights around my ankles, but please remember what I said in my first paragraphs! These weights were gifts I asked for because they would make me a better player. I’m not going to give you the verse in Hebrews that talks about “getting rid of all weights that slow us down in this race.” Yes, I’m exhausted. Yes, sometimes it’s hard, but you know what? They make me better. I asked for children and I never thought it would be this hard, but to be honest with you, motherhood is really making me a better person and therefore, a better minister.
I want to talk to all you girls who dream about stepping out into your dreams. DO IT! Don’t wait until after the kids have grown and gone to college. Keep it up! With the kiddos and the craziness all around, don’t give up on your dreams! It’s hard, but not impossible! I want to talk to the ones who haven’t even thought about motherhood yet. You better start thinking about it because for most of you, it will happen. Oh, how I wish I would have paid more attention to the “mommy convos” older friends had around me. It’s a season that will definitely stretch you in the best way. For those in ministry, it’s a season of “not many exciting things going on” because you’re forced to choose — and normally you’ll choose family first. It’s a season to grow your character because trust me, those kids will test the fruits of the Spirit every day all day! It’s a season of grace where you see God come through all the time for you. But it’s the most rewarding season so far for me. Those sweet “ankle weights” are my most precious gift. They make me better. They help me grow stronger, wiser and more loving.
“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” Proverbs 31:28
Marialicia is the founder of We Are Beautiful, an international community of women that inspires one another to embrace and celebrate true beauty. She also teaches at Victory College in Tulsa, Oklahoma where she lives with the love of her life Joshua and her sweet daughters Mia and Amelie.