I Have been Grieving, Y’all.

First of all. We had to put down our 13 year old Murphy this week. She was completely blind. Mostly deaf. Arthritic. Full of tumors. Still as sweet as the first moment we found her at the pound in Front Royal when she was a pup.

She shed unimaginable mounds of hair…every day. She loved to eat sticks of butter off the counter (and in the last few months…hers and our other dog’s poop).

We will miss her. The house is strangely quiet without her. Our other dog, Samantha, is moping and grieving in her own way.

Secondly. I have had a general plan for our children since before they were born. You know the one…they love you and obey you. They know and love Jesus. They do well in school and in sports. They graduate from high school and move away to college. They major in and find work in a field they love. They eventually find the perfect mate, the one God has chosen for them, the one you have prayed for since they were born. They get married, have children. Yadda Yadda.

I’m sure you recognized the fatal flaw.

I have had a plan. When am I going to learn that it is not my plan? It is His plan.

I am not in control. He is in control.

Our sweet girl has always struggled in school. She was diagnosed with ADD whilst in the second grade. Along with ADD and school struggles often comes self-esteem issues. She has struggled with that, too. Eating disorders. Yup. Been there. Self-confidence problems. Definitely. Especially on the volleyball court. The need to be perfect. Oh, yes. See it in her daily.

All along I have prayed for her. Begged God to release her from this. To rise her above it. Supernaturally empowering her with abilities. And I believe He has. Not always in the way I have wanted or expected.

He is in control. His plan is in action.

I think that I cling so tightly to her volleyball because it is something she is successful in. She is a very talented athlete. I know that, with a lot of studying and focus, she is able to attain good grades. I have always expected her to graduate from high school and move away to college. Possibly to play college volleyball. Even if it is Division III ball (she is a petite thing for an outside hitter, after all). Her high school coach, a former college coach and recruiter, told her and us that she is definitely a candidate to play in college.

And man’s plans continue.

While God often has another plan.

Over the last couple of weeks, He has kicking and screaming gently led me down the path to the realization that His plan is for Sarah to not go off to college. But to stay at home. Go full time to the local community college. Get her feet wet. Feel her way through the first couple of years of college in a safe and more comfortable way for her.

I have fought it. I have railed against it, denied it. And tried to take everyone along with me. Sarah herself finally convinced me. She wants the community college route. For now.

The final blow was learning this week that her varsity coach wouldn’t be returning next season. He has been her biggest supporter. Benching her for several weeks to make her a better, stronger mental player. Knowing her competitiveness would win out. And it worked. And we recognized it and thanked him for it. Eventually. And now he wasn’t coming back for her senior year.

And in the final reminder that yet again it is His plan…coach met with the girls after school yesterday to officially break the news to them.

He’s not coming back to coach them next year.

He’s moving on to start up a new women’s college volleyball program.

A local college.

A local community college.

The same community college Sarah will be attending in the fall of 2009.

I don’t know about y’all…but I don’t believe in coincidence.

I believe in Him.

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Apparently, my Love Language is Volleyball.

God knows what my true love language is. I always thought it was gifts (according the official love language test). But God used volleyball to get my attention.

It’s not the first time.

If you are an even one-hit reader of this blog, you probably quickly figured out that our daughter plays volleyball and we are freakishly supportive of her.

We are totally a sports-driven family. Both my Man and I played various sports growing up.

Somehow, Brett got talked into playing volleyball, for the same house league Sarah played on years ago. As a 5 foot 8.5 inch 6th grader, we opted to move him up to the middle school team but that meant that the man and I would need to coach, with the help of both of our older children, apparently.

And here is the God speaks to me part.

You can not imagine the impact it has made on the parents of the kids we are coaching that our entire family is out there on the sidelines coaching, encouraging and cheering on their kids.

And I am so used to that…I almost missed it.

Sarah is also reffing volleyball for this league, but last night she was working a different school and missed the first match we played. She arrived for the second match and quickly took over. She is affectionately called The Dictator at our home.

The “love” soon came out…

Shawn: Sarah, move back, I can’t see. I’m trying to coach.
Sarah: Shawn, shut up. I’m the coach.
Shawn: Sarah, mom and dad are the coach. I’m co-coaching. You weren’t even here for the first match.
Sarah: Shawn, mom and dad are the coaches-on-record…I’m the REAL coach.
Sarah: MOM! Who’s the coach?
Shawn: MOM! Tell her to back up.
Me: I’m the coach. Your dad is the co-coach. Shawn’s our muscle and Sarah is there for the boys to go ga-ga over. Shut up both of you and move back I’M TRYING TO COACH!

The love was just flowing! lol.

Seriously, though…all of this was said with laughter and joking (and not a small bit of jockeying for position on the sideline).

The truth is…God has so daggone blessed me with this family and I continue to allow circumstance to overshadow that realization so much so that…well, I boldly jumped straight into the pit over the last couple of weeks and didn’t even WANT to look up to see Him standing there, His arm stretched out, fingers reaching, straining to grasp my hand and gently pull me to safety. To peace. To calm.

And when I finally looked up last night and saw Him standing there, I also saw this incredible family He has blessed me with. A husband who (for some insane reason) continues to love me NO MATTER WHAT. A son who clearly is on the path to becoming a man after God’s own heart. A daughter who is compassionate, loving, and just a bit mouthy. And she loves the Lord. After playing in tournaments four straight Sunday’s she was jumping up and down with excitement to be able to go to Sunday School and church for two Sundays in a row. And a curly headed child, who looks like a high school kid, who leads The Pastor’s Posse at church. Tutors kids in the city on Monday afternoons. And still sneaks up to his momma for a hug and a kiss whenever none of his siblings are looking.

Y’all…it does not get any better than this. So many parents came up to us last night to comment on our entire family being out there. Shawn (our child wanting to major in elementary education, who has coached kids in everything from baseball and soccer to basketball and volleyball now) gave each child his undivided attention when they needed it/asked for it. He pulled each kid aside to encourage him or give him individual instruction. Whooped it up on the sideline every time they did (and sometimes didn’t) make a play. And he cooks! The mom’s that have watched him grow up always talk about Shawn as “the boy I want my daughter to marry”. It does a mom’s heart good to hear someone talk about her son that way. Especially when said mom is in his bathroom picking up his dirty underwear and socks AGAIN that got tossed in the corner when he hopped in the shower.

The boys were absolutely ga-ga over the girl. Why wouldn’t they be? A high school girl talking to each of them, laughing, helping them with their game, playfully ruffling their hair, and giving it right back to them when they mouth off to her.

Can I just say that GOD IS SO GOOD! And thankfully, He does keep reaching down to pull me from the miry pit, every single stinkin’ time I jump into it.

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. Deuteronomy 7:9.

Going for Gold…finale.

I didn’t have the opportunity to chat with her between the semifinals and the championship game. But I could tell by her body language that she was okay. Better than okay. A mom can tell these things. A dad can’t. That’s just the way it is.

I’d like to say a few words about her coach. This is the first year Lucy has played on his club team. But he has known her since freshmen volleyball. He was the assistant varsity coach Lucy’s freshmen and jv team years. But the coaches, of course, knew all the girls…watching and assisting in the selection of their future players. This coach and the varsity coach weren’t rehired for the next year, when Lucy would be playing varsity. Some issues between the head coach and the athletic director.

But this coach knows her very well. Knows her struggles with her mental game. He truly wants to see her succeed…all of the girls succeed…and grow as players in every way.

As the girls were finishing their warm up and he was walking off the court he turned to Lucy and said something. And she nodded her head and said, “okay”. No smile, no other reaction. She continued warming up. And I began to fret.

Time for the match to begin. The parents were PUMPED. This was our first championship game after weeks of potential…here it was coming to fruition. And we had just beat a team in the semis we have never been able to beat before. As the team gathered for their last minute pep talk, I was squirming in my seat…if Lucy sat this first game…what would her reaction be? Did she really pull it together in that hallway? How could she? She’s only a 16 year old girl? My baby girl. And I started to pray. Not for her to play, but for her thoughts, her negative self talk. That I oh-so-recognized and struggled with myself.

As the team broke and the girls split up, Lucy looked up into the stands and gave us a big old grin. And stepped onto the court. I relaxed a little. And as the game began, I relaxed a lot. She played with confidence. With her head in the game. Making an error here or there but recovering immediately and playing the next ball. Her jump serve was flawless. She made no serving errors and in the tie-breaker third match, she ran the score up 6-0 with her jump serve.
And they won the gold.

As I sat there watching them celebrate, I tossed up a questioning arrow prayer, “Why now, God…and why are we still dealing with this in volleyball, in school, in LIFE with her?” And His response…”Because it is MY plan, Susan. Not yours. And because YOU need to practice what you preach…pray unceasingly…about everything.”

One of these days, I’m going to get the Gold, too. Walking as closely as I can with Him. So closely that I bump into His shoulder every step of the way.

And that victory will be oh so sweet.

Going for Gold.

The Man and I arrived at Lucy’s tournament around 1:30, just in time to see them lose a game. The first game they had lost all day. The parents, not so quietly, asked us to turn around and leave as we had clearly jinxed their winning streak. We were finally allowed a reprieve to see how the next game went…lol.

We won it. But Lucy had a melt down. And she was benched.

And then we had to have some drama in the hallway.

For those of you who have been visiting my blog for awhile, you know that Lucy has some mental game issues. She’s extremely hard on herself and when she goes to that place…she really struggles with her game. She had some bad plays, which in and of itself is not a big deal…every single girl out there makes mistakes. Then they move on. Lucy just can’t always move on. She beats herself up out there. I can see the signs. The coach can see the signs. So he pulled her. And then she had a meltdown on the bench. After that game, she wouldn’t look at me or talk to me. So I gave her space.

For a bit.

I intercepted her in the hallway. And I pinned her down and made her talk.

I would like to insert at this point, when dealing with teenage daughters…distraught teenage daughters, one must really know one’s teenage daughter in order to get the timing just right. Oh, I wanted to jump right in with both feet as soon as she walked off the court (see previous posts regarding my patience…LACK OF, that is). But I know my sweet daughter. So I waited.

I was anxious for her. Worried about her. Grieving with her. This is not about volleyball, by the way. This is about life. About being able to move forward after failure. About being able to reach deep, and by deep I mean UP, and know what is important, and how to deal with all of it.

But I’m weary of it, y’all. So daggum weary of this. And I knew that we had come to a turning point.

At first, she gave me excuses…

I’m just not enjoying volleyball anymore…I wish I had stayed with soccer…I just don’t like volleyball anymore…

I wish I could say at this point, that I had thoroughly discussed this with the Lord. But I can’t. Because I didn’t. I was winging it. And that is always bad.

Except for this time. He was definitely with me. I just didn’t know it. Until later.

I let her go on with her excuses and tears for a bit. And then I said, “Lucy…what is really going on. You can tell me. You have to tell me.”

She gave me the most incredibly painful look and then the floodgates opened and all the girl-words she had been holding in, hiding, struggling with just came pouring out.

And for each, God gave me the calm, logical and sensitive words to say in response. It had to be Him. I am anything BUT calm, logical and sensitive at these times.

In the end, I gave her two options:

“1. Get your mental game back on. Get your head together. And get out there and play or sit the bench…but deal with it the way you know you are supposed to…the way I know you can.

or

2. Pack your gear. And we’re out. And we won’t be back. Not to this team. Not to any camps. Not to varsity in the Fall. You decide, Lucy. And you decide right here…right now. I’m good either way. It is your decision.”

And I walked.

And in a made-for-the-movies-moment…the hallway was completely empty. I could hear the heart-rendering music playing in the background. The camera panning from the tear-streaked, mascara running face of my sweet baby girl down the long, empty hallway to her mother mentally beating her own self up with, “OMG…what have I done? Did I push her over the edge this time? Will she ever speak to me again?”

To be continued…

It’s All Good.

A show of hands for anyone who’s currently or has in the past participated in the A Woman’s Heart…God’s Dwelling Place Beth Moore study? My study meets Monday nights, led by my BFF Jill.

Glory!

I am loving this study. Loving, loving, loving. It is speaking to me like none of her studies ever have. (I probably always say that, but this time it is true!)

So, being me (the formerly shy, introverted, wall flower, That Girl turned This Girl)…I felt led to share on you some Rhema.

Like most women (don’t even get me started on men) I know, I have my very own Pit. When the going gets tough, I get going…straight to my pit. While I’m standing here, at the top of the pit, looking down (and trying not to be holier than thou about it because we all know that any second I could be pushed or willingly jump in), it shocks me that I would even consider going there. Up here it is warm, sunny, happy, and there are lots of daisies growing. And blessings, Lordy are there ever Blessings!

Down there, it is dark, oppressive, unfamiliar, and lonely. After all…my life is up here. My husband, my children, The Girls, my family, my home.

Or is it just that I am so near-sighted? When I first actually jump into the pit…it, too, is warm, sunny, happy and there are lots of daisies growing.

At first. It is comforting and even familiar. Until it all goes horribly wrong and I wake up and smell the lilies (not daisies), lilies…which always remind me of funeral parlors…and death.

Death. That is all that is waiting for me in that pit. Death of my marriage. Death of my relationships with my children. Death of my job. Death of my faith.

Let me share with you that I haven’t been in that pit in a awhile (Praise Jesus). And yesterday I figured out why.

Every morning, since my last vacation straight to hellthe pit, I have been bringing it to God. Some days more so than others. Some days on my face in the hallway or the living room wailing. WAILING. Snot running down my face, beating my hands on the floor, wailing. Not pretty. But, hallelujah, effective.

I had so gotten away from Him. There was no intimacy. Little contact. An occasional wave as I ran by on my way to “My Busy Life”.

We all know that when this happens, He brings our busy life to a screeching halt. Praise Him, He did that with me.

You see, this entire thing with Lucy was just as much about me as it was her. I get it. Did I say, I get it? Because I really get it. Lori. I get it.

It wasn’t just about her anxiety/panic attacks and inability to perform on the volleyball court. That was the result of symptoms I’ve been missing. Seeing, but not acting upon. And the helplessness. Oh, man. I can’t begin to tell you the feeling of helplessness watching my baby girl clearly panicking on that volleyball court. Clearly gasping for breath walking down the hall to her class because her heart is pounding, her ears are ringing, and she just wants to run.

I have so been there. At her age. Not knowing what was going on. Not having anyone to turn to (wallflower, introvert, that girl…remember?). Scared, frightened, thinking, “you really ARE a freak! You just thought you were before, but this proves you really are. No one else is going through this, you can’t even leave your dorm room, can’t even go to a party with The Man, can’t even get out of bed to go to work. Freak, freak, freak.”

My Lucy is NOT going to grow up thinking that. Thank You, Jesus, for putting me through it so that I can help her!

Bring it to Him every morning. And I don’t mean just in the flowery, little devotions either. They are all good. I do them. I love them. But I’m talking

Bring.

It.

The joy, the sadness, the worry. The anxiety, the praise, the worship.

Bring it.

The problems with your spouse (yes even about s*x…He created it, remember?)

Beth reminded me that God is the One who allows things to happen. To semi-quote Beth Moore, and hopefully not massacre her thoughts and words, “Bad things happen that are common to all (wo)man so that we may be part of the human race and minister to others with love and compassion.” Minister to others? Others, in my book, begins with those others that live in my home with me. My spouse, my children. Those I run into every day. Even the idiot in the parking lot (another story for another time, but basically, Jesus died for him, too).

What is it that REALLY sends me straight to my pit?

Fear. Unbelief.

Fear that I am not valuable to God. That He will not come through for me, That Girl turned This Girl.

And that fear and unbelief? It brings me right back to faith. I have got to bring it to Him every morning. Or I’m lost. In that pit or any of the other homey little pit places I have made in the past.

Oh, and…P.S.

Lucy is BACK. There is a bounce to her step. A confidence in her walk. She’s happy and calm and school and at home and she kicked booty the other night at volleyball.

Lest I am pushed right back to the pit…

Thank You Jesus for the work You have done in Lucy and in me. Keep us focused on YOU. IT IS YOU that has brought us here and You that I worship and give Praise to for helping my sweet girl. Never let me forget it. Amen.

Getting The Word

If I am paying attention, listening closely, filtering, I am more prepared for what is to come.

God has clearly led me to step back from volunteering, daily hand’s on with The Girls (which I have to admit I miss tremendously), hours spent at work. I knew that rough times were coming. Both at home and within our church.

Our church has been in turmoil for several years. There is an apathy oppressing us that I just can’t explain. Is it the fast-paced region we live in? Other churches seem to prosper and grow and make an impact on their members and neighbors. Ours seems stagnant. Oppressed. Ambivalent.

Our family is at a cross roads. Our oldest is a senior in high school, heading to college in less than a year now. Our middle child, our only girl, is a junior, playing varsity sports, trying to pull together the last two years of high school and bring her GPA up. Our youngest is a 6th grader, in full blown puberty, currently spending his last year in elementary school…which will mark the end of a true era of 12 years continuous enrollment by our family at our elementary school.

The teenage years are truly turbulent. Thankfully, praise God, our children have thus far resisted the temptations of drugs, alcohol, premarital sex. We are not so blind nor so naive as to think it couldn’t happen tomorrow, but we pray for them faithfully, communicate openly, and love on them like there is no tomorrow.

Yesterday afternoon, I received an e-mail notification that our daughter’s boyfriend had posted to her Facebook. We have had reason to monitor her Facebook and e-mail, more for her own protection than anything else. She is fully aware that we could, at any moment, access her accounts. And, in fact, her accounts are all set up with our e-mail address.

Something, or Someone, told me to open this post by The Boyfriend. Thankfully, I did. It was a “please don’t ever call me again” post and it contained some evil, horrible, completely untrue comments as well. For whatever reason, I don’t care why, he felt compelled to break up with her and be very ugly about it. I promptly deleted the post.

And then I called The Man.

He is so much more calm and clear-headed at times like these. We decided that telling her before a home game was definitely not an option. Unless, somehow, it came up. I always intended to come clean with all of the details except one. I refused to tell her exactly what he said other than, “please don’t call me anymore”.

I’m truly puzzled as to why and how he could begin with “please” and end with the truly hurtful words he did. And they say teenage girls are difficult to understand.

Thankfully, nothing occurred that led to full disclosure prior to her leaving for the game. The Man went with her (he announces the JV and Varsity games) and kept me up to date. Her only comment about The Boyfriend was that they had talked well into the night last night on the phone, about “everything”, and he had told her to have a great game the next day and that he would be thinking about her. Hm.

Have I mentioned that she has been benched by the coach? She had some trouble keeping her emotions under control for a couple of games and so he has essentially benched her. Crushing to a competitive spirit. Devastating to a starting player, one used to playing every minute of every game. It’s been pretty tense around the old household lately.

When I arrived at the school last night…well into the first JV game…one of the varsity mom’s pulled me aside to tell me two things:

1. A freshman JV team player had tried to commit suicide that day. Her parents are going through an ugly, affair laden, divorce.
2. A sophomore JV player had been suspended, permanently, for drinking. Her boyfriend had turned her in when he found her at a party drinking making out with another boy.

My initial reaction was one of sadness, hurt, concern. My second reaction was a feeling of dread…anticipation of what was coming next.

My girl played the last 5 points of each of the three games they played. Actually, she went in much earlier on the last game, when we were down by quite a few. While she played it well emotionally on the outside, I know how she was feeling on the inside. I know her. She’s exactly like me at that age.

We won all three games. The last game, she clearly helped pull the team out of a point deficit. She’s already told the coach she doesn’t want to be clean-up, but clean-up she has become.

After the game, I intercepted her and told she had to ride home with me and it would just be her and I because I had something to talk to her about. After an initial tirade regarding playing time, wanting to go to Mac’s with some of the guys, etc., I let her go home with her father. He broke the news to her about The Boyfriend.

As she was (not so well) digesting this, one of her friends phoned with the news about the player in the hospital. And the dam broke.

I wish I had video of The Man’s reaction. He was stuck in the corner of My Girl’s room. She was wailing, I was trying to talk to her and calm her and he’s standing there having decided that now would be the perfect time to feed My Girl’s cat. A bowl in each hand, turning left, turning right, picking up the food container, setting it down, mumbling, “where IS that cat”, pleading with his eyes for me to do something, clearly debating his best option for escape…through us or out My Girl’s window. Taking pity on him, I moved My Girl to her bed where we sat down for a cry fest as The Man RAN from her room.

Replaying it in my mind this morning…priceless.

I spent a lot of time in prayer last night, before, during and after the evening’s events.

I praise Him for protecting my family, for keeping us together, for the love The Man and I have for each other and for our children. And I thank Him for giving me a head’s up that trouble was coming and that I needed to be prepared.

Staying close to Him, hanging on His every Word, is the only way I can do that.

New Beginnings

Today begins the last weekend before the 2007-2008 school year begins. Lots of new beginnings happening.

The Little Boy’s last year in elementary school. All three Darlings have attended this one (and only) elementary school. The Man took them all up for Open House yesterday:

All three had the same first grade teacher. When The Man the three Darlings walked in, she burst into tears. There was a long line to see her and she ran over and told them to please, please come back in a bit when the line eased up. Here they are:

They popped in to see The Little Boy’s teacher from last year. Again, all three have had him. He had just said to My Girl, “so…what happened to all of your Pooh fat?” Oh yes, so like him. You can see My Girl’s reaction.

He was NOT My Girl’s favorite teacher.

And finally, they popped in to see The Little Boy’s 6th Grade teacher this year. Again, The Boy and My Girl both had her.

She was My Girl’s favorite teacher, EV-er. The Boy told The Little Boy, “you will LOVE her”. I have to say, she was one of my faves of the Darling’s teachers, too.

More beginnings. Last night was also My Girl’s first real season varsity volleyball game. Varsity plays best of 5. They took 3 of 4. Shouldn’t have had to go to four, but it is the first real competition My Girl’s team has had. They have crushed everyone in their scrimmages and tournaments. It was good to see them have some real competition. All of the games were close. You can tell by the look on My Girl’s face that they were not used to losing a game and having such close scores.


She’s brutal on herself. I can NOT for the life of me figure out where she gets it from.

More new stuff. The Boy’s senior year. Scary stuff.
My Girl just got her learner’s permit. SCARIER stuff, believe me. She’s not driving my car!
For some reason, I always think of the new school year as even more of a new start than New Year’s. I’ve been journaling a lot lately about ME. Am I really This Girl? There is definitely still a lot of That Girl in me. And I do not like her. So, I’m looking at some things I want to change.
God, being So Good, keeps bringing me back to the Proverbs 31 Woman. Yes…she does a ton of stuff in her day, but His focus is on her heart, her character, her love of her God and how all of that flows into what she does. Natalee (love her!) reminded me today that yes, God does indeed focus on all of that and the fact that she loves her husband and children next. And how it must please Him that she does, even if the house doesn’t get completely cleaned and laundry piles up.
Thank you for helping with the Ah-Ha moments today, Natalee.
This is a long blog post tonight. Thanks for hanging in there with me, the two of you that made it this far!
Hugs and Blessings…

Things Are Hoppin’ Here…and Some Pictures.

The Boy is sitting at the airport, waiting to get on their plane for Colorado Springs. They’ll spend the night there at a little over 6,000 feet above sea level to begin to adjust to the altitude change. They’ll head into the mountains tomorrow. Best Bud’s dad grew up spending vacation time at a cabin in the mountains. I felt better knowing he was in control and NOT Best Bud and The Boy! Apparently the cabin is the last reachable home before switching to ATV’s/snow mobiles and in fact you need a snow mobile to get to this cabin between October and April. The Boy just phoned. He is so excited. I miss him already.

My Girl with her twin cousins:
Tonight is the last night of volleyball tryouts for My Girl. The competition is brutal this year. She’s only 5’6″…oh, and 1/4. A part of me wishes she would not make the team so that we can start the new school year off totally focusing on school. The other part of me knows how much she enjoys playing volleyball. Competitive volleyball. Either way, God’s in control and knows what is best for My Girl. The fact that He counts the hairs on our head and knows each sparrow comforts that He also cares about the results of a volleyball try out!

The Little Boy continues with football tryouts tonight.
He. Is. Loving. It.
It has been so brutally hot and humid, though, that tonight will be first night they practice in pads and area therefore allowed “contact”. They’ve done their fair share of killing the dummies, running, catching, punting, but no contact. Heard a rumor that he will also have practice tomorrow morning.

The Hair just cracks me up. His football coach said, “it will be coming off…one way or another.”
Nana & Grandpa on their birthday.

Katie & Granddad…The Man’s parents. They came down for Nana & Grandpa’s birthday (my parents).

Summer is speeding to a close. We have less than a month left before school begins. I’m trying to get some “changing in”. As in, Changing Me.
More on that later!

The Victory is Suh-Weet

I had written a post a few weeks ago entitled…Snatching Defeat out of the Hands of Victory.

I never posted it because, well, it talked about how My Girl’s volleyball team consistently gets to the semi-finals and then completely falls apart. It’s not that they don’t have talent…they do. This IS travel after all…players are recruited based on skill. But most of them don’t seem to show up to win.

I didn’t post the original post because in re-thinking it, I realized how much I (me, the mom, an ex-volleyball player myself) hated to see my daughter’s team lose.

Yesterday, HRH and I got out to My Girl’s tournament late in the afternoon. Just in time to hear they had (again) made it into the semi-finals by winning their bracket.

They always win their bracket.

They always make it to the semi-finals. And then fall apart.

For the semi-finals…they whooped up on the other team. The other team had players that really wanted to win. And they cussed. A lot. They were not happy to lose, trust me. Because this then meant that instead of “playing” the final…they had to “work” the final. Line judging, refereeing, etc. Believe me, I know they hated it because My Girls’ team has to do it every tournament (see above on how they get into the semi and promptly lose the semi).

It was so fun to watch My Girl’s team pull together and win.

They met their arch rivals in the final. Each girl seems to know at least one other girl on the rival team. My Girl actually played high school JV with a couple of them this year. I have actually coached with the rival team’s coach.

In the final, we lost the first game. We won the second game. Decisively. Third game we traded points all the way to the end…and lost 15-13 (3rd game we only play to 15, but you do have to win by 2).

All of this was great. I was happy, excited, clapping, whistling, cheering.

On the way home My Girl (with silver medal around her neck) said to me, “mom…I know you were disappointed”.

What? Huh? Me?

Uh…no. I was thrilled!

“But mom, when they made the winning point, I looked over at you and I could tell you were mad.”

Mad????

Uh…no. I really was thrilled. I think I was thrilled. Wasn’t I thrilled (looking to HRH for help…no help there as he continued to drive and refuse to look at me)?

Maybe not so much.

I instantly felt convicted. No…you were NOT thrilled. Admit it.

You were disappointed.
Frustrated.
Maybe even angry that they didn’t win the gold.

But, uh…no…I don’t think I…I mean…I’m positive…I meant to be excited…

I couldn’t see the tremendous victory in winning the semi-finals and going to the finals. I missed the joy of coming in second place, out of all of the teams there, winning one game against and going point for point with the team that always whoops up on everyone else. I didn’t get it.

Man am I an idiot. Where did this drive for perfection come from? I don’t remember this room in my homey pit…and trust me…I have gone through my pit room to room to room on my own and with the help of my best girlfriends.

I had heard the rumors that I’m a Type A personality. But I never believed it. I’m actually kinda lazy.

“Believe it.” That’s what I heard this time. That is what He was telling me.

It was like the scales came off. My quiet time this morning, in every way, shape & form (from the preacher on the radio, to my short devotional, to Day Three of Beth Moore’s Living Beyond Yourself study) was ALL ABOUT ME…selfishness, idol-loving…hideous words that I hate to hear.

But had to embrace as my own.

And so I did. Begging Him to fill me with His Spirit. Helping me to die to self. To live in Christ. To see how to be more selfless and less selfish.

I can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s “lesson” includes. Sigh.

But I’m ready. I’m open.

Victory is Sweet!