Lifelines

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It was Sophomore year..another first day, and another year of expanding the wings. I find it difficult to blog about school while the year is still in progress. There are so many things to be taught, places to get to and through. In reflection, there is something about looking in the rear view mirror.. seeing the road behind you that gives the wind a chance to push you forward.

It is a new beginning.

The year began with less of a struggle. She was no longer the newbie and at least she had gained some familiarity in her surroundings. There were a few faces recognized from the previous year, but that was not a guarantee that there would be connections.

Be patient.

Be yourself.

Be positive.

The season was soon to change. Fall was upon us. I knew that it would bring Fall sports, bonfires and more involvement than the previous year.

I have often spoke of “lifelines” – those people who enter our lives that appear out of the ashes when we need them most. I prayed for them. (ok maybe I begged a little too?)  I knew that if she could just  focus on the things that interested her, the rest would start to fall into place.

It was a slow start, but joining FFA and getting the Animal Science class she wanted seemed to spark a little more interest than she would even realize. New people. YIKES! The days slowly went from mediocre to – “I look forward to my class.”  Lifeline. YES!   Not only did she enjoy the class but actually became involved in other projects relating to it.

I was encouraged.

So was she.

Finding a little happy in the Sophomore year was major for my Momma heart. The first semester passed by quickly. School was in full swing, busy days and busy evenings.

Then I realized that something else was taking place. The Lifelines I had prayed for were not only academically…but the social aspect was improving.

My high school years were full of friends. I had many great ones and there was always the best friend, so it was something I wanted her to experience. I encouraged her to be friendly.

She doubted.

I prayed.

Sophblog2There were days that we felt we had hit that old familiar slump. Some days we had to remind ourselves that God cared about the smallest of things in our day-to-day. He does not change.

Just as Winter break came and went, so came the next semester. New teachers, new students.

That semester was one of those Lifelines.

She made more friends than the last year and a half. More importantly, I think she learned to “be a good friend” to those around her. The quiet evenings became full of busy chatting and planning the next friend thing.

Her .. with Her Friends.

The Best Friend…..(whose Momma had prayed the same prayer) Yeah.. that was you God! He knows how us girls need a bestie!

Lifelines.

Smiles.

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So, no the year was not without incidents, hard days and different struggles – every year will bring its own.

We pressed on toward the end… more than ready for Summer!

Lastly……………a picture really does speak a thousand words. There are many photos that tug at my Momma heart… but I think this one has made me smile through happy tears the most. It’s kinda special seeing some of those Lifelines in person.

Sophblog4It reminds us both of these three truths…

God is Good

God is Good to Me

God is Good at Being God.

 

Jeremiah 29:11New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 

 

 

 

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Returning to My Corner

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“Ding… Ding” is sometimes the most welcome sound that an exhausted fighter can hear. In the boxing realm – it means time to return to your own corner, catch your breath, listening to your coach and get ready to go into the next round.

Who in the world knew that I would enjoy this heavyweight bag and gloves so much? My husband was not sure it was a real request at first, but.. it was, and I do use it actually. (more so when it is cooler weather)

I grew up around boxing. I watched my little skinny brother in the ring. (I have to mention here, that his first fight was a “TKO” in less than a minute…yeah we were pretty excited.. and my Momma was very relieved) So, yes.. I’m familiar.

Relating to that “TKO” today? I often find myself on the receiving end.. not pretty for anyone that lives in my space. Leaving me dazed and confused for a bit…. I hit the mat, face down…. and I hear the counting knowing full well? I’m out for the entire eight.   In my little world, that usually means a night of no rest and feeling the sucker punch the rest of the next day. The only thing to do? process the bruised pride, shake it off and try to stay on your feet the next time.

I wished I could say that it were that simple. Maybe in some way it is? but it’s still a process that has to be battled.

Ding…. Ding…

I retreat.

From my corner I can faintly hear my coach… His voice is not as loud when I am struggling to hear over my own breathing.

You can do this

Catch your breath

It’s going to be okay

Keep your guard up

I’m right here…………..

I am reminded of my coaches’ word…

Isaiah 40:31

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

For my non-boxing readers? A boxing match is 12 rounds with 3 minutes each… that can seem like a lifetime, and so it does when your heart hurts, your are frustrated and you are dog-tired in dealing with things you want to see change.

One round at a time. 3-minute rounds. and you just dig in to make it to the 12.

Every battle will be different, every opponent will be different, but my Coach will not change. He doesn’t give up on me when I am all of the above and more.

He wraps me in His robe.

He refreshes my soul with life-giving water.

He massages my heart

He works my corner.

Each new day will hold its own battle. It’s life. and it keeps coming until the end of our rounds. I’m not always going to be successful in getting the “knockout” – sometimes it’s going to be  a weary 3 minutes. Sometimes.. that bell is going to ding before I am finished pounding away at the hard stuff.

The bell is there for my own good.

Refocus.

Settle down

Fight a good fight

I wish I could say that I never want an unclean fight…..I am being courageously honest here. I want to punch back. kidney punch and take some low jabs…I want them to feel the pain I feel, until they are sorry…. I tell my Coach this is the strategy I want to take.

He doesn’t disqualify me from the fight.

He coaches me by His word, it is up to me to take the advice.

I really want to finish well. No one finishes well by fighting dirty. I already know this. I want to be able to shake hands in the end and be okay with how I fought.

We all want the TKO… knock out our troubles in a matter of minutes and dance in the ring with the win… who doesn’t love that kind of victory? Maybe we learn more from going the full 12 rounds.

The truth is.. we all get sucker-punched in this life.. and man does it hurt! We must listen for the bell and return to our corners.. listen to our Coach… strategy for a clean win – finish well.

Rhythm is everything in boxing. Every move you make starts with your heart, and that’s in rhythm or you’re in trouble.” – Sugar Ray Robinson

That’s right… the heart.

I really wish I still had that video of my brother’s first fight. I remember the cheer of the crowd..people saying “Did you see that? Did you see that? I also remember how proud I was of him that night… and I am reminded.. if I listen carefully to my coach? maybe I can have a clean fight.. and finish just as well.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. – Timothy 4:7