On top of ministry, I am also the mother of a Competitive Gymnast. It’s been the trip of a lifetime as I went from absolutely no knowledge of gymnastics to developing a working knowledge of technique, apparatus, and scoring. I am in way over my head, but loving every minute of the lessons I am learning!
At Kennedy’s level one of the necessary skills is a back handspring. It looks pretty simple until you think about running full speed, doing a roundoff, and then flinging your body backwards end over end. (I can’t even imagine!)
At first, Kennedy picked up the skill in good time and seemed to be going about it flawlessly. She is a powerful runner and her movements are impeccably precise. All in all, she looked like she was on the right track.
And then one day she fell.
As she landed, her neck took the brunt of the fall and the pain shattered through her little body.
Since that moment those pesky back handsprings have haunted her. The soreness has long since subsided, and she could physically do a back handspring with no problem. Her muscles are strong enough to do that and much more, but she continues to struggle. Why?
It’s all in her head. On the way down that day, she let doubt, insecurity, and uncertainty move in where boldness, bravery, and courage once lived. She started renting the space in her head to fear.
At practice yesterday her coach had her do at least 30 back handsprings on the safety of a mat. Then when she moved Kennedy to the floor, she said, “Kenny! Can you do a back handspring?”
Of course she can. She just did dozens of them.
But in that moment, silence filled the enormous gym. I watched as that same fear bubbled up in her little heart. There she stood alone on the floor, her shoulders fighting not to slump. Her bright smile turned down into a nervous, uncertain frown. She shrugged and said, “I don’t know.”
My mother’s heart wanted to scream from my bench, “Baby! You can do this and SO, SO much more! You’ve just gotta believe what I believe about you. It’s all in your head. Don’t let fear live there and rob you of flying!”
And then that voice whispered from Heaven. “That’s how I feel, too. If my children believed what I believe about them, they would be fearless.”
Yes, Lord. You do know that longing in a parent’s heart. Not for perfect children, but children who UNDERSTAND how strong they are and use that strength to live out the miraculous.
But, Lord, You’re not just talking about Kennedy right now, are you?
I get it. I have so many of those moments as well. Moments where I should be brave enough, but past hurts, memories, and insecurities turn into a wall of fear within me. Lord, let me hear Your voice and not allow fear to hold me back, either. The lost potential is too much to bear…
And in that moment, I saw the benefit of Kennedy’s struggle. If, at seven years old, she learns that the voice of fear is the wrong voice, then she can learn that the voice of God is the right voice. And I bet that God’s voice sounds strikingly similar to a desperate parent, sitting on the side of gym floor, staring at the face of fear trapped in their child and wanting the breathless words to set them free…
“You can do this and SO, SO much more! You’ve just gotta believe what I believe about you. It’s all in your head. Don’t let fear live there and rob you of flying!”