Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cartwheeling for Jesus

Today is my biggish, little girl's eighth birthday.

There are a number of distinctive qualities about Norah that make her who she is.  She is a forever student ~ the world, literally, is her classroom.  Sometimes it wears me out, all her inquisitiveness and curiosity!  She is an incredible helper ~ if I need something done, I go to Norah.  She has even gotten her dishwasher duty down to a science.  She is a funny girl ~ whether it's her quick wit or her funny faces and voices.  She also has a delightful giggle for when she cracks herself up!  She has a soft and tender heart ~ her tears come readily and quickly ... prompted by real life or events scripted out in books and on the screen.  Sorry, Honey, you get that from your Mom!

She is a gymnast ~ a cartwheeling, back hip-circling, coupé-ing, vaulting gymnast.  I am dizzy with the things she can make her body do!  I love it!

We are anticipating a bit of a change in Norah's gymnastics.  For a year we have known that she would most likely move up to the competitive level.  They invited her last year and we wrestled with the idea for a few weeks.  How would it work?  Adding a night of practice, adding additional (actual) meets, adding to the commitment, adding to the skills she has mastered, adding to the busy-ness of our family, adding to the demands on her little life?  In the end, we opted to keep her back ... twelve months to give us some time to prepare, to wrap our heads around potentially living at the gym, to "just keep having fun".

Norah in her sweet and not-seven-year-old maturity accepted our decision, but she has been biding her time until January.  Her passion has not wavered.  Her focus has not faltered.  Her excitement about gymnastics has not lessened.  Her technique has not grown sloppy.  She loves it!

Over the course of the summer, I continued to wrestle a bit with the amount of time, energy and money that we were intending to put into Norah's gymnastics.  At least, that is, until God shared a little bit of His heart.

He has gifted Norah in a lot of ways.  She is a student who will be discovering on a daily basis the wonders of the world ... and the Creator who set it in motion.  She is a servant to her family and her classroom and her teammates ... Jesus has put His servant's heart in her heart.  She is a goofball because a lot of life is funny ... and when life isn't funny, her joy isn't squelched because her heart is in the right place.  She is a softy, just like Jesus wants her ... hard hearts don't experience the intimacy with God like a child-like heart does.

And she is a gymnast because God made her that way ... and it brings Him joy to see her cartwheeling, back hip-circling, coupé-ing and vaulting!  He loves it!

There is a line from "Chariots of Fire" in which the runner, Eric Liddell describes his own passion in this way: "I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure." That gives me goosebumps every time!  Feeling God's pleasure because he was doing what God designed him to do.  To run!  And in Norah's case ... to cartwheel, back hip-circle, coupé and vault!

When God laid this on my heart, my entire perspective changed!  I would never want to come between the gifts that Norah has and God's purposes ... and His delight.  In a curious way, when Norah sets her heart on tumbling or bars or the balance beam, she is worshipping God - because when she uses her gifts, it makes God's heart happy.

I don't know what else God has in store for my girl, but in the meantime she'll be practicing her back hand spring ... and making God smile.

Happy birthday, Nuna-girl!

10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides. If anyone is gifted with crazy flexibility, super pointy toes and springy feet, they should use those gifts, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:10-11, with a little liberty from me)

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful reminder of not squelching our I am guilty of doing this to myself. I feel like I allow fear to get in the way mostly. I don't really have a pasion per say, but I am still trying to do things that come naturally...those seem to be what I am gifted at I think? What a great tribute to your I just have to meet her...we have some things in common...accept I am terribly inflexible or springy. :)


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