My daughter likes to challenge herself lately to see how many cartwheels she can do in a row. Usually she gets to about 10 or 15 before getting (understandably) dizzy!
Yesterday morning we were all jumping on the trampoline together and she decided to see how many she could do. I suggested 100, which made her laugh. “No way mom! I can’t do that!” But she started cartwheeling, and I started counting.
After getting to around ten I yelled out, “Do 100!”, to which she replied “NO!” We were laughing about it, but she kept going. Around 12 I got an idea. I started shouting out “One more!” every time she would complete a cartwheel. After shouting “One more!” at 20 she said, “Are you kidding me??”.
After 22, she stopped for a second, but I pumped her up knowing she had at least one more in her! She did one more and then kept going! So I kept counting. She got to 30 and again I pumped her up. “You can do one more!!” She again told me it was definitely “the last one FOR GOOD” Haha! As I said, “31, one more!”, she shouted “NO! You’re killing me!”, but kept going.
At 35, Eddy jumped in and did something that surprised me. “I’ll do it for Lili!”, his little voice chimed in. He started to cartwheel with her. I told Lili, who was losing steam again, “Eddy will do it with you! Do one more!” and started counting both of their cartwheels. Amazingly, I didn’t have to keep shouting “one more” as much anymore. Knowing she had someone by her side gave her strength. At 61, poor little Eddy got kicked in the head, and Lili took the turn to comfort and be there for him. Leo saw the love and joined in the hug too! At that point, I thought enough was enough and exclaimed, “Wow, you did more than 60 cartwheels!” But then Eddy jumped up laughing and said, “No! More!”
Lili excitedly agreed and they were off again! Leo decided to help at this point too! You can guess that I didn’t have to shout “one more” anymore. They had found their own momentum and were cartwheeling their little hearts out while I counted.
At 75 Lili got so excited and said that once they hit 90 she wanted to do the last ten by herself. We watched as she finished, and those last ten were some of her most perfect and energetic cartwheels!
Once she got to 100 the boys rushed her for a group hug! It was the sweetest thing, and they showed me a powerful metaphor. I asked them “Did you ever think you could get to 100 cartwheels??”
How many times in my life have I been about to give up on something and heard the still, small voice whisper that this was only the beginning. (Experiencing childbirth for the first time comes to mind, haha) It’s never in a way that is overwhelming though. It often motivates me to keep going, knowing that I’m not close enough to the end to lose steam yet. I start to feel a second wind. It’s a reminder, a time to pray and focus inward, and lean on something bigger than myself.
When I was in my senior year of high school, I decided to try out for the tennis team. I had kept to myself and my little circle of friends pretty much my whole high school experience. I hadn’t played sports since middle school, and I didn’t try out for or join anything. For some reason I had lost all confidence in myself, but my friend told me to just do it because “It’s really fun and really easy to get in since not a lot of people are trying out!”
I ended up on the lowest Junior Varsity doubles, but I was on the team! It was a great feeling, and I decided I wanted to take it seriously since I was in it now. I started showing up to the tennis wall hours before practice every day to hit balls, and throughout the season I improved a lot! It was really a mental game too, to go against someone who had been playing for years and think I even had a chance to beat them, that I even deserved to be there, but I kept going. I loved being on the team!
Towards the end of the season it was time for the multi-school tournament. I was getting ready when the coach approached me and said that their Varsity third singles player couldn’t play in the tournament anymore. He wanted to know if I would stand in for her. I couldn’t believe he would even ask me, but of course I said yes!
The day came for the big tournament and I was SO insanely nervous. I played a practice match against the girl I was going up against, and she slaughtered me, obviously. I did my best, but she’d been playing since she was a kid, while I’d been playing for 6 months!
This was when I had the idea to lean into a power greater than my own. Philippians 4:13 had always been a favorite scripture of mine, so right before the match I wrote, “I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me” on a little slip of paper. I tucked it into the shorts of my tennis skirt, grabbed my tennis racket, and put my game face on.
Now before you get too excited, I didn’t go on to win the tournament or anything, but I will never forget the match I had with this girl.
She won one, and then I won one, she won, I won, back and forth, back and forth, until the score was 6-6. I was slicing the ball and serving like I never had before. My reflexes and reaction times were INSANE. It truly didn’t even feel like me at times when I would hit the ball back to her. Although she took the final win, I really gave her a run for her money, and that felt truly miraculous!
My coach approached me after and congratulated me, saying he had NO IDEA how I pulled that off after watching me play her during the practice match earlier in the day.
This taught me something that has stayed with me in my life since then. I use it now whenever I practice ballet, or any other new skill. When the voices full of doubt in my head tell me I’m not worthy of it, because I started too late, when they say, “Who are you to think you can do something like this? Who are you to dream this big??” I remember what I’ve learned and I answer back.
I am the daughter of a KING. A KING who is greater than any man on earth. A KING who sent His SON to give me strength when I am weak. Someone who steps up when I’ve done all that I can do, and brings power greater than what I have on my own. I trust that power with my life. I’ve felt that power and that light pulsing through my veins. I can do ALL THINGS through Christ, which strengthens me.
He comforts me, He empowers me, and He QUALIFIES me to keep taking one more step.
And one more.
And one more.