We didn't make it easy on her but how could I know all that God would squeeze into three short months.
Grammie planted the idea. She went on a Summer Adventure and her Grammie, whose always listening, always reading for new wisdom to deliver to her sons, their spouses and of course those beloved grand babes. Well she heard about it and then heard about a book written by a sweet girl who made it to Nationals.
Grammie bought the book and Girlie #2 devoured it. Home but a day when she finished the read and came in my office late to find me on the website. She wanted to do it. I was frantically researching what it entailed. What does it require of her, me, the family. We had to make a rush decision because we just happened to be on the site the last day of registration. Not only the last day but within hours of closing on the last day. I paid the $30 entrance fee and Girlie #2 became a contestant in the Junior Division of the National Bible Bee.
It's designed as a Family Discipleship. The entire family works through a book of the Bible. The contestants have a stack of 250 Bible verses to memorize. I had grand plans to sit around the table studying God's word, instead we encouraged her in the airport while we waited for our plane to the Dominican Republic. She dutifully lugged her study material, Strong's Concordance and that big stack of verses all over that tiny island, but still she fell behind and I felt like I let her fall. Then we arrived home with plans to catch up.
Instead we had to pack boxes and load trucks and find a new place to dwell. I worked hours learning a new job when I wanted to be drilling her on verses We all encouraged her and she gasped at the work load but continued to press on.
In our new abode, boxes piled everywhere, school started and unexpectedly her beloved Papa is admitted into the hospital. Focus is shifted, loved ones are cared for and that little Girlie runs so hard to keep up. When Papa's hospital stay goes from days to weeks she tells me in tears how far she is lagging in her run. How can I help her run this race?
She decides if she sits at his side, next to him in the hospital room she can work the lessons of 1 Peter and maybe she can catch up. So she does. For days I drop my sweet 10 year old daughter at MD Andersen Cancer Center. She hefts that pink camouflage backpack up the elevator. The straps are begining to give way to the overload of weight in the form of John Gills writings, Strongs's Concordance and her bulky Sword Study binder. She sits at the side of her ailing Grandfather and delves into God's word. There is a guilt over not holding her hand more as she runs, but I am brought to tears at the image of my girl studying in the presence of her heavenly Father as she gently, lovingly sits at her Grandfather's side.
The date of the local bee arrives. She is nervous, It has arrived too quickly. We all go to cheer her on. Up at 6 a.m. to make it to the competition on time. Her heart is racing but her presence is that of peace. I'm already so proud.
First up the written test. The competitiors head to the testing room. We wait, for an hour, biting my nails and praying and she returns with sad news. She didn't realize there was a second side and took too long on the first side. She ran out of time and that meant 30 questions unanswered. Her shoulders slumped a bit. The Man and I encouraged, reminded we are so proud, no matter the outcome.
On to the oral test. 10 minutes, 25 verses randomly chosen from the stack of 250. The Man and I follow her into the room sitting in the back. The time starts and I watch her shoulders fall as she says, "Pass, Pass, Pass" to verse after verse. One judge pulls her baseball cap down over her eyes, she cannot look at the crestfallen competitor. I understand her body language, it speaks of right before the tears begin to fall. I can hear the quiver in my girl's voice. I'm praying hard. My girl's stumbling to the finish line and all I can do is ask the Holy Spirit to carry her the final steps in this race she's chosen to run.
She recites a couple verses but as soon as the time is up her body collapses into a full slump. The tears flow. She ran her heart out, she is disappointed with how she finished. The Man and I envelope her. Our hearts break at the sound of her sobs and even the judges tears are flowing.
I take her into the ladies room and I remind her, remind her of the eternal verses earthly. We pray. The Holy Spirit gives me words beyond my own understanding and she is comforted, but still disappointed. She wished she did more, regrets of how she spent her time My heart is exploding with pride over this girl and her race. She wipes up her face, puts on a smile and heads to the waiting room to play checkers with the other competitiors/newfound friends.
All the staff disappears to tally scores. We fellowship with the families present, enjoying sandwhiches and ice cream. Her tears are forgotten. All the competitors sit together to hear the outcome of this amazing race. They start with the Senior Division. Girlie #2 claps and cheers for the sole competitior. Now the scores of the Junior Division. The announcer is looking at her list. She starts with First Place. The name she calls is familiar, I am in shock, The Man is in shock but the oldest sister is cheering and our Girlie #2 sits stunned.
"Me, did you call me?" she points to herself.
All present had seen the tears, all present were excited, applauding. It seems, though she missed those last 30 questions, she scored almost perfect on her written test. Time spent in a hospital at the side of one she loved had been blessed. The Holy Spirit granted wisdom and knowledge when she asked for it. She won First Place. Her sweet, humble little heart took my breath away.
Now, we wait, wait for three days to see if her scores are enough to earn a spot competing in Nashville, Tennessee on the National level. She would love one of those spots but either way she has learned how to run, not looking to the left or right but just dead on, running only for an eternal prize.
I'm so proud of my Girl!
Numberless Counting since I packed my Gratitude Journal:
Grateful to watch my children run races and get to help them run well.
Friends who bring me silly candies that make me laugh til I cry.
Children growing in their love for their God.
The Man shoulders stand square and his burden is less.