After the busy travel day (and night!), we checked into the hotel, unloaded the truck, and wheeled Kennedi and our luggage into the room. Once we got her settled in, leg propped up, and ice therapy machine running, we alternated administering medicine and refilling the ice into the machine. We slept off and on well into the afternoon.
After waking up for good late in the afternoon, I glanced at my phone and did a double-take on the date. It was our anniversary! With everything that had been going on, it completely slipped both our minds! The girls kept imploring us to go out to dinner and celebrate, but Kennedi was in no condition to be left without supervision. I was disappointed that we would be stuck in the hotel, but that was what real life is all about – living through the good times, the bad, and even the ugly – we would continue to cling to each other as we walked through this season.
While in Greensboro, North Carolina, we visited with old friends we hadn’t seen in years, and toured some historic sites, truly enjoying what this metropolis had to offer. Finally, the competition day came for Kassadi’s high jump event. She had won the National Championship at the last two Junior Olympics, and another one months earlier at the Indoor National Championship. Although she had moved up to compete against older girls, we fully expected her to make the podium as an All-American.
We positioned ourselves close to the mat she was assigned to; where we could coach her, and so Kennedi could also observe from her wheelchair. Kennedi had always been a great source of encouragement to Kass, being a high jumper as well.
Kassadi’s name was called, and she took her place at her mark. She always had a long, but focused starting technique: stare at the mat, take a deep breath, say her scripture, and take off for her jump. Her starting height is a jump she could make pretty easily. We start her at a comfortable height to warm her up and build her confidence. So those first couple of jumps she usually makes with little effort.
I watched her 1st attempt proudly, knowing it would be an easy feat. I stared in disbelief when she came down on the bar! I encouraged her to shake it off, sure that it was just nerves. On her 2nd attempt, my nerves started flaring a bit, but I was sure that the first jump was a fluke and she’d easily clear the bar this time. When she hit the bar and it crashed down a 2nd time, I didn’t know what to think!
At this point she was upset and fighting back tears. I continued to yell encouragement to her, while trying to understand what exactly was going on. I held my breath for her third jump and gratefully breathed, “Thank you Jesus” as she cleared the bar.
I thought I knew what was going on: every time she has competed at the National level, she has had instances of giving us a shock by fouling on her initial jumps before clearing the bar on the third. I reckoned this as our scare for this meet, and that she would soon relax and compete at her highest ability for the rest of the event.
After the bar was moved up and her name was called for the next round, it was pretty much a repeat of the first round. I could tell from her approach that she was not her normal self. By the time her third jump came, my nerves got the best of me, and I was doubled over on the fence, my stomach in knots.
She started off with her same approach, did her J-turn toward the mat, and leapt up for her take-off. And she came down on the bar. Again. The red flag indicating her third and final foul went up, and she was out of the competition.
Internally I tried to process what just happened. But I was too stunned. Kenny and I just looked at each other, staring in disbelief. By the time she left the track and came over to us, she was in tears. I felt like crying right along with her. We just held her and told her it was ok.
But inside I was struggling… this was NOT ok! After all we had been through, and now this disappointment on top of everything else? In the past I’d been guilty of extremely poor behavior and parenting when the girls didn’t perform as well as I thought they were able to. But in this moment, I realized that it never truly mattered.
We had been through so much but grew stronger as a family and were all together in that moment. Kennedi would have a long and difficult rehab journey ahead of her. Kassadi was healthy, and even though she didn’t do what she was capable of on that day, it was not the end of the world. There were no college scouts waiting to give her an offer. And even if they were, I still would have to trust in God’s plan for her future.
The tears would soon be gone, but the disappointment would take a little longer to shake off. I was slowly learning, that when we face adversity, it becomes part of our testimony. There’s always a lesson that will develop and strengthen our character, which will ultimately impact our future.
Today’s Play Prediction verse is a promise that God is doing a good work in our lives, and through Jesus Christ, He will continue to do so. Good is defined as favorable or desirable – so this was a great reminder that in spite of our disappointments, we could ultimately believe there would be a favorable and desirable outcome.
I sometimes wish I could rewind the track season of 2018, as if it never happened. July 12, 2018 will always be seared in my memory. But my greatest hope today is that 5 years from now, as I look back, I will realize the impact of that day on our family, especially my daughters, was worth the pain: every tear and every disappointment.
We have begun an amazing journey of purpose and destiny, in which God will ultimately get the glory through our lives and our testimony of overcoming adversity. One declaration of faith at a time…
Are you struggling with major disappointment in your life? What encouragement can you draw from this week’s Play Prediction? Do you believe that God can bring out good through whatever adversity you have experienced? If so, thank Him for hardship you have endured, and let Him know that you believe His good work is in progress in your life, no matter how bad it feels.
Feel free to share your response in the comments section…