Monday, May 28, 2012

When We're Willing To Try

The Dancing Girl and I have been working on some heart things around here. 

She's got to be one of the tenderest, sweet-as-a-peach-in-summer, hearts I know. The girl breaths kindness. The Lord has blessed her with a heart that loves to serve. He's filled her mouth with words of encouragement towards others. 

But when we were all invited to play a little game of putt- putt in celebration of our treasure friend AJ's 5th birthday, I knew that without a little prep, we were about to walk right into a puddle of gigantic tears falling right out of the dancing girls tender little heart.

She's the child who likes to do all things perfectly. She's the child that gets destroyed inside when she's doesn't succeed the very first time she tries something. She's the child that hasn't yet learned that she can't win every game. If she's not winning, she's crying. And it has taken this Mama years to see these crying sagas for what they often times really are, feelings of inadequacy and defeat.

With the Dancing Girl, learning new things needs to include a preparatory conversation on the basics of perseverance and choosing joy.

So in the car before we were able to jump into the joy of celebrating our precious friend, I reminded the Dancing Girl that we were about to play a game that she had never played before. I reminded her that she did not have to be perfect at the game, she simply had to try her best... with joy... without tears. I reminded her that when all hope seemed lost and that little ball simply would not go into that little hole, she would have to purpose to persevere. 

She knows that word well, we use it often in our home.

/per-se-vere/ - 
{The Clark family definition} 
= try, try again, no matter how hard it may seem, don't quit!

We're not but ten minutes into the game and she's on the fifth hole and she's hit that ball at the very least a dozen times... it finally goes in and she picks up her ball. She looks my way but avoids eye contact. She's biting her lower lip and blinking her eyes in rapid speed. 

She's on the verge of tears but trying with all her might to keep it all together.

I can't decide if I should pull her aside and flood her with a little encouragement or if I should just let her walk on and tough it out. 

I choose option # 1 and the moment her eyes meet mine she can't hold it in any longer and the flood gates open and she's a puddle in my arms. 

I look straight into her and tell her that yes she CAN do this. I remind her tender heart that she's never even once played this game in her life. I ask her if God asks us to be be perfect or if he simply asks us to persevere? 
She knows the answer, and she chokes it out.
I smile.

And then the most amazing thing happens...


"Alright Mom, I'm going to keep on trying."

She stops crying and she moves onto the next hole.

It was AWESOME!!

She kept trying.
She got better.
And on hole 17, she even got a HOLE IN ONE! 

Then when we were getting in the car, she was laughing all happy and she tells me from the back seat, 
"Mom. That was so much fun can we come back and do it again on my birthday?"

Man, when we're willing to try...

All that can happen when we're simply willing to try!

I've been struggling with our CRAZY dog. 
Truthfully, I've listed him on craigslist at least a half dozen times since the Cowboy brought him home back in March. 

Most simply, he's a puppy. 
And puppies, well, they're CRAZY. 
They jump and they bark, and they drive a Mama who could care less about dogs, CRAZY.

Even when I listed the lovely thing on craigslist for FREE, no one wanted him. 
It has become clear to me over the past days and weeks that the Lord just might have a plan for Chief and me. And maybe that plan needs to start with a willingness in my own heart to simply try. 

Maybe the Dancing Girl is not the only one in the farmhouse who needs to practice a little perseverance. 
Don't tell the Cowboy, (cuz secretly I'm hoping that I'll wake up on my birthday in a few weeks and the Cowboy will kiss my lips and tell me oh so sweetly that he's given our dear Chief to some lovely family in Iowa (or some other far away land)), but I think after miniature golfing with my Hal, that I've gotten a new zeal to at least take the poor dog off craigslist and TRY a little harder, a little longer, to get along with this peppy, four-legged thing. :)

All the ways that we might grow up towards Him,
When we're simply willing to try...