This weekend, our oldest daughter played her last soccer game of the season. Man, that girl has focus.
Any time the ball rolls near her position on defense, eyes widen, then narrow, fill with fire. And my girl boots that black and white thing. Hard. Her single-minded objective — to get the ball as far away from her team’s goal as possible.
Her second (self-assigned) role is to look across the field from her position by the goal and tell other players what she sees, hence the nickname bestowed on her by coaches this season: “Field General.”
My Field General is a fiery, deep and tender warrior.
For calendar years and on certain days, I feel like a warrior myself. (And aren’t we all in some ways battle survivors?) In more moments than I care to remember, my struggles — to know who I am, accept who I am, believe that what I am is an imperfect enough — have threatened to drag me down and leave me on the field, depressed, defeated, torn apart by the fight.
But for the grace of God.
A strong arm in me kept fighting. Kept questioning. Kept connecting. Kept trusting my God big enough to help me fight my struggles and use me in weakness. Even as the spear hung low by my side.
At the age of nine, my beautiful first-born girl does not appear to share the struggles that have threatened to knock her mama to the ground over the years. Certainly, she has her own. Life settles way down in her body, and I know that means sorrows cause her tremendous pain. Life is not always easy for the deep live-ers.
But when I look on her confident expression and solid stance, wrapped in a purple long-sleeve shirt, black soccer shorts, rainbow-striped socks and black Converse, something in me settles happy and low down and dances crazy like her socks.
My girl knows who she is.
Perfectionism is not her master. Her individuality blesses her.
I read this week: “So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the Lord handed all their enemies over to them. Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to the house of Israel failed.” (Joshua 21:43-44)
The children of Israel lived fulfilled promises. Rest. Victory. Rich land to stand solid upon and settle. They took the gift and inhabited that which their parents had not known.
I think of my own parents and how I am now tasting life they only dreamt of as they played puzzles, kicked soccer balls, read stories, made smash eggs and steaming bread, through their own gauzy screens of hurt and pain.
Yet here I am, standing firm upon new places in this promised land.
Yes, my tender warrior and her sisters will claim even greater places in the land our God told me about in my dark battle days. I pray some of the hope, confidence and joy I’ve fought for will be theirs by inheritance.
For I must believe the battles we fight, the places we refuse to surrender but only unto our King, the land on which we claim freedom — none of this is wasted. Not only for us, but for those who follow.
And that land of promise, my children will not only stand in it. They will also lie down in it.
Finding peace and rest near the battle fields in ways I’ve not yet known.
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Ashley – This is too beautiful, too exquisitely true, painful and heaven-filled, for me to find words. I hope you know how very full my heart is! I love you so, your mama
It seems so unbelievable, doesn’t it, that painful and heaven-filled can be so close on this earth? My heart is so full of love for you, too, Mama!
And that Field General of yours (and ours) – she AWES me! What a profound (!) blessing it is to know her, to be near her, to witness that heart and mind and spirit of hers in the way she approaches Everything! (Is it too early to register for her first workshop?) I so love that girl!
I am completely awed by her myself. Thank you for all the ways you love and know my girl!
Sicily has germanic blood flowing thru her veins. This could explain her in the role of the General. (Kidding on the square as they wont to say). She is a wonderful girl, full of curiosity, questions and wonderment with a firm gaze onto the future. You possess deep insights and are able to articulate your on vision to your precious girls. You are””SO” easy to love, Papa
Thank you, Papa, for your dear and true thoughts about my girl. I love that: “sense of wonderment with a firm gaze onto the future.” How true!! Thank you for your love in all its forms. Love you!
Thanks, Ashley, for your insights.
Thank you, Sue, for taking the time to comment. xoxo
Beautiful, Ash! Bravo!! You have a standing ovation from my little corner of the world:-) Such a blessing you are to your girls!!
Thanks so much for your encouragement, dear friend. I count it (and you!) as precious treasure. Continue being the blessing you are! Love you.
Your posts are only getting better & better, and deeper & deeper. I shared this with my mom, too. This so relates to each of us and our lives, as we strive to serve God & make this world a better place.
Thanks so much, Annie. Love to you and your mama!
Ashley! I keep feeling like you are writing posts just for me. I love this and love your insight and beautiful writing!
Kate, thanks so much. I love when God is working in multiple hearts in the same way at the same time. It’s so encouraging, so validating. Much love to you and your family.
I read this again today, and this time it fell on me with fresh eyes and heart. Your hope and prayers for your girls articulate so perfectly my own for my children. “I pray some of the hope, confidence and joy I’ve fought for will be theirs by inheritance.” I love you so much and am so proud of you, so thankful for all we share!!
I imagine saying these prayers together. I love the person you are and give thanks for our shared journey. You are a gift.
What a gift you have given your girls, Ashley. The presence of love and faith in your home is something that will forever shape their little hearts. No matter the trials in life, I am certain they will know LOVE! And I LOVE your blog…such wonderful reminders set in beautiful words!
Katie, thank you so much for all the ways you pour out encouragement — to me as a writer and as a mom. What a gift you have in speaking out love and good that makes love and good grow all the more. I am so glad you’re enjoying my new little blog. It’s so great to have you here. Sending love!