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"I can't do it, anymore, Mom. I just can't!!"
"Yes, you can! I know you can!"
My mother's heart broke at the sight of my pre-teen daughter who stood dejectedly, unicycle in hand, fighting off tears.
Weeks before, she had fallen from her 5-ft. unicycle. Although a bit dazed and slightly sore, she had survived unscathed - physically, that is. Mentally, a challenge like she had never faced was brewing. Within minutes, a mental block had formed that would prove to become an obstacle to her young life like she had never before experienced.
Suddenly unable to ride even her normal 3 - footer (something she could have probably done in her sleep until her fall), she recognized the mental block for what it was and began taking the normal actions one would take to overcome it. She took great efforts to practice riding - and falling - again and again. Over and over she tried.
At times, she would pedal twice and we would cheer with joy. Then, the very next day, she couldn't stay on. As the weeks turned into months, her embarrassment and frustration grew as she continued to attend practice with her drill team, forced to join the "newbies" (those just learning). She would stop and watch her friends and the other "seasoned" riders preparing for the parades and performances, trying not to break into tears.
She wasn't the only one frustrated and semi-horrified at this turn of events. I shared her feelings. I, too, had had my share of mental blocks when I was in sports as a preteen. However, I had never seen one so solid, so unable to be overcome. Objectively, nothing made sense. Her body knew what to do, but acted as if it had never even seen a unicycle.
We all wanted to give up, but my husband and I could only see the bigger picture. This block had such control of our daughter. Convictions of failure and negativity now coursed through her veins and had begun to affect other parts of her life. We knew that giving up could not be an option in this case. Her brain could not be allowed to think that mental blocks of this magnitude could not be overcome.
Along with her coaches, my husband, other daughters and I spent hours and hours standing patiently holding her up while she tried to move forward. In all honesty, by the 4th month, it began to seem pointless. I couldn't imagine how she could keep trying. With every hopeful improvement came an immediate setback. And yet, although she understandably struggled with giving up, her continued perseverance in this daunting process was astounding.
It wasn't until around this time that I began really praying for healing of this mental block, one that seemed to be forged in steel and covered in concrete. It had become painfully clear that only God could have the power to break it, if He saw fit to do so.
One night after a specifically grueling time of practice outside, my daughter cried, "I am done. I just can't do it anymore!!!" After she had gone to bed and fallen asleep, I went into her room and began to pray over her.
Not the most charismatic person in the world, I am not used to praying over people, but my comfortability had recently increased slightly due to connections with some amazing people in our parish's healing ministry and some incredible books. Plus, I had become desperate. I needed God to help her conquer what I now considered a type of demon in her life.
I laid hands on her and prayed words from the heart, begging Him to heal her and help her conquer this life-limiting obstacle.
The next day, she refused to try again. Something inside me felt that I should let it go. I advised her to take a break with the reminder that she would still have to go to practice. Days later, after watching her siblings ride, she decided to try again. Her sister came over to help. Linking arms and using lined-up chairs to lean on, they pushed forward. Suddenly, things began to click! Holding onto her sister, she was able to pedal partly across the yard! Although overjoyed, our happiness was tentative. Any improvement had always been followed by regression up to this point.
Still, we had regained hope!
Over the next month, she began to slowly improve, until one day she let go....and rode....by herself!!!
"MOM!! I'M DOING IT!! I'M REALLY DOING IT!" she yelled.
I was filled with incredulous joy and gratitude. From that day on, she continued to improve. Any setbacks were minor and conquered quickly.
A couple of days ago, I found myself shaking my head in complete disbelief, a huge lump in my throat. As I stood near our trampoline, I watched this same daughter, who had just a month ago given up on unicycling, push a 5-footer over to the trampoline's side and climb up. Taking a breath and trying to calm her visibly shaking legs, she pulled the uni up and positioned herself on its seat. She sat, a look of unmistakable triumph on her face. By the end of the day, her smile had grown even bigger as she road around the yard holding her sister's hand.
As I write this post, the lump in my throat returns with the image of her on that 5-footer. Although probably minor to so many, this little miracle is not so little to us. God has taught our daughter (and us!) that NOTHING is impossible with Him.
How I pray that we never forget this beautiful and merciful lesson!!!
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Hi! I'm a Catholic mom who loves to encourage and support others in their journey to live the beauty of our Catholic faith in a modern world. It can be a struggle, no doubt, but God has given us the tools we need! Join my family (both immediate and extended!) and me as we take on this incredible journey of our path to holiness.
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