Friday, January 3, 2014

A Realization of Grace

"In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well." - Romans 12:6a
I sat on the cold metal bleachers and watched my daughter take the ice yesterday.
There was a visible relaxation to her body as her blades began to glide across the familiar surface of the ice rink she loves. It had been a week since she had been able to skate. We'd been traveling and busy over the holidays so her normal 5 day a week practice schedule was all out of whack.

And it showed.
She was edgy, irritated, crabby.

And she was skating in the parking lot.
In the store aisles.
On the hardwood floor in our living room.
So when she finally took the ice yesterday all that pent up energy, that creativity, that freedom was released with every push of her blades.
She was home.

My daughter Emma is a competitive figure skater.
No, she probably will not go to the Olympics. (It's always the first question she gets, so I figured I'd answer that first and not leave you hanging.)

Anyway, Emma has been skating since the age of 4. She's just turned 16, so yes, that's a long time. 12 years if you're doing the math.
I can still remember sitting on the couch with her, watching the Olympic skating in Salt Lake City. She said "Mommy, I want to do that!"

No. I did not run to the nearest ice rink to sign her up for lessons.
My bad. But I had one of those "You want to do WHAT?" moments that lasted until she wore me down about 6 months later.
Even at age 4, Emma seemed to know that the ice rink was where she belonged.
It's like she just knew that it was important. Knew that it would matter.
And it's actually been pretty mind-blowing to watch her love for the sport change and grow over the last 12 years.

Like most athletes, she's had her roller-coaster ride moments, ready to quit one week, can't stand to be off the ice the next. Most of that due to things out of her control - a prickly coach, a mean-girl fellow skater, a bad fall and the big one - our home rink collapsed during a very bad winter and we found ourselves driving an hour one way for ice time. Yeah, that about did us both in.
But about 3 years ago the move switch inside her got flipped to full-throttle and it's been all systems go ever since. 
She has a passion for the ice that is like a living, breathing thing inside her.
She's happiest when she's on the ice.
It's her joy; her solace; her freedom.
It's her unique gift from the God who loves her completely and He is glorified each time she gives way to the passion he's put inside her. 
And it's also her future.

Not many 16 year olds can say that they know what they want to do for the rest of their lives, but my girl, my strangely mature, yet still child-like girl knows exactly what she wants to do.
She wants to be a skating coach and choreographer. And yes, that just blows me away.
To be so sure of who you are, of the gift of purpose that God has given you just stuns me.

But I see it. I see it in the way she patiently works with the younger skaters on her synchronized team. They flock to her like a big sister and eat it up when she helps them with steps and moves on the ice and love and wisdom off the ice. They love to watch her skate and stop everything to see her do her program either in practice or in a show.
Not because she is the best, but because she loves it so much. And she loves them too. It shows.
She is radiant with the joy it brings her.

I see it in the way she doggedly works to perfect a program. I see it in her frustration over a move or jump or spin that just won't come easily. I see it in her when she skates on my living room floor or works out steps under the dinner table.
Skating is part of her and she could no more deny it than she could deny her nose.

So, sitting in those cold bleachers yesterday got me thinking - where do I find my joy, my solace, my freedom?
When is my heart at home?
It's when I write. 

Moving my thoughts and ideas and inspiration to written words gives me a peace so palpable, it moves me to tears at times.
It's a physical release, a relief to get the story out.
Sometimes it just won't leave me alone, pushing insistently against the edges of my brain until it hurts.
And when I don't heed it's insistence, I get edgy, crabby, irritated. 

It took me a long time to pay attention to God's still small voice - and His shouting too - and trust Him that this is what I'm supposed to be doing.
But it took me a long time to become the person God intends me to be. The woman he can use.
I'm still getting there, a little bit more every day. That's a journey that will only be complete when I stand in his presence one day. 
For now, it takes a daily surrender. A moment by moment awareness that it's not my life anyway - it's all His.
And all for His glory.

That's a realization of grace.

With a Courageous Heart,


  1. Beautiful post, Robin. It's difficult sometimes (okay, a lot of time) to figure out where your place is in this world--and even harder to figure out your God given gift. We tend to doubt ourselves and listen to the world around us, when what we should be doing is listening to Him.

  2. I love when you write about Emma or Mark or your mom. I feel your passion!!! I am still trying to figure out what my purpose is in life. I think I'm missing something. Thank you for sharing your life and faith with us. xoxox


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