Friday, April 8, 2011

I'm back!

I'll warn you now, this is lengthy.

In case you haven't noticed, I haven't been around much.  In a six week time frame my son has competed in four debate tournaments.  I accompanied him to three of them and did a one day visit to the other one, a total of fourteen days.

When people hear that my son is competing in team policy debate they tend to assume that his parents forced him into it.  I'll share the story in the hopes that it will encourage parents.

Last spring my husband and I found out that he won a trip for two to New York City.  Scott, my son, did not want to stay at home while we were gone and asked some friends if he could accompany them to the NCFCA National Championship in Virginia Beach.  They agreed to let him come because they expected that he would want to compete after seeing what happens at a tournament.  I knew better.  There is no way that anyone could get that boy to stand in front of people and speak.  No way!

I really don't know anything at all.  Scott came back and wanted to participate in NCFCA.  He thought it would be fun to do a humorous duo speech.  Scott is the baby of the family.  He grew up thinking that his role in the family was to be the humorous one.  At the time we were reading the book Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris.  Scott was about to start his freshman year of high school and I had been praying for God to  make Himself real to my son.  I had also been praying that God would give Scott a purpose and direction for his high school years.  He is a great kid, but I wanted to see him lean on God like he never had before.  Since we homeschool I needed the Lord to make the path clear.  A year ago I had absolutely no idea what the direction of our high school years should be and I was diligently begging God to show the next step.

I wasn't crazy about the humorous duo speech idea, so I asked Scott to consider doing something that he couldn't do in his own strength, something that would require him to lean on God.  I remember his response was, "Well, I thought about doing debate but I don't know if I can do it."  Perfect!  I encouraged him to pray about it.

Here's the part where I get honest.  I did not expect Scott to actually compete in debate.  I've had friends who had kids who debated in this league.  Those kids were really good students.  Learning came easily to those kids.  Those kids liked school.  Scott was not a really good student.  Learning was difficult for Scott.  Scott did not like school.  Scott took what seemed like forever to learn to read.  Scott was really, really smart but it wasn't showing up in his academics.  He can fix anything.   He is a problem-solver.  He is Mr. Survival and MacGyver all in one.  With Scott, a knife, and a piece of duct tape- all things are possible.  All things but communication.  And spelling.  And reading big words and explaining them to a judge.  For that kind of stuff God would have to come through.

But Scott did compete.  I had been praying at the first tournament that God would encourage Scott and his partner with wins.  But they lost every round.  And Scott was the last place speaker in every round. Being ranked last speaker was hard for Scott.  It broke my heart.  On the way home from that tournament I asked God why didn't He encourage my son.  Scott had put hours and hours of research into his case.  Why couldn't God come through and let Scott win?  The next day I learned a powerful lesson.  Scott woke up and the first thing he did was start researching.  The next thing he did was ask if there was going to be debate practice on Monday.  I learned that I was asking the Lord for the wrong thing.  God wanted to teach Scott to be diligent, to work hard and to persevere; I had wanted Him to give him an easy victory.

And so it went.  It wasn't so much about winning rounds as it was about leaning on the Lord, working on weak areas, persevering, and being diligent.  The Lord did bring encouragement.  He used other people to do that.  People like Mr. Mark who encouraged Scott at every tournament.  He used the other competitors who encouraged one another by praying together, sharing evidence, and including the new kids.  I have come to love the people of NCFCA.  They have become another family to us.

I love how the Lord was so faithful to answer every one of my concerns about my child.  He made Himself very real to Scott.  He showed us the next step.  He gave Scott a purpose and a direction.  Scott had to lean totally on His heavenly Father.

I have such respect for this kid who is willing to work so hard on things that do not come easily to him.  He has lots of strengths and it would have been easy to find some activities where he could excel.  Instead he chose something that is totally his weakness.  I've been asking the Lord to show me how I can grow in this area, to go out of my comfort zone and lean more on His strength.  I know He'll be faithful to provide!

One area is the written word.  Ew.  I start editing after the first words are typed.  Next thing you know I have deleted everything.  I really wanted to share this story, but chose not to go back and edit.  Forgive the mistakes....I hope to grow in my communication skills.


Mrs. Christy Mixson said...

I am beaming, Michele! I praise the Lord for what He continues to do through speech and debate; "Scotty" blew me away with his part in the demonstration some of the students brought to Trinity Academy this very morning. It's not because he has superstar debate skill, but because he has been changed to speak - and with purpose and passion. He's a different young man now. I am proud of you and him; it's always exciting to see the things God does!

Sincerely ~ Christy

Melissa said...

Thank you for sharing this! I LOVED reading every word. And, it encouraged me to pray for Jane in a new way.

I agree with Christy! It's so exciting to see the things God does.

So happy for your excitement and joy!

Michelle said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I appreciated and learned from every word.

The Miley Family said...

WOW! our God is SO Big! reading this affirms something i have been wrestling with in dealing with my own son, who at this moment is only 6 years old...BUT i know i need to TRUST God to work in T's life! i know God will make Himself known to my son & that it may NOT turn out like i hope it will, but still i must trust! thanks for sharing Michele!