- March 2014
- December 2013
- June 2013
- March 2013
- September 2013
- From the Editor’s Desk
- Bloom Where You Are Planted and Where You Are Transplanted
- The Change Game
- Ten Tender Weeks: The Countdown
- The Chap Who Lives in a Flat
- Conspiracy Theory
- The Closers
- He Knows
- Surprising Steps with a Friendly Wind
- If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It!
- Walking the Talk
- Message in a Bottle
- January 2013
By Elizabeth Invergo
(Winner of the 10-12 Years Summer of Hope Writing Contest at FaithWriters for Kids)
Another glance at the long, intimidating mat showed Kendra that she would fail. She watched silently as the bright pink glitter abandoned her suit and slowly drifted to the floor.
It was the 2012 Summer Olympics, and once again, Kendra was competing for her dream—gymnastics. Four years ago, she had broken a wrist and was unable to complete the competition. This year, she was attempting it again, and had had all the confidence in the world . . . until she stepped into the arena.
She jumped as the deafening cheers broke into her thoughts; a young girl had finished her round and was walking with pride to her seat. An excellent score flashed before her eyes, just as the host cried out, “Kendra Walkins!”
All eyes turned to her; she was up. Hastily rising from her seat, she hurried over to the padded steps and scanned the crowd, anxious to find a friendly face. Mom sat not far away, holding up a camera and showing a set of perfect, white teeth. Marie, Kendra’s best friend, was sitting with a huge sign reading, “GO KENDRA!”
Satisfied, she turned her eyes back to her competition and let her toes sink into the mat. After four years of practicing, she should be able to do this.
“Come on, Kendra,” she whispered. “You can do this.”
A dead silence haunted the arena as she eyed down the edge of the mat. Taking a deep breath, she lunged forward and accomplished her first flip.
As soon as she was in the air, a grin crossed her face; she had missed this. After a couple more flips and a cartwheel, she was almost finished. Springing into the air, she spun around and attempted to land on her feet, but instead, came toppling down, head first, onto the mat.
A gasp rippled through the crowd; she had fallen again. Kendra was stricken dumb with shock, grief and misery. It took a moment to comprehend what had happened so quickly; then the tears came, and they came hard.
After five minutes had passed, Kendra recovered and, through tears, walked back to her seat. She was barely aware of all that was going on around her, too upset to notice anything, but when that warm, soft hand touched her arm, she couldn’t help looking to see its owner.
The face of a flaxen-haired, blue-eyed girl met her. There was a smile—faint, but kind—on her mouth, and her rosy cheeks showed both excitement and shyness in approaching Kendra.
All at once, Kendra knew who this must be. “Kaya!” she exclaimed, blushing with embarrassment.
“Yes, I’m Kaya,” the girl replied, eyes on the floor and a blush defining her complexion. Then, after composing herself, she said, “Listen, you did great. Don’t worry about the crowd; just be proud of who you are. Most girls can’t even do half of what you did. So don’t be ashamed.”
Before Kendra had time to answer, Kaya was called out to take her turn. Kendra watched in amazement as the girl did each move. Her graceful legs flowed with her body, her hands met the floor in perfect timing; she was truly talented.
When Kaya returned with a beautiful score, Kendra couldn’t resist marching right up to her. “Kaya, could you please tell me . . . what motivates you? What gives you so much grace and energy?”
Kaya grinned. “Kendra, I pray. I ask my heavenly Father to give me grace; to let my skills flow more than they usually do. I thank Him for my abilities, and ask Him to bless me before I start. You should try it. Ask Him to give you grace.”
And Kendra did! At her next round, she carefully stepped onto the mat. “Heavenly Father,” she began, “I ask that You would bless me tonight with grace and allow my skills to come out. Thank you for letting Kaya tell me about You and what You do. In Your name, Amen.”
She lunged forward. After two flips and a cartwheel, she started to feel better. When her last two flips were accomplished, she was ready for the hardest part. Her hands met the mat at the same moment she bounced off, and with a spin, she squeezed her eyes shut and prepared to fail.
But the crowd was cheering. Looking down in confusion, Kendra saw that her feet were on the mat.