Thursday, July 30, 2015

Blessing by default

My family received a blessing by default today. How do you get a blessing by default you ask? Well, its when someone you love gets a blessing and it just blesses you because it blesses them. Make sense? Are you following me here? Pay attention. 

My stepson is the one who got some great news today. A blessing. An opportunity for his future. You see, he is 16 years old and very much a teenage boy. He loves being busy as much as he loves sleeping. He loves being active in sports, at the gym or in the pool. Not to mention he loves looking at himself in the mirror to see the latest progress of his fitness quest... and sometimes we just have to shake our heads and silently giggle while watching him do so. 

He loves music and sneakers and seems to just know everything about being 'hip' in the world today. In fact, he probably would fill me in on the word that is used today instead of the outdated word 'hip.' 

And lucky for us, he still gives us the opportunity to spend time with him. (In other words, we are past the point where he thinks we are so un-cool that he avoids us like the plague). He is quiet until he is comfortable... then he has a personality similar to that of a class clown. He is witty and fun. He knows how to make people laugh. Yet, he also has a quieter side... a side that many people don't see too often. It is as almost if he knows when someone is maybe feeling down or feeling like they don't belong... he reaches out to them and tries to lift their spirits. I've witnessed this a lot. He has even done it to me. (I secretly pray that this blossoms into an outward trait that he allows more people to witness and learn from). 

I say all of this because, despite all of these beautiful characteristics, he is still a teenage boy who struggles just as any other teenager. We have all experienced life differently and have all learned how to handle difficult situations in different manners, at different times. He has struggled in school - not academically, as he is very bright - but with handling certain interactions. After dealings with the schools and teachers and counselors over the last few years, solely struggling to obtain their support, he ended this last school year on an upward swing. He is proud. And so are we. 

He is starting high school this year and applied for a school that has a Marines JROTC program in our area - the only one of its kind here....and he REALLY wanted to get in, but they are selective due to limited availability. This is a program that would teach him leadership skills, discipline, team building, motivation, loyalty, citizenship... the list goes on and on. There are missions and physical endurance tests, competitions, etc. It is all lead by marines or former marines. It is a step in a positive direction for a young man like him. And he WANTS to be a part of it, which makes it even sweeter.

We have been praying and hoping that he would get accepted. That this is something that could prepare him for success, rather than failure. It can lift him up, keep him focused, positive, and have his eyes toward something bright, rather than to follow peers toward a dark path. And who knows? Maybe he can help some of his struggling friends turn over a new leaf, too, along the way!

Ready for the blessing? We found out today that he got in!! I know to some of you it may seem menial, but the struggles and heartache we have been through over the last few years seem to be washed away knowing he has this opportunity. 
I call this a blessing because that is what it is. And if I tell you how this happened, it is evident it was all part of a plan. And since we don't make our own plans, there was some divine interaction. See, his school in our district doesn't have a very good reputation, so we enrolled him in a charter school so he had a better chance of success. He was all set ... even deciding that he wanted to try out for football. The ordeal we have been through to get all of the necessary physical records, shot records, physician signed forms to get approved to even attend the tryouts has been such a chore. So much so that  we just have to laugh... like, this is ridiculous! Despite feeling disappointed, while at dinner the other night my stepson said "maybe God just doesn't want me to play football because I could injure an ankle or something..." and shrugged his shoulders. 

Then, out of the blue last week... long after schools have chosen their students for special 'choice' programs... we get an envelope with one single sheet of paper in it... advising us that they have a brand new Marine Corps JROTC, as well as an application to complete. One sheet. No other information. We did some research on the program and he was ecstatic. So, we completed the application. When we tried to submit it to the school... the contact information on the application to submit it was not even correct!!! We had to jump through hoops to even get the school to just receive the application!

Honestly, this whole mishap thing has been going on for weeks... and I say we have been dealing with it, but really, my partner has been working her butt off... smacking her forehead on the steering wheel a few times wondering why the process was just so difficult!

Then, we got our answer... he wasn't supposed to go to that charter school and play football after all. Glad we checked the mail! Remember, this girl does not believe in coincidences!

Just a reminder that even when we try to move our life in one direction on our own, its not our plan that matters. God always has a way of re-directing us.  "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

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