This is the final post in this series I call “This Is How God Works…” because of the miraculous ways He has worked in my precious daughter’s life. If you have missed the first two pieces, I urge you to go read those first! They are here and here.
The Holidays came and went, and all the while Cassidy dove right into swimming again and again, enduring relentless practices and taking herself out of the pool when it got to be too much. And as hard as it was for her to give in at times, I escorted her to the locker room and covered her with a towel and praise for her efforts every time. She managed to survive most practices, but there were a few that were too hard. On the way home from one practice, she threw up in the car. This has been a brutal and beautiful swimming season…
Do I still believe this is good for her?
Oh yes I do.
We have entered January and February with lots of meets to end the season.
After she accepted so selflessly the blessing of the third place winner in the last meet, we were bound for the next with nerves and excitement all the same. She had the haunting fear of stopping again, and she also wanted so badly to place…
I went into our thing:
“Cassidy, are you a SWIMMER?”
“Are YOU an ATHLETE?”
“Do ALL swimmers and ….”
“MOM! I GET IT!!”
The meet was PACKED and long and we left early in the morning to get there and quite frankly, we were all exhausted from the holiday cheer. Cass seemed a bit down and uneasy about the three events she was entered in by her coach. She was a bit ‘off’ from missing many practices from the holiday break because of family in town and activities the interfered with the schedule. I tried to encourage her as best I could, but her spirit seemed depleted and bleak. I worried. I always do.
The very FIRST race of the meet- Girls 9-10 50 Free. First event of the entire meet was HERS!! Talk about pressure! Oh, how I can’t even begin to express my heart and the wringing of my hands when she is up there at the start! I knew she was terrified… I prayed she would place. Oh, how I prayed.
She was off to a good start, and swam her little heart out! I stood there in astonishment as she kept her pace and managed to stay ahead of the other swimmers. I couldn’t believe my eyes…
She WON!!! FIRST PLACE!!!!!!! I think I lost my voice from screaming so loud. Let me repeat… not third place, not second place….
She ran over to find me while pushing through the crowd, holding her ribbon with this frenzied look of surprise. The long awaited reward in her hand. I approached her with squeals of praise. She stood there taking it all in, as her red chlorinated eyes bulged from the goggles, big and bright while she stood there shivering and soaking wet- her smile radiated a pride I have never seen before.
I immediately knew this was God’s work. How on earth would she come in first? By the Hand of God, that’s how. I thanked God for blessing her with not only third place, but FIRST place! This was big. “God big”.
Next event, Girls 9-10 50 Fly -her heat….off to a good start. I knew she was most nervous about this race. She isn’t a strong butterfly swimmer, and yet she pushed through the water with such tenacity I had never seen before. It was a close race and she was just an arm’s length ahead of another swimmer, battling it out for first place.
It was a tight finish as she tapped the swimmer out and came in FIRST!!!
Not third, not second… the highly elusive and coveted FIRST PLACE!!!
It was surreal. When she found me, she looked at me with such despair as she said the ribbon was given to the second place swimmer. After checking her times and getting confirmation from my sweet Mother-In-Law, I decided it was my job to fight for what was earned. Another first place ribbon. My girl was going to GET that ribbon!
Done. Ribbon secured in her wrinkled wet hand. And the surprising celebration continued!
Next event, Girls 9-10 50 Back -her heat…
She glided through that water like a pro- her flip turn nailed the placement. I cried. I could barely recognize this swimmer as my own. How did she become this athlete?
SHE CAME IN FIRST AGAIN!!!!!
I froze with tears, and stared at the miraculous moment before me…
This was so much more than swimming. . .
Triumph and testimony. Victory and sanctity. Honor and healing. Sacrifice and sufficiency. Glorifying and edifying. Proclamation and confirmation.
God came in…
And delivered His Response. I swear I heard Him whisper in the waves…
“My precious child, in honor of your heart and all you have sacrificed for Me… I give you more than you asked for in return.”
Oh, Much, much more.
I had goosebumps while reading this. I think God gave her what she truly deserves and what she has worked hard for. 🙂
Oh thank you SO much Jhanis!! I absolutely agree!
The Dose of Reality says
When I saw the title of this post in my Bloglovin feed I was so excited. You know how much I have L.O.V.E.D. the first two. I grabbed my kleenex box because I knew I’d need it….and OH…MY…GOODNESS!!! THREE FIRST PLACE FINISHES!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!! I just can hardly process this. It’s just such a triumph in every way made sweeter by what happened at the other meet where she felt so blessed to barely miss third place. This *is* truly how God works. There is no denying it. I have goosebumps. WOW!!! –Lisa
Just re-reading your comment made me cry!!! Oh Lisa- I just ADORE you for being “in this” with me!!! Ohmygosh how I love your heart!!!!!!
Janine Huldie says
Yay for Cassidy. Seriously, I was so happy reading this today and think I was almost excited as you her mother. Huge congrats and totally god’s work my friend for sure!! 🙂
Oh Janine!! thank you from the BOTTOM of my heart for your sweet encouragement and support and precious friendship!! I love having friends that share the joy with me!!!
Jennifer Newton says
How exciting for you and your family, especially Cass who put in so much hard work!! Great God story for us all!!! Way to go Cass!!!!!
Thanks SO much for stopping by to share in this awesome “God story’ for SURE!!! I am so grateful God has given her so much in this season! Oh, how I love how God takes such good care of her heart!!!
I pray she remembers this always.
Wow. (and of course you worried. I always do too.)
This is an incredible story! I’d really hope you have it published somewhere far and wide (although your blog is far and wide too!). It’s just that good.
AW! You’re so sweet my love!!! I am not sure my blog is far and wide, but I can say my heart sure is!!! I always hope and pray this stuff can reach further, ya know?
Published somewhere? Dreaming… 🙂 Maybe someday. XOXO
Sandy Ramsey says
Chris, you are killing me with these posts! I cannot contain my happiness for you and your precious girl….it is leaking from my eyeballs!
This is a wonderful testament to your beautiful daughter’s courage, your unconditional love, and last but certainly never least, God’s never ending grace.
Thank you for sharing this with us! It is just beautiful!
Oh Sandy!! I can’t tell you how much it means to me to have you ‘in this’ with me!! I am SO grateful we have connected!!
I love that you ‘get it’. Truly!!!
Shelley Lyons says
Way to go Cass! That’s AMAZING! What a wonderful gift for all her hard work, determination, and grace.
SHELLEY!!!!!! Oh you are SUCH a LOVE to come by to celebrate this with me!!!! OHMYGOSH I am just SO excited you commented!!! WOOHOO!!!
I love you so much- through all the years, never had a better friend. SO grateful for us. SO blessed by you.
(Dinner date plan in March, right?)
another jennifer says
OK. I was smart this time and waited to read this post until after I dropped off G. Tears! Amazing. And so deserving. God really was with Cassidy that day. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story, Chris!
AW! You’re so cute Jen!!! Thanks for coming along for the ride with me in this story!! I just had to share it. And as always, I am forever grateful you took the time to be ‘in it’ with me, dear sweet friend!!!!
Sue Theimer says
Amazing!!! I am sooo proud of her! I do believe God is swimming along with her. I think Cassidy will surprise us many times in her life. Please tell her how much I love her and how proud her Grammy Sue is of her and HER MOTHER!!!
OH mom! I just LOVE your comment!!! Thank you so much!! I agree, and pray that Cass has a long path ahead of her… full of beautiful surprises!!!
LOVE you!!! XOXO
WooHoo!!! I had to read this 2x because I was crying so much!!!
This is truly the best thing I’ve read all day!! I have never met your daughter and yet I’m so very proud of her!!!
Thank you for sharing this story and journey with us – it has touched me (and based on the comments many others!!) a great deal.
Oh thank you SO much Kim!!! Ya know when you experience something and you just light up inside and really the only people that know about it, is you/God/ and whoever else is involved?
And then you decide it needs to be shared… and ahhhh…..
It explodes with even more joy and celebration!!!
Oh, how I love that!!
Thank you SO SO much for truly living through it once again with me. It means everything to me.
OK, I have loved all three of these, but this one got the tears flowing! Yay, Cassie! Yay!
You’ve actually been on my mind a lot since the last one. As a mother, I never feel sure when and where to stop pushing. I admire your conviction. I wish I felt so confident myself.
Oh Sarah- thank you SO much for reading through all of these stories!! And ya know, I think we all question where to push and pull back.
I am finding more confidence in that as I go. I’ve had a lot of practice I guess, with all her past issues. And always remind yourself that you truly do know what’s best for your child.
I am now writing to the coach to tell her that I am allowing Cass to do only half the practices etc. I am a bit afraid of how she will respond, but I find strength in the fact that I KNOW what is best for my girl. As hard as it is to accept it sometimes- I feel so strongly in the ‘big picture’ instead of the moment right in front of us… That’s usually when I ‘pull back’ instead of push forward.
I am so NOT surprised by this telling of events because I know the strength of Cassidy and the greater strength of her God and she earned every stitch of those ribbons!!!! I love you Cassidy and I am soooooo proud of your perseverance!!!!! That swim meet shows you ANYTHING is possible with God in you! XOXOXOXOXO
AMEN TO THAT sister!!!! Oh, how I couldn’t wait to read her your comment sis!! I just love your beautiful and wise encouragement!! And so does she…
“…strength of Cassidy and greater strength of her God”… ah. Love that. XOXOXO
Chris – I have no words for this. This IS God Big. And your girl is so deserving of this. This was more that perseverance and hard work and even faith. This takes mental discipline. And that’s huge for a young girl. To be that tough mentally to be able to endure. She more than a swimmer. She’s more than an athlete. She’s more than a first place medalist. She’s a true champion.
*Tears* I am SO gonna read your comment to her and you KNOW she will surely know who “Ilene” is!!! LOL Oh yes, my kids know you well!! “Mom, are you talking to Ilene?” HA!
I love you. I love your constant support and love for me and AND my kids. I love you BIG. God BIG. Mwuah!
Oh. My. Word. You had me hanging the entire read!!! How wonderful for your daughter and for you and for me reading along! I am cheering!!!
Thank you SO much for being “in it” with me Karmen!! I love you for not ‘cheating’ and skipping through it to find out!! Although- the picture of the ribbons may have given it away! lol
I am just so excited to see you here, ya know that? I adore your blog and am honored you are reading mine. Truly. 🙂
Lisa @ The Meaning of Me says
I just sat and read all three of these posts – what a fantastic story! That is one terrific young lady you have there for so many reasons! The strength and perseverance will serve her well in life, not just the pool – what more could a Mom want? And I absolutely loved the second post where she understood that her stopping allowed for someone else to be blessed. How much better would we all be if we learned so well and so early that sometimes the answer to our prayers is no, for whatever reason.
This was good to read tonight.
Have a great weekend!
Oh Lisa! I am SO grateful you took the time to read all of the posts to this story!! thank you so so much! And I absolutely LOVE your comment! I completely agree times a million! I pray she takes this beautiful lesson FAR beyond the pool! 🙂
Lisa @ The Meaning of Me says
You know, that story – particularly the second part – has stuck in my mind and my heart since reading it. I wonder if you’d mind if I mention it in a post on my blog and link back here?
Oh YES OH YES OH YES!!! Wait- I don’t mean I mind, I mean YES please DO!! Oh Lisa, that is just so cool! I would be incredibly honored, however you use it- THANK YOU!!! 🙂
Lisa @ The Meaning of Me says
You are too funny. Thanks – I’ll let you know when I’m finished. Can’t tell you how this was a lightbulb moment for me this week.
Oh, how I LOVE when that happens Lisa! You know what I mean… I am just thrilled the story affected you. What more could I ask for? 🙂
Sarah Almond says
LOVE! So happy for her AND you! Such motivation for all of us. 🙂
Oh you are such a love to be in this with us, Sarah!! Thanks so much, my friend!! XO
Michelle Liew says
Read about Cassidy’s swimming earlier… And wow, just so awesome! Truly deserves it after working so hard!!
I had to share it all- the story and how it unfolded was truly a beautiful thing. I am blessed to have been a witness to it Michelle! Thanks for your sweet support, my friend!
Visiting from Sits ShareFest- I LOVED your story, and can so relate. Sometimes it never seems like you are going to get there, to reach the goal you have been working so hard toward, and then, it suddenly happens. Not from a fluke, but from all the hard work, perseverance and faith, you get there. Having kids with Chronic illness makes me appreciate this so much more… my son had a horrible year with Juvenile Arthritis, and was even wheelchair bound for a short time. The following year (after months of grueling physical therapy and more drugs than anyone should take in a lifetime) he made it on the youth football team. Despite being on a chemotherapy drug at the time, he won a place as a starter, and his team made it, not just to state, but to the NATIONAL playoffs. They didn’t win, but making it there was almost as big, and that victory was something that we hold SO dear in our hearts…
Oh gosh Kim!!! We are kindred spirits with kindred kids!!! Cass suffering so many debilitating illnesses all throughout her life- so your son and my daughter are both the VICTORS!!! Oh mama, lets celebrate together!!
You are a LOVE for stopping by! Thank you so so much!! 🙂
(I pray your son continues to heal and find beautiful purpose in his journey!)
Dyanne @ I Want Backsies says
Congratulions to Cassidy. And to you. You were a team effort.
I kinda feel like it was really between God and Cass- and I was just blessed to watch it all unfold. Pretty darn cool, when you really think about it! Thanks Dyanne, for celebrating this awesome triumph with us!! 🙂
FIRST! FIRST! FIRST!
Cass is SO AMAZING! Wow! All that hard work and extreme effort and just her INCREDIBLE perseverance and determined spirit.
LOVE this. HUGE.
And you (pushy mom?! I love her responses to you…) loving and supporting and encouraging and buoying her up and cheering her on and getting to witness those three AWESOME returns on all the input.
I had to be real with this! She has the tween thing DOWN!!! LOLOLOL And yes- this THIS was UNbelievably God. How on earth could be otherwise??!!
Thanks for rooting for her, always. I am forever grateful lovely Lizzi!!! 😀
Josie Two Shoes says
This post just left me in tears! What a wonderful reminder and confirmation of what we know and sometimes forget, God is GOOD! I am thrilled beyond thrilled that your daughter got to have this magnificent once-in-a-lifetime experience of being the best of the best. She will never forget it, nor will you. It also goes to show that our efforts, no matter how small and frail, are indeed rewarded if we are patient and do the work. Congrats to her and hugs to you, these are the moments that make a mom’s heart explode with joy!
Oh Josie!! I just ADORE your comment!!! YES! All of what you said- a million times over!! 🙂 Thank you for celebrating every bit of it with me (and Cass!)
This is beautiful. I am so happy she was blessed for all of her hard work, and was able to bring home three first place ribbons. Totally awesome.
Thanks so much Tracie!! I just love that there are SO many lessons in her ribbons… I hope she never ever forgets it! 🙂
Kristi Campbell says
I am beyond happy and excited for you and for Cassidy (and love her name – have I told you that every time you type it? If not, I think it). I agree that it’s God’s work but also her hard work because wow. WOWOWOWOWOW and you, her sweet and amazing mama. Go both of you. I had chills reading it the entire time. SO HAPPY! xo
AW! ya know, I do LOVE that name too!! It SO fits her- 🙂 She has struggled SO much- and still does. I am just so glad I can use this time and this experience and this beautiful reward to always remind her that she WON, in every sense of the word. 🙂
Bianca @ Rant Rave Crave says
Way to go!11 So glad that hard work paid off!!
Me too, Bianca! Oh me too! She needed this ‘reward’ so badly! I pray it stays with her for the rest of her life- so she remembers that there will ALWAYS come a time, when she ‘wins’. 🙂
My Inner Chick says
Inspiring. Encouraging. Amazing.
I Love how GOD comes in at the most expected times and gives us more than we could have ever imagined.
Xxxx KISS from MN.
Damn I love you!!! No. Really- I do. I am just so amazed that you can be so beautifully passionate about this story and see it and feel it and truly ‘get it’ all. I can’t even remember how we connected- but I thank God we have, my friend.
And I once again, am in tears- thinking about you- and your precious sister angel… and with everything in me- I pray for you. In my quiet moments, my heart immediately goes to you- and I lift you into His arms every time. You- YOU are such a gift.
Jennifer Steck says
I’ve loved the last three weeks of posts, because I’ve been able to share your joy and celebrate Cassidy’s amazing persistance. But winning three first place ribbons? Unbelievable. This is how God works. What a great lesson for us all. Thank you, Chris. It’s always good to cry tears of joy…
Oh Jennifer! I am SO grateful you have taken the time and loving effort to be in this ‘journey’ with me as it unfolded through my words and mostly in my heart!! I am just so glad we have connected!! Your support has been such a blessing to me!!! 🙂 XOXO
Yay! This certainly is how God works. I loved reading all three parts of your story, Chris – thank you for sharing and inspiring!
Thanks SO much for going on this little journey with me Dana!!! I am so grateful for you!! 🙂
*Stands and cheers* WOOOOOO
Three firsts! That is so fantastic. Just what she needed. I love it when God moves in their lives developing their faith in Him.
And you did it again. I was misty eyed.
SQUEEEEEE!!!!! Oh, how I love sharing this joy with someone who really REALLY gets it!! Oh thank you thank you thank you for your cheers and your beautiful support and praise!!!
I just imagine this major “Cassidy Carter Party” going on in Heaven that day as her Father watched from above. I’ll bet He was cheering her on and cheering YOU on! What a beautiful testimony to His faithfulness and Cass’s perseverance! What a good mama you are! I just love you guys!
And we LOVE YOU!!! I could picture God going, “Wait for it…. wait for it…” Each time she WON!! Then He sits back on His Throne to watch His angles cheer, as He nods in satisfaction. 🙂 Hmmm…. what a glorious visual!!!!
Now I am crying again! She WON! Oh I am so thrilled for Cassidy! What an amazing accomplishment!!
I must say- it was quite REMARKABLE indeed. I mean, how can this NOT be God’s doing? FIRSTS? ALL of them? Wow. 🙂
I’m so sorry I waited so long to find the time to read this. What a powerful story and a beautifully happy God-like ending! Isn’t He amazing? Just amazing! My daughter is struggling with basketball in this way. She wants a goal so badly and I will now be reminded of your story and knowing that God will step into her athletic ventures in His timing- I love you and your family, Chris, without meeting any of you personally. What great things your daughter will go on to do for the Lord, and what valuable lessons and spiritual growth she has received through this adventure! Her entire story is so touching- and it’s not over yet!
AMEN to THAT my love!! Oh, how I love your comment!! God has great plans for our children… and through each season I pray He teaches our kids more and more about His Power and His Grace!!
It’s incredible to watch Him work!!!
Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama says
Ohh, I hadn’t seen this one yet either. Still catching up from a business trip last week and woefully behind in the blogosphere. Congrats to your precious daughter! What a triumphant way to end the season! So glad to see her hard work and perserverance paid off! And congrats to the proud mama, too!
AW! Thanks SO much for reading all the posts to this series Sweet friend!! That means SO much to me!!
I appreciate you. XOXO
Amber Day Hicks says
SSSF- coldchills! WTG, Cass!!! This is BIG & OUR GOD is BIGGER!!! I see such a BIG & beautiful future for your baby girl! This is SO AWESOME, OUR GOD is an AWESOME GOD!!! XO. ~A~
Our God is an AWESOME GOD!!! I do pray for her future… you never know about this cold dark world, what exactly will happen. I can only hope that God’s plan prevails and her heart stays true to His Heart.
WOW! OMGeee Chris!! I was smiling soo hard while reading this that my cheeks hurt!! What a beautiful story!! You should definitely write a book about this series…it would fly off the shelves. Perhaps a children’s book…SERIOUSLY! Anywho, GOD.IS.FAITHFUL! So happy for you, but most of all I’m so happy for Cassy. This is a lesson she’ll carry with her forever on the love and faithfulness of our Father! xoxoxo
Oh Michell!! You are SUCH a sweetheart to always take the time to catch up on my posts!!!! I TOTALLY need to catch up on yours too!!! I haven’t been able to do the link ups- just too hard to keep up and I don’t want to do it unless I can actually support other blogs there, ya know?
Anyhoo- I love the idea of a book about this- a children’s book.
Oh AGENT!!! WHERE ARE YOU??!!! lol 😉
CHILLS. Absolute chills at the conclusion of this post–and the whole series. What a precious, perfect message and love that He spoke through your sweet little girl this way. Amazing!
I know right??!! Pretty darn amazing, isn’t it?
Thanks so so much my love- for always sharing your precious friendship and faithful encouragement!!!
Yay, Cass!!!! You know I know how real this is. I have been there with your help. I have seen and felt God’s glory when it has come to this. Remember varsity football? No way to explain that. None except that you and I stood in prayer. Cass and I are both lucky to have you on our side. 🙂
I am in tears of joy for your daughter and it is no coincidence that you, a writer, are her mother and can tell this news to a much larger audience because it is meant to be that way, xox jean
Oh Jean!!! What a beautiful comment to read!! I am so grateful for your heart…your tears of joy and your precious encouragement! I adore how God speaks to us and through us and our kids… and I do pray this story reaches many hearts, and inspires them in some way.
I appreciate you. 🙂
and I appreciate you…and who you are. I know you know what I mean xox
Thank you. So. Much.
just keep sending it out for those of us who cannot express it
thank you, so much xoxox
Reading this again still gives me goosebumps!
Me too… I just re-read it last night and started crying. I’m so glad I wrote it down. 🙂
I’m so happy that your daughter got the rewards that she deserved, she is indeed a wonderful human being, and so are you for being such a supportive mother!
Wow! Amazing!! Congrats to your sweet girl! 🙂
Thank you Meredith!!