There’s a velvet leotard hanging in my laundry room


So here’s my little story.

~Last year I read an article about a Special Olympics gymnastics team, and I contacted the coach. She informed me that the program was only for 8-year olds – (Rhema was 4 at the time). When I hung up with her, I never imagined that I would hear from her again. 

~Just 6 just months ago I whispered, ‘Lord, I want my baby to have a velvet leotard.’ Just a simple, silly wish.

~In March, (3 months after my wish), Heather, the coach called to say that she had found a way to accommodate Rhema. (I could not believe she even remembered us or even had my number!).

~Since March Rhema has been ‘doing’ gymnastics.

We had no idea how Rhema would do, but I admit I was a little disappointed when I realized that she was no where near ready to participate on the same level as the other girls. Every Saturday at practice, she runs and climbs and jumps and runs. The team has dedicated a sweet 17-year old girl to run after Rhema during practice. While other coaches do (in my opinion) the exciting work of getting the rest of the team ready to compete in a meet at Harvard next month, Kerrin faithfully spends the time chasing Rhema around the gymnasium. And Rhema loves it. 

Eventhough she cannot fully participate, she is still a part of the team and treated as such.

There was a meet a couple weeks ago and I decided not to go. For one thing, at formal meets, the athlete must look and acknowledge the judge by raising her hand before her routine. You sit in a circle and warm up together as a team. You travel from apparatus to apparatus as a team. You sit and wait and watch while your teammates complete their exercises.  These are all things that would be very difficult to Rhema, and I cannot explain the rules to her, let alone get her to follow along. She would not understand why she could not just run around the gym as she does every Saturday. I had visions of her running into the middle of a girl’s floor exercise routine during competition… so I kept her home.

Lately I’ve had to work a little harder to silence the whispers in my head: Her deficits are too great – she’ll never be able to do what the other children can do. This is too hard. What were you thinking?

~This past Saturday, Brandon took Rhema to practice instead of me. When they came home, he held up a hanger,

“The team leotards came in. Here’s Rhema’s.”

It was still in a garment bag, and I saw that there was a matching silver hair scrunchie attached. How adorable. I wistfully slipped my hand under the plastic and fingered the material.

It. was. velvet.

No accidents, right?

How about this? God is a God of details!

Six months ago, I wrote , ‘After a rough day at the gym, you may think me delusional. But knowing God and Rhema like I do, I still think those two are going to blow my mind… and there may even be a velvet leotard involved.’

I didn’t do anything. I didn’t even pay for any of it. God did it all. Specifically.


This is the message that has been a year in the making for me. Don’t be afraid to dream big dreams. It may seem impossible, but it’s just a setup… for God to show you what He can do. He can take our dreams for our children and give them wings. I dare you to trust God. With Him, nothing is impossible.



I can’t wait to see what happens next…


28 thoughts on “There’s a velvet leotard hanging in my laundry room

  1. This is such a great story!

    I love that your prayerful wish was so specific that there is no denying the Answer.

    Grayson is doing gymnastics every Saturday and I have not seen one velvet leotard. The latest rage seems to be the shimmery shiny kind. Guess God doesn’t mind giving a shout back to the 80’s to bless us.

    So cool.

  2. you got me again, lady

    (gotta go clean myself up)

    you inspire me to new heights of hope and faith

    i am forever grateful

  3. God is so good! Your hopes and prayers for Rhema and the Lord’s incredibly personal and encouraging answer led my heart to the Scriptures about God’s gifts:

    ” ‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!’ ” (Matthew 7:7-11; see also Luke 11:9-13)

    And, it may be easier said than done, but, in the “for what it’s worth category”, I say let Rhema participate in her team meet, whatever form her participation takes. Her absence will be robbing others of the blessing the Lord intends for them through this precious member of the team. And, her presence will be adding to the blessings that He has for her–and you–in the heavenly realms. I know, easy for me to say. 🙂

    Love you, dear sister!

  4. Thank you, thank you, than you! Today my heart was stuck on that raw emotion of failure. Dylan will be leaving elementary school in 4 days. All of my dreams for him have been knotted in my stomach, he wants to be a herpetologist but, my son can not write, how will he ever make it through college (or high school, or 7th grade)? When you said her deficits are too great, it hit a raw cord, I wanted to scream…never give up on Rehma, bit I was giving up on Dylan…I realized as I read on that, God never gives up on us, with him nothing is impossible….I don’t have to give up, I am not delusional to hope for his future, it is OK to dream big in spite of trials most will never have to overcome.

  5. It made me smile to think of God waiting for you to touch that leotard…I can just see the face of our Father; knowing that He has just provided such a perfect gift for you. Then waiting…smiling; eyes dancing as He waited…knowing what it would mean to you. I’m sure a huge smile broke across His face as your mind connected the dots of your request so long ago and the fulfillment in this moment. He longs to give us the desires of our hearts.

    Things rarely end up looking exactly as we hope that they will; but often the end result is more beautiful than if all had gone exactly as we had planned.

    Can’t wait to see photos of Rhema in the velvet leotard!

  6. Yea!!!!! God does answer prayers to the letter (giving us only more, never less than we ask for or imagine). Reminds me to not stop asking. Picturing Rhema running reminds me that to accomplish anything, all of us have to start somewhere…and that is precisely where God meets us. I love how He used Brandon to appropriate the big dream–you didn’t have to lift a finger:) She will win those judges over!!

  7. I am always looking for blogs about parents raising kids with special needs and am glad to have found yours! My son has PDD-NOS and a lot of other things, and I love hearing stories about other parents’ experiences — this one especially. I agree that God works in wonderful ways. What a treat to read such a happy story!

  8. Oh, after the day I’ve had – to read this wonderful, uplifting post – I feel so much better!! I just think of all the love that brought that velvet leotard into being – and I feel so happy! xoxo

  9. A velvet leotard!!


    I love this line:
    “Don’t be afraid to dream big dreams. It may seem impossible, but it’s just a setup… for God to show you what He can do.”

    Thank you so much.

  10. Oh my! I have tears in my eyes and you took my breath away, again. Isn’t that glorious!?!??!?! I am seriously speechless. Mind if I connect this story to my blog? everyone should read it.

  11. Happy for Rhema and really happy for the rest of us who benefit from your exceptional ability to tell her story. Thank you from my heart, too – which is still feeling warm from reading this post.

    Our perceptions of time-to-task and our unknowing of His will are as infinite as His love.

  12. I am so happy to read this… nothing is impossible with God! what a beautiful blessing and answered prayer. Thanks so much for sharing her story… I can’t wait to see more pictures :).

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  14. God is so amazing! It’s the little things He does that make such a big difference in our hearts, minds, and faith. And I’ll bet Rhema is a wonderful gymnast. Keep on dreaming and believing, Mom, God is a god of miracles.

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