“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
~Special Olympics athlete’s oath

With that smile, she'd already won.

With that smile, she’d already won.

When I started taking Rhema to gymnastics she couldn’t stand the feeling of the mat beneath her bare feet and she was deathly afraid of the foam pit. After she adjusted to the mats she spent the next several years running circles around the gym with a volunteer dispatched to follow her for safety reasons.

Last fall she was paired with Shea, a highschool senior, who expected and believed more for Rhema. The whole team did. And that’s all it took.

Rhema has blossomed in gymnastics this past year and done more than even I could have imagined.

This weekend the qualifying meet for the Special Olympics Summer Games was held at MIT.

And we went.

And she! did! it!

She tolerated the leotard (beautifully). She made it through the whole meet (only unraveling at the end). She waited (a lot). She smiled (a lot)! She did the routines – floor, vault, bars and beam (her way, of course). She did her own salute – the high five. 🙂 She qualified for the Summer Games (Woohoo!). Most of all, she was HAPPY. So I am happy. And so proud.

Yesterday God answered a little prayer of my heart that I prayed a long time ago. (Click here for the back story). And He gave me the wonderful blessing of watching Rhema overcome all her struggles. She stood high over limited receptive and expressive language, vaulted above poor imitation skills, rolled over a “short attention span” and a host of sensory issues.

I thought of all of her team – her family, her teachers and therapists, her sitters/caregivers, her previous coaches, and friends –some of whom she’s never even met – who pray for her and cheer her on… what can I say? THANK YOU!!! HOORAY!!!

Y’all, I almost got out there and danced my own floor routine.

This was five years in the making. And anything really is possible.

Thank you, Shea!


IMG_0539 IMG_0540

Coloring together while waiting

Coloring together while waiting

The cheerleaders: Hope and cousin Lexi

The cheerleaders: Hope and cousin Lexi




16 thoughts on “Overcomer

  1. Lump in my throat is making it hard to swallow this coffee. Sweet victory!! Rhema looks incredible in these photos.. And her cheering section looks so happy too.

  2. Hey, you are totally allowed to get up and do a special dance! She did awesome!
    Tell her we loved watching the videos and we are so proud!

  3. So wonderful!!! So beautiful!!! So awesome!!! Tears of joy and celebration!! So proud of her…so proud of all of you!!!! Shaking our pom poms here at our house!!!! Go Rhema!!

  4. I am so happy for you, and for Rhema. She did it! And she looks darling in her leotard.

    (Sometimes I think the young therapists/volunteers are the best ones because they have no preconceived, learned ideas of what our children should be like. I am betting working with Rhema will have a great impact on Shea’s life).

  5. Cried watching the video and knowing the miracle happening before my eyes. There was so much noise going on all around her. So many things she was able to do. Thank you for sharing this victory. I’m going to go cry some more now and thank God for His blessings. Love you!

  6. I was so very excited to read this and hear the great news!!! Amazing!!!

    You must be one proud mama???!!!!!!!

    Sent from my iPhone


  7. Smiling as wide as I can to her that. She’s growing into an amazing young woman and you deserve most of the credit for getting her there. You and her circle of angels (real and imagined). I’m so proud of you all.

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