07 April 2010

A Place Through Prayer!

On Monday the 29th of March, CJ placed at the Agri Expo Show Jumping, with Emma’s Last (nickname Darby)!  This is the first time CJ received a place with Darby!

In 2009 CJ had an amazing year receiving dozens of rosettes in show jumping and other events around the Cape Peninsula, with Silverball.  Then in November 2009, during the Junior Championships, Silverball’s health deteriorated within days and he had to retire as a competition horse - Silverball is now 21 years old!
This was a time of much heart ache, since Silverball was CJ’s first eventing horse and an amazing answer to prayer.  

The riding school where CJ takes lessons, has this young, very wild horse, Darby.  Since Darby isn’t trained enough yet, to be a school horse for students and since CJ showed much talent in handling any kind of horse, they asked CJ to exclusively ride and train Darby.  CJ didn’t have a horse to ride and accepted the challenge. Very soon it was evident that over time and with much training CJ and Darby could be a great team for show jumping. 
During February and March, CJ took part in a show jumping and a cross country event.  Both times Darby was wild, too fast and disobedient.  So, when I heard CJ was going to take part at the Agri Expo, I was stressed!   On top of it, Christo would not be able to go with CJ, as he always does.

It was the day we opened our health shop in the new premises!
We decided I would go to watch the show jumping - for moral support and to take pictures (which turned out not to be nearly Christo’s quality!)  I was very stressed about the show jumping. During the cross country event in March and during training lessons, Darby bucked a few times, resulting in my son landing with his face in the sand!  Over the past two months CJ intensively trained Darby, but he still needed much more training hours before this wild, young horse would be tamed, or so I thought.  
On the Sunday night before the show, I couldn’t get peace.  I stressed a lot, but knew fear was not from the Lord, I was not supposed to worry and I must take my fear to the Lord and trust Him for my son’s safety.  I was nursing Michael a few times during that night and prayed constantly for CJ’s safety and a quiet, obedient spirit in Darby.
I took Josua, Andrew and Michael with me to the show and Heidi-Mari and Danika looked after David and Daniel at home.  There was a spirit of excitement and expectation as I arrived at the beautiful grounds where the Agri Expo was hosted.  Dozens of riders in uniforms parading and waiting, on their proud, well groomed horses, as far as the eye could see. CJ would took part in the 60cm, 70cm and 80cm show jumping.  In the 60cm there were 58 participants, in the 70cm 49 participants and in the 70cm 21 participants.  We were in for a long day!
Eventually, around 12h00 it was CJ’s turn to enter the arena for the 60cm. I was surprised beyond belief!  Darby was a totally different horse, than a month ago.

CJ’s intensive practice with Darby, over the past few weeks, 6 days a week and two extra lessons with a very experienced trainer, made a miraculous difference!  They did a beautiful calm round, but Darby unfortunately kicked the last pole!

Every time when CJ entered the arena, I prayed that God would help him do his best and it was evident that God, as usual, was answering my prayer!
In the 70cm, CJ was the 3rd participant, but the first rider didn’t pitch so, CJ was second in line.  As he walked into the arena I immediately saw he’d forgotten his course.  His eyes was searching the arena and I cried out to God, to please help my son - “Let him find the course!”  I knew his competitive spirit, I knew how hard he’d practiced with Darby and I knew he had high expectations - he cannot lose this show, because he forgot his course! The first three jumps went well, but he didn’t have an idea where were the 4th jump was.   
In show jumping you are not allowed to cross your own tracks, between two jumps.  How was my son going to find the next jump, concentrating on his movements and controlling his horse?  I was in for another surprise! With great care and authority, CJ guided Darby between the jumps, searching the arena for the 4th jump, while making sure he didn’t cross his lines!  It was brilliant riding!  Next, his instructor shouted a clue and immediately he was back on track!  Focused and in total control, he approached the 4th jump and finished the 10 jump course in a clear round!  I was overjoyed!  As usual every one could see that I’m CJ’s mother, by my excitement!  
By finishing with a clear round he qualified for the 80 cm jump off and I prayed even harder and had Heidi-Mari and Christo in prayer too.  “Please Lord, give my son another clear round, and please Lord, give my son a place, but not my will, Your will be done!”
CJ did the jump off in 48 seconds and for a long time was in third place. Since he was 2nd in line of the approximately 25 riders for the jump off, it felt like hours watching every rider, listening in great anticipation to their finishing times. It became clear that he was standing a chance to get placed under the first 10 riders!  The shortest time was 42 seconds. 
I almost yelled out with joy, when they announced the winners and CJ got a 5th place! 

Oh! The Lord is faithful! After a very successful 2009, with Silverball, CJ had to start all over again with Darby. But the Lord has a plan for CJ, to prosper him, not to harm him. He gave CJ and Darby a breakthrough!  Thank you Lord!

At the 80cm Darby kicked the #5 jump, but by now horse and rider was exhausted after a very long, hot autumn day and considering that, they had a beautiful performance! 

Afterwards CJ told me he hadn’t even expected to be near the first 10 placements! He only hoped to have at least one clear round. His aim was to have Darby calm and steady in the jumps. Using the Agri Expo as a ‘training event’!
Josua and Andrew was so good during the long day.

Andrew having a once off ice cream treat for being so good!

Josua with his ice cream!
And little Michael... 

He was in the Ergo most of the time, nursing and sleeping, while his mom was taking pictures and getting overjoyed with excitement.  (For South African Readers, the African Carrier is almost exactly the same)
During the whole event, I constantly SMS/texted Christo and Heidi-Mari for prayer requests and updates.  At one stage Heid-Mari replied back, asking me how I could handle all the stress.  This was the first time I handled the day so relaxed, I usually go home halfway through the day, using the little ones as excuse, but totally stressed out.  
I believe nursing Michael made the difference.  Every time a mother nurses her baby, two hormones are released.  Prolactin and Oxytocin. Prolactin is a ‘love hormone’, which is why the more you nurse your baby, the more you fall in love with your baby!  I can testify that this is true! 

I’m not only falling in love with my sweet Michael more and more (if it is possible) but also with the rest of my children!  I don’t want to leave my children.

Oxytocin is a relaxing hormone and make you feel calm and often sleepy. I can’t help it, when I lay down next to Michael to nurse him, I always fall asleep! It is reported that Mothers who exclusively breastfed their babies, have lower levels of anxiety and depression than mothers who bottle-feed their babies. 
In nursing Michael through out the day, Oxytocin helped me cope with my stress!  The Lord is so good, and He indeed made our bodies wonderfully!
Thank you Lord for protecting my son during the Agri Expo and giving him a place. 
Thank you for keeping Heidi-Mari, Danika, David and Daniel safe at home.
I praise your Wonderful Name!
PS.  While CJ was participating in the show jumping he didn’t want an ice cream when I bought Josua and Andrew’s. So on his request, I took him and Heidi-Mari (because she looked after her brothers and sister so well on Monday) for frozen yoghurt at Tygervalley Centre, on Wednesday. This time Josua looked after his brothers and sisters, while they were fast asleep. They didn’t even know their mother was away!  
What a special outing it was, with my two oldest children and my youngest!


AutumnVine said...

Knap gedaan, CJ! Hoop julle het sommer 'n goeie jaar en dat dit al hoe beter sal gaan. Ek's so bly julle kan dit almal saam geniet, Linnie.
Ag, en ek wens vir 'n besoek aan daai netjiese gesondheidswinkel.

Linnie said...

Baie dankie Esther!
Ons kan mos hoop vir julle vir 'n geleentheid om hierdie kant van Suid Afrika te kom besoek. Ai die Kaap is 'n mooie plek!

Nikki said...

I love reading your posts about CJ's riding-I think it's my competitive side which so enjoys hearing how he is doing. It's wonderful to read how the Lord answers our prayers-even for a horse show! He really LOVES us, doesn't HE!

Linnie said...

Hi Nikki, thank you for stopping by.
Yes, it every time amazes me, that God not only loves us, but has time to takes notice off our every day doings! It is too big for me too comprehend.

Sonja said...

Geluk CJ! Hy lyk darem so pragtig op daai perd!En klein baba boetie is n liefie!!Die mooie ding,ek wens ek kon hom bietjie vashou!En aan al die ander oulike boeties en sussies- julle is dierbaar!

Linnie said...

Dankie liewe Sonja!

Petra said...

Well done CJ!

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