If it had been up to only me it wouldn't have happened.

"I began taking classes at KICS in the last few months of 2011. That was a little over four years ago as we stand here, but at that time I had no idea I would be standing here one day. You would think if someone starts at white belt they would look forward to this point as a goal, but I didn’t. I started because my son had been taking classes, I was always a little curious about martial arts and self-defense, and because other students who would become dear friends asked me to join them. When I started I had no idea where the path that laid out ahead of me would lead. 

I should say, the rumors you have heard about me are true..."

This is how I began my Black Belt resume on Saturday. I had never had such peace and calm assurance before a test, and I know it was due to the prayers I had asked for from so many dear ones. I made mistakes, yes, and I didn't break that blasted cement, but I did what I needed to in order to receive my black belt, with God's help.

How do I explain so that one can understand? My second class I cried the entire time. My son had to help me learn to fall over the course of a couple of months. Mentally I couldn't do it. The first time I sparred I turned my back and wanted to walk off the mat. These and more are the reasons I never really thought I would see this day when I began classes. Who I was, an insecure, shy, reserved, scared person, is no longer who I am, though I still struggle with all of those things some days.

You see, I have learned a lot, and grown in ways I never thought I would to get to this point. But it was God showing up and strengthening me that allowed me to continue on. And my weaknesses are still there, but I use them now.

It was my own insecurity which made me feel as if I didn't belong, but now I try to reach out to everyone to make sure they know there is a place for them. I know taekwondo isn't for everyone, but I don't want anyone to think there isn't space if they want to join. I can't take away their insecurities, but I can try to make them feel secure.

It was my own fear which kept me from falling and being able to spar at first. This allows me to understand where others are coming from when they are fearful as well. I get it. I've been there. And we can push through it and keep going.

I'm shy for a multitude of reasons, but it makes standing in front of groups not the most comfortable thing, and yet I have had to learn to do so in order to instruct, warm up, and speak. We can push through those feelings which threaten to hold us back.

I didn't earn my black belt on my own. I did it with the help of all those in class, my support outside of class, and God's strength and peace. And what's awesome is this is only another step in my journey. This is not an ending in any sort of way. I get to go back to class on Tuesday, continue helping others learn, and allowing others to help me learn. It's a lot like life, isn't it, though?

Five years ago last weekend was not on my radar. Somewhere along the way it slowly slipped in like a faded blip, and somehow I have now hit that bulls-eye. No, not somehow. With God's grace and strength. His peace and calm. His joy and salvation. His guidance and light. That's how. I wouldn't have done it without Him and all those He placed in my life to help me along the way. 


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