This Saturday we'll be running the Joplin Memorial Half Marathon in Joplin, MO, about a four and a half hour drive from home. I registered us for this race months ago, reserved a hotel room and everything. Janice, Courtney, and I are all going to be there. It would have taken a serious emergency to keep me from making the trip to southwestern Missouri after school on Friday.
So when the Vilonia High School softball team made it to the semi-finals in the 5A state tournament, I told the girls there was no way I'd be able to make it to the state championship game if they won. I was disappointed, as were some of them, because I always try to make it out to support our athletes.
It was impossible for me to make it to either of their first two tournament games because they were scheduled last week during the school day. The semi-final game was scheduled for this past Saturday. I had no plans to travel the hour and a half to Wynne, AR that day because Courtney's graduation was that morning at 10 o'clock. So it looked like I would be unable to attend any of the tournament games this year whether they won or lost.
But God evidently had everything worked out in advance.
"Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails." -- Proverbs 19:21
The game was rained out on Saturday and rescheduled for yesterday at 4:30. It was still going to be tough to make the game because we were scheduling kids for next year yesterday, a process that never runs smoothly and becomes more and more difficult as the day wears on. I asked our principal if I could leave a little early and he said it would be okay if everything was worked out by then. We hoped to leave at 3:00 to give us just enough time to arrive by the first pitch.
But like I said, things get hectic on scheduling day toward the end. At 3:22 I finished working the last kid's schedule and a colleague agreed to finalize my paperwork and hand everything in. We were out the door about 3:25, in the car and blasting out onto the road.
It was hammer down all the way to Wynne, not so fast to get in trouble but trying to push the envelope just a little. We made it to the ball park at 4:50 with one out in the top of the 2nd inning. The score was tied 0-0 and our girls were on the field. We won the game 3-1 and it was beautiful. One of our sophomores hit a home run, bringing another runner with her to the plate and putting us up 3-0. The opposing team only managed one run the rest of the game to make the final score, so our girls made it to the state championship game!
I was soooo glad we were able to make it to see them play, but it gets better.
The tournament bracket was posted on the wall of the concession stand. Written in the spot reserved for the teams headed to the finals was the location where the championship game would be played, and it wasn't Wynne. It said, "U of A Bogle Park, 3:00." That's when I realized God had been working for months to make it so we could attend the game!
U of A meant University of Arkansas, at Fayetteville in the far northwest corner of the state! If you're unfamiliar with our local geography, Missouri sits right on top of our beautiful state. So southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas are about as close as things get in the two states. We were already going to be in Joplin, MO. The game will be played in Fayetteville, AR. Only about 90 miles separate the two cities!
Our race starts at 6:30. I should be finished before 9. Then back to the hotel to get cleaned up and back for the post race party. Then we can take our time to make the hour and a half trip south and still arrive early to watch the Vilonia Lady Eagles play in the 5A state championship game!
"Every good and perfect gift is from above,(AB) coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." -- James 1:17
Only God could have put the wheels in motion all those months ago, and organized everything to fall into place to make it all come together this weekend. I'm really looking forward to the race and the game and I'm thanking God for making it all possible!
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