I had been a very active child…too active.
My poor mother could barely keep up with my excessive energy, and my school teachers found me to be exasperating at times. My mother and grandmother were shopping when I was around ten years old and had lost track of the wiggle-worm in the grocery store. They had walked every aisle looking for the wild-child. Finally, they found me…walking on my hands down an aisle.
I’m sure my mother did a lot of eye-rolling during my childhood.
After I had been through the torture of sitting at a desk each day, I’d run home to get a snack and get out all the nervous energy I had been storing up since breakfast. It started in the swivel rocker. I would spin myself for ten minutes, then I would move over to our orange, vinyl couch. Standing on my head on the couch, I’d put my feet up on the wall, then open and close my legs like scissors for a couple of minutes.
Then, I would usually head outdoors to find a neighborhood boy to beat at something…
Elvis was one of the boys I played with, he was a sweet and kind boy my age. Then one day he told me I was pretty and I turned beet red. That was the end of our friendship. I ignored him after that. A boy had never said I was pretty before… because I looked like a boy, plus they usually don’t like girls who’d try to outdo them at sports.
In high school I competed in track and field the first year, then our northern communities switched to soccer, and we learned how to play a sport I’d never played before. I also didn’t know all the rules of the game.
One of the older, grade twelve boys, Drew, was the coach our first year. When we had a timeout, he pulled me aside and said, “Cindy I want you to take that girl out” He pointed over to the opposing team’s bench, and pointed out one of their best players.
The light bulb came on, ah it must be like hockey, we can check people. This sounded like fun. The whistle blew, the game started, and I ran across the field, and body slammed her. She may have done a few cartwheels through the air, then crumpled to the ground in a heap. A referee came running up, angry as a bull, flashing a card in my face, telling me I was out of the game! Confused, I went over to the bench to sit out. I was furious with my coach!
“Why did you tell me to take her out, we’re not allowed to do that!” I yelled at him.
“I meant for you to trip her inconspicuously, not send her flying!” He was snickering by now.
Embarrassment filled my face, I wasn’t one to openly defy authority or rules.
After high-school, I married Vance, had five children in seven and a half years, and exercise fell by the wayside. Then one day, I saw a book in a bookstore. It was called, Body for Life. I opened the cover and inside were before and after photos of people completely transforming themselves, from out of shape homemakers like me, into supermodels.
I was mesmerized.
I felt hope.
I was out of shape and tired most of the time. I decided to go with the plan. When I choose to do something, I’m in 110%. I started the exercise and eating plan. I was lifting weights and running each day.
One day I said to Vance,
“I think I will run around our whole block.”
Our block was 5 km. We lived on the outskirts of town.
“You can’t do that, it’s too far!” He said.
That’s all I needed to hear, it was like I was taken back in time and could picture one of the neighborhood boys taunting me.
I ran the whole block non-stop, well I almost died, but I wasn’t going to let Vance think he had been right. That was the day I started my love affair with running. There was nothing in my past I loved doing for fitness and exercise, more than running. I was addicted. I entered races and started competing, and I was ecstatic!
Then one day I said to myself proudly, I’m going to get into the best shape of my life, there will be no one more fit than me!
You know that saying, Pride comes before a fall, it’s actually a Bible verse:
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18 NIV
Or, she who thinks too highly of herself, will fall flat on her face.
The next week my knee began hurting every time I ran. I saw every specialist and doctor you could imagine for a couple of years. No one had any answers. Then I had my knee scoped. The orthopedic surgeon took out some cartilage that was floating around, left over from when a motorcycle hit me, in grade four.
I still had pain when I ran. I went back for my follow up. He told me I would have to give up running and find another sport. I looked up at him like he had horns growing out of his head… seriously… he had no clue! I left devastated, and for some strange reason, furious with the surgeon!
Ten years later my friend Stephanie introduced me to CrossFit…
I loved competition, this sport was right up my alley! Back to beating the neighborhood boys. Men and women are equal in CrossFit. In the gym, they compete side by side. Our sport consists of weight lifting, running, rowing, gymnastics, kettlebells, wall balls, box jumps, push-ups… yes, CrossFit has a little of everything.
I got in the best shape of my life!
Our whole family did this sport, except our oldest son Kyle, who has severe autism. Dinner every night was a constant chatter of:
“What did you lift today?”
“What was your time on that WOD?”
“I deadlifted 400 lbs.” said my daughter Aryanna.
“I back squatted 270,” said Charity.
We Henson women were strong! Our girls could make grown men cry in the gym, by out-lifting them.
Then I started training in hopes of going to the world CrossFit Games to compete in my age category. It was a two-year plan. If all went as planned and I competed successfully, hopefully, I would be able to be in the top twenty, out of thousands of ladies worldwide, who participated each year.
Pride seeped in again…
Then I started getting one health issue after another, it seemed to be a downward spiral. My gallbladder was removed, and I started feeling much better. Then my health deteriorated again. I was so sick, I could barely function. We found out our house had two potentially deadly molds in it and we went through six months of renovations. I slowly recovered and was just about ready to restart CrossFit again a few months ago.
I hit my elbow really hard as I came through a doorway one day. It caused my elbow to jam and pinch a nerve, and inflame the tendon. Two weeks later when I went to the chiropractor, he said I had tennis elbow from it being jammed so long. I had had tennis elbow in the other arm two years ago… this was going to be a long time healing… sigh.
So, what did I do during the last year and a half as I battled one health crisis after another?
I began a love affair with writing. I now love writing more than I had my past sports. I had a plan, God had another. He allowed the rug from beneath my feet to be pulled out and slowed me down. He asked me to sit and type. That was my exercise each day… typing.
He and I wrote a book.
We made a website.
He helped me write a blog.
I became his student, and he is an incredible teacher!
The crazy kid, who barely made it through school, who couldn’t sit for a moment without ants in her pants torturing her, whom teachers wondered; How was she ever going to amount to anything … wrote a book. God takes the most unlikely people and decides to use them for his purposes.
He has this incredible sense of humor… he is humored when we think we can make our own life plans, how we decide the way our life is going to pan out. ABC… 123. We line it all up in our heads and declare, this is how my life is going to go.
It’s okay to make plans, but make sure you include God in those plans.
Well, my life hasn’t gone the way I planned it out…it’s even better. I lost the sport I love, but I gained a new passion. I am hoping to return to my old love, CrossFit, when God is done teaching me whatever it is he think I need to learn.
In the meantime, I write… and I wait.
Have you been planning your life out? Life isn’t going the way you hoped? Give your plans over to God. You might be surprised what he has planned for you.
I could have never in a thousand years dreamed of writing a book, I didn’t even know how to write an essay. It wasn’t in my plans. Now a beautiful book, Beauty from Ashes, has been born, and I am flabbergasted and humbled.
I have learned to love God’s plan, and to allow him to plant my feet where he thinks it’s best for me.
God wanted me to love him, more than my own plans.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:4-5
Believing and hoping
*Featured photo by Andreane Fraser
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