Have you ever had someone go out of their way for you???? Well, I have and it nourished my soul to the core. It could be because “acts of service” are high on my love language list, coming in at No. 2. I believe everyone notices, in this busy world we live in, when someone stops and takes the time to “give time,” interrupting their own schedule to help a friend…says A ton about them!!! and their Heart!!!!
On the Back 9, a fervent prayer I have had is that our family, all 5 of us, would take the time to STOP AND HELP others, even when it is not CONVENIENT. A BOGIE for sure in our family, in looking back on the “front 9”, was being so wrapped up in the pursuit of our own agenda that we didn’t ALLOW ENOUGH interruptions to help others or value others. I believe taking the time to stop and offer “our time” is one of the greatest gifts and witnesses of Christ we can do in our lives. I want to encourage you–it is NEVER TOO LATE to make birdies and eagles and finish with a strong score on the Back 9 of life.
Half the battle of shooting a “good score” on the back 9 is taking the time in your thoughts to reflect on mistakes and decisions and regroup going forward. With years left in life, or in golf with half the holes left, it is VERY POSSIBLE TO finish on A great note. Most of the time, even if our children started a hole with a triple, if they finished with a birdie, that is what they remembered most, the birdie. Finishing with the positive!!! If they doubled or tripled to finish, even if they had had 6 birdies previously, they would walk off very unhappy and unsatisfied with their last hole and it would cast a dark shadow on their whole round. Finishing strong, I believe, is not only key in golf but it is essential in life. Everyone has the ability to finish better than they started!!!!
My desire on the “Back 9” has been to give more time to others, not just me, but our whole family, thus valuing others more. Living John 15:13, “No greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Desiring our family to help and be willing to offer a hand even with simple things like letting someone go first in line or holding the door open for someone. God is so faithful when you sincerely have the right motives and pray fervently for “good things!” Ephesians 3:20, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we think or ask for.” He is gracious to offer encouragement all along the way. He does answer prayers for “bogies” in life and for “out-of-bounds shots” as well. It is my prayer to encourage you with the following story of how God works and then allows you to see His answers to your specific prayers as you seek Him to “finish strong!”
Just this weekend, we had two of our three children home from college. Our two youngest, Thomas and Collins, who I now consider young adults, had challenging and exhausting weeks at school. They were home for a retreat. Knowing this, I did my best to be prayed up and have things ready for a much needed physical and mental break. Friday evening was spent with the four of us eating a home-cooked meal and purging hurts, frustrations, and challenges that lay ahead of them. In the midst of this, I watched my kids, even though they were extremely tired, pitch in to help Bill and me cook and clean. Late on Friday evening, when we had all melted to the sofas, a phone call came through that my mom was not doing well. At 11 p.m. everyone jumped up to load my car with my stuff and theirs. Willing to turn around and get back on the road to help, not just me, but my parents. We ended up not having to leave home but I went to bed so thanking God for the willingness of our kids to put themselves aside…to help me and my parents.
On Sunday, after a full day of things, Thomas was enjoying some down time watching NFL football and golf before he left to go back to Clemson. Collins asked him for help with her Econ homework. Without hesitation Thomas jumped up and spent an hour helping her. They got along and laughed some. I was OVERWHELMED!!!! I felt tears burn in my eyes. The whole weekend, unbeknownst to them, God was showing off “visuals” to me over the prayers I had been praying specifically for our family. Even though the inconveniences and help offered were happening within our family, this is where I have found us lacking at times. WE were willing to help others but not so willing to happily and readily help in our home.
This journal’s purpose is to brag on God who answered my prayer and has the ability to take bogies and turn them into birdies on the “Back 9”. If there are areas that need working on or changing, it is never too late!!! With prayer and focus and intention, with God in the “driver’s seat of our lives,” many things can turn around!!!!! EVERYONE CAN CHOOSE TO FINISH STRONG!!! I encourage you to know that “significance” in life comes from learning from mistakes or omissions. Praying and making necessary changes. With prayer and God’s help, your life can be meaningful and significant, EVEN ON THE BACK 9!