It never ceases to amaze me as I grow older how God uses my past experiences to help me teach and train our kids, and comfort them as well. Recently, I was talking with our daughter, Collins, about chasing her dreams and seeking God in all things. I was able to share with her a story from my past that was very applicable to her now.
When I was preparing to compete in the Miss America Pageant, I worked countless hours in the gym, in the dance studio, and in reading. As I was preparing, I hoped to leave no stone unturned. My goal as I approached the competition was to do what was within my control to do and leave the rest up to God. While preparing for the pageant, I still had to travel and make many appearances as Miss South Carolina. These engagements were training ground for the ultimate job I was pursuing which was to be Miss America.
In my travels I was asked to speak, cut ribbons, perform, and sign autographs. It gave me a tiny picture of what the job description would be for Miss America with the exception of it being magnified a thousand-fold.
While making appearances as Miss South Carolina, I encountered the press many times. I always seemed to get an ongoing question, which was, ” You are only 5’2″. The average height of Miss America is 5″7′. Do you think you have a chance?” When I was asked this question the first time, I boldly answered, “Yes, I do think I have a chance”. And followed it up with, “My dad says dynamite comes in small packages!”, which I believed to be true. It was only after I got that question for the tenth time that I started to secretly ask myself, “Do I have a chance”? The doubt was created from the constant questioning from complete strangers, especially people in the press.
I can remember coming home from an appearance, retreating to my room and picking up the source of my comfort, the Bible. I turned to Philipians1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” That Scripture alone washed great comfort over me. I knew that God had led me to compete.
There is an enemy that tries to defeat everyone of us at times. It’s the enemy of self-doubt. If you are reading this, you know what I am talking about. It could be that you have lost your job, have not met a desired goal, you have failed at something and are making another attempt. Maybe you have been called fat, stupid, lazy, or short? No matter what door opened the thoughts and feelings of self-doubt there is a solution. The solution, I believe, is always found in God’s word and in a growing, personal relationship with HIM. I have come to realize through my own personal journey that if you are walking with God and reading his Word, seeking the Lord in all that you do, realizing that you are imperfect and accepting of God’s grace, He does have a perfect and specific plan for each and everyone one of us.
Encouraging Collins to “stand alone even if she is the only one standing,” has been excruciating at times as a mom. I know first hand what it brings, alienation and self-doubt just for starters. But what it also does is it strengthens her in who she is in Christ and, what Adrian Despres boldly calls, “A straw duct taped to a lead pipe!” I encourage you to cast off self-doubt and clothe yourself with Christ.
I leave you not with my words, but with God’s word that I claimed in my pursuit of the crown. Words that I now use to encourage Collins,Thomas, and Brewer. I hope will encourage you. Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”