Thomas was blessed beyond measure to be able to play in the US Amateur tournament even though he was not able to make match play. Golf is such a hard game with many variables, some that you just cannot control…like divots in the middle of the fairway or the weather and multiple others. You just have to persevere.

I think this sport can BIG time help in developing the fruits of the spirit God teaches us about in Galatians 5:22-23–love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is one reason I have grown to love the sport. I have literally experienced God using this sport to develop these fruits in me and our family…it has exposed where we need to grow and develop as well.

Self-Control is key in life. Golf teaches that things don’t go your way all the time, no matter how hard you work. Unlucky shots or uncontrollable variables can get under your skin….and frustrate you until you think you are going to explode. That is when you have to rely on the Holy Spirit to consume you and give you the help you need in controlling your anger and frustration…being able to have peace and joy no matter the outcome. I don’t see it happening apart from a holy God.

The sport is something I have had to learn for the last 14 years. It has not only refined me but Bill and our kids as well. After this week at the US AM I have to give testimony to all the people who reached out to encourage Thomas. WE lived and experienced 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

I cannot begin to tell you how much our family has been humbled by the outpouring of encouragement through physical presence, continual texts, emails, and phone calls. Being flooded with encouragement has helped so much in Thomas’ ongoing pursuit of golf and living his dream of seeking to becoming a PGA professional.

The road is long, the road is hard and not many make it.

If you look at the numbers in this particular sport and realize you are competing against the world…not just the USA…then you know the odds are not in your favor. So the fruit of the spirit of perseverance, or sometimes written as forbearance, is key. The encouragement from others has given Thomas a special dose of perseverance.

If you are reading this post….ENCOURAGE OTHERS WHENEVER POSSIBLE….and it is always possible.

I can give testimony to this…I hope Thomas doesn’t get too upset…but let me just say…he is playing golf with open cuts on his fingers from hitting so many balls. Having Type 1 diabetes doesn’t help these cuts to heal easily. I am not writing this to gain sympathy…we know God has T, but I am writing to expose that very few people know the details of his struggles…and the encouragement and prayers that he has received has been a TRUE OUTPOURING from God.

Let me end with this….there is not a human on the planet who doesn’t need encouragement…as I have watched the news lately…I have been paralyzed and heartbroken from the apparent suicide of Robin Williams and the beheading of children…the days are evil.

The one thing I know is this–as long as I have a breath, I/you/we can pray. I/you/we can share the love of Christ. I/you/we can encourage. Scripture is clear–we overcome evil with GOOD. Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Thank you to all who encouraged the Bradshaws. We have been on the receiving end of encouragement as of late and we are forever grateful for the LOVE that has been extended to us! May the God of the UNIVERSE be real to you today!

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