I made my first “Hole in One” when I was 9 years old. In golf, a hole-in-one (also known as an ace) is when a player hits the ball directly from the tee into the cup with one shot. This is most possible on a par 3 hole. I think this golf shot is celebrated more than any other shot and it usually takes 2 shots off your game. Even if you are having a bad day and hit a HOLE-IN-ONE, you come away from your round with a good feeling because hole-in-ones are something you talk about for the rest of your life. You remember and reminisce what hole you were on, who your were playing with, and, sometimes you remember what clothes you were wearing, and certainly what club you used.
I can remember my HOLE-IN-ONE like it was yesterday. It was the day I gave my life to Christ. Even though I was only 9 years old, I remember hearing Claudia Turner, who was the then reigning Miss South Carolina, give her personal testimony in our “small” hometown church. She was just beautiful and had a smile that would light up a room. Back then when there was a guest speaker in our church, they stayed in someone’s home because there were no hotels. We were the lucky family that got to host her in our home. I can remember how kind she was and she even let me come into the room where she was staying and try on her “CROWN!” I was star-struck.
On Sunday morning when she stood to speak, I made sure that I was on the front row. After all, she was staying at my house and I had gotten to sit on her bed and try on her crown. As she began to speak, God started to work on my heart. She talked about something far greater than the crown she wore on her head. She talked about the “CROWN SHE WORE IN HER HEART,” her personal relationship with JESUS. She went on to explain that she wasn’t perfect and that beauty on the outside did not mean near as much to her as the beauty that you could have on the inside. That beauty only came from having Jesus live in your heart. She invited anyone who had never asked Jesus into their heart to do so right then and then she prayed a very short simple prayer.
I PRAYED THAT PRAYER! My memories are so vivid of that moment. Just like a golfer remembers a hole-in-one, I went home and shared with my parents the decision I had made. We prayed together. I will have to say there were many contributing factors to that decision. I was raised in church, meaning my parents took me every Sunday. My parents were Christians and lived a Christian life before me, so Claudia’s testimony was the final step in bringing me to that decision. God used her boldness, her title, and her personal testimony to bring me to that decision. It changed the course of my life forever. I experienced tremendous growth after that.
Thirteen years later, I became Miss South Carolina. Ironically, both Claudia and I were first runner up to Miss America and both of us made milk commercials. The thing that is most important is that we both enjoyed a year of being Miss SC and were able to travel and use our title as a platform to share our “FAITH”. “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” Isaiah 6:8
I praise God everyday for people who are willing to stand up BOLDLY and share their road to having a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS. Everyone’s story is unique and different, but everyone’s story is powerful and can be used by God to CHANGE THE DIRECTION OF SOMEONE’S LIFE. IT DID MINE!
“And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2