Friday, April 25, 2014

I Really Messed Up This Time

My youngest daughter, who is currently in the 8th grade, recently tried out for the Junior Varsity Cheerleading Team for the new high school, she will be attending in the next school year.  What an exciting time.  I mean, how cool would that be, to already have “status” as a newcomer?

The week of tryouts finally came.  The first three days, the prospective cheerleaders attended special practices to learn the required pieces they were expected to present on the actual try out day.  In order to greater her chances of being selected, even after practice, my daughter came home and practiced even more.  Countless hours of high jumps, toe touches, energetic loud voices, splits, herkies, dance routines and more.

Finally, the big day arrives and the pressure is on.  The time has come for everyone to be judged on their techniques and ability to remember what was taught.  I sat in the car with great anticipation, as I waited for my daughter to come through the large double doors.   Wait.  Something’s wrong.  What’s wrong with my baby?  Random thoughts of failure filled my head within a matter of seconds, and my heart dropped, as I watched my daughter walk toward the car with a disgusted, sad look on her face. 

Trying not to seem too anxious, I asked, “How did it go?”

“Not too good,” she sadly responded.  She explained that she had made a few mistakes in areas that she was sure she had down packed.  She expressed how she wanted to just give up after making the mistakes, but decided to keep going.  She completed the tryout, but still felt defeated.  She was disappointed in herself, and at this point, had no hopes or expectations of making the squad.  She continued to share her experience and the pressure she felt from trying to meet everyone’s high expectations of her.  Compassion filled my heart as I attentively listened to the cries of defeat in her voice and the words she was speaking.  I told her to not be so hard on herself.  I told her how great she was, and that she needed to have a little more confidence in herself and her abilities.  I’m sure she heard me, but none of what I said really mattered at that moment.

The rest of the ride home was quiet.  When we arrived, my baby girl went straight to her room, shut the door, climbed in bed, covered her head and went to sleep.  As much as I wanted to do something or say something, I allowed her the space she needed.  I knew all too well what she was going through and have had a many of “cover my head up and hide from the world” moments, where there was no one to bother me but the constant thoughts of failure and disappointments of the current situation to taunt me.  I grieved for her, but God spoke a word of consolation to my spirit, and I knew everything was going to be ok.

The day came to check the postings of the new cheerleaders for the upcoming school year.  The list looked long, but there it was, shining bright like a diamond, my baby’s name.  Cheers and praise filled the room as we celebrated my daughter’s victory.   And there it is- the encouragement for today- just because you made a mistake, doesn’t mean it’s over.

Often times, we beat ourselves up over mistakes, bad choices or when we find out that we are not as perfect as we thought we were.  Sometimes we miss the mark, but God still wants us.  His love is not like man, that He will throw us away for making a mistake.  His love is forgiving and just.  His love is full of redemption.  God love us so much, that no matter what it is, no matter how low down and dirty, how deceitful, how ratchet it may be- if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.- 1 John 1:9. 

No matter how bad my daughter felt she had did, she didn’t give up.  What would have happened if she did?  Right- she wouldn’t have made the team.  Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!- 1 Corinthians 9:24 NLT

You will never get to do the victory dance if you give up.  Marriages can’t be saved, if you give up.  Healings can’t manifest in your life, if you give up.  Graduations can’t occur, if you give up.  Books can’t be published, if you give up.  Jobs can’t be found, if you give up. Things can’t change for you or in your life, if you give up.  Are you getting the picture?  Don’t give up!  As long as you don’t give up on God…or even if you give up on God…He will never give up on you!  The key thing to life is not giving up.  And the more we draw closer to God and learn of His word, our lives will change for the better.  Don’t allow a mistake, current or past, keep you from moving forward in life and in God.  Your mistakes don’t mean it’s over.  You’ve beat yourself up long enough.  You’ve sobbed long enough.  Come on out from under the covers- out of hiding.  There’s much work for us to do- naturally and spiritually.   No matter what-don’t give up.  Let's with purpose!  Let's run to win!

Stay Hopeful,


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Watch Out for the Little Things

This is an exciting time around the house with my 8 month old grandbaby starting to crawl and pull up on things.  He is all over the place, pulling up and pulling things down.  Babies are very curious at this age, and of course everything they get their little hands onto, goes into the mouth.   Well as he has done for the past few days, he crawled to one of the end tables and pulled himself up, but today, he saw an item, small enough to put into his mouth, and got choked.  As any mother would do, my daughter panicked and ran to his rescue.  After she had successfully retrieved the small item out of his mouth, she came to my room and barked about the small items being left on the table. 

As a mom, I understood her fears and where she was coming from, so I allowed her to finish, but then had to put the ball back in her court.  Not so much as shifting the blame, but I wanted her to see the important role she played in this scenario, being that she put the baby on the floor and allowed him to go to the table, knowing the items were there.

Those small items have been on that particular table for days, maybe even weeks.  They have never been a problem until today, the day that an accident happened.  As a matter of fact, that same baby, pulled up on that same table just last night, where those same small items were.  They should have been of a concern last night as well, but they weren’t—because the incident had yet to happen. 

This is how so many of us live our lives day to day.  We play around or with “little things” that can be hazardous to our life or spiritual walk with Christ.  For example, the person that sleeps around and has unprotected sex, is always in danger of acquiring a curable or incurable disease, or if a female, getting pregnant, but sometimes doesn’t think of the consequences until something actually happens.  The person, who cheats on his or her spouse, doesn’t really deal with the issue until something happens.  The average person doesn’t deal with their issues (natural and spiritual) until something bad happens.  We have to ask ourselves, why?

Have you ever thought about how much heartache or pain you could have prevented yourself, if only you had moved the “little items” out the way?  There will always be “little items” that are attractive to the eye, but if not properly moved out of the way, can cause major harm to us both naturally and spiritually.  It is my prayer today that we pick those items up and place them out of harm’s way.  Those “little items” are always around and so is the danger that comes along with them.  Don’t wait until you get choked or caught up before you take heed.  There’s a saying that says- an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  It is so much easier to do everything we can to avoid or prevent trouble, than it is to fix them, if ignored.  Sometimes the results are not always so nice. 

Remember to always "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." – Matthew 26:41   Also, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.- Hebrews 12:1 NLT

Stay Hopeful,