Growing up in the South, where beauty pageants are prevalent, as a means of winning scholarship money for college, I have followed the Miss America pageant with interest.
In 1995, along with other American moms I marveled at the ability of Heather Whitestone, Miss America 1995. So a few months ago when I found this book at the thrift store for a dollar, I was quick to purchase it. When I began to read it I found it hard to put down.
Heather went profoundly deaf around the age of two after an illness. The story of her mom's courage to help her to persevere and achieve against all odds is simply convicting. Through grueling effort and immense sacrifice Heather learned to read lips and interpret vibrations and learned to speak and converse as a deaf person in a spoken world.
When Christopher Reeve (the screen actor of Superman) was injured in the horse riding accident that left him completely paralyzed and able to speak only in rhythm with his respirator forcing oxygen into his lungs, my husband and I had many conversations about how people with disabilities find something deep within that causes them to rise up and achieve in spite of the odds.
Then there are people like me, who have no apparent disabilities, who are as paralyzed and stunted as though they were the one in the wheelchair or profoundly deaf.
So I have repeatedly asked myself, what holds me back?
What is paralyzing me from reaching my potential?
What is holding me back from fulfilling the purpose that God has for my life.
I believe from the depths of my being if we are living and breathing, God has a plan for us, a path for us to walk, a place of service, a circle of influence.
Am I paralyzed
by financial lack
by financial plenty
by lack of knowledge
by the inability to say no to good in order to say yes to the best
by lack of faith
by lack of trust
by loss of hope
by physical pain
by physical disability
by mental confusion
by not knowing what to do next
by dependence on addictions
by regret of past mistakes
by perceived failures
by lack of courage
Oh my, the list could go on and on.
What holds me back?
What holds you back?
If I allow myself to be held back from my life's purpose, my calling, God's plan for me, then in reality I am as paralyzed as Christopher or as deaf a Heather.
Heather had to learn to interpret vibrations and how to cause her voice to mimic those movements. It took time and energy and unimaginable effort.
Christopher had to learn to breath again with the help of a respirator and therapist. It was a process.
I have to learn to hear God's voice.
Interpret His plan.
It takes time and energy and effort.
It doesn't happen overnight.
I believe that we must pursue faith and trust.
We choose to move past regret and into hope.
Search for courage.
Seek knowledge and advice.
I agree that is isn't easy and there can be road blocks at every turn. I know that we can feel as though we stumble and fall flat on our face, lying there, heaving, gasping for the next breath, sighing, sobbing, wondering how to get back up.
I get it.
ALL OF IT!
But I know that God is greater and bigger and stronger than any of that, and HE will help me, help you...even when it feels like HE isn't doing anything to help us, HE is!
God has put everything we need inside each one of us to be what we were created to be.
Wouldn't that be silly to think that we were supposed to fulfill a purpose, but we didn't have what we needed to achieve?
And yes, I think we have to fight for it sometimes.
We have to fight to find our potential.
It doesn't always come easy.
Sometimes we can't see it in ourselves, but it is there, waiting to bloom.
Each person, in their own way, is a beautiful thing, being what they were meant to be.
If we are living and breathing, there is still a plan and a purpose for us.
So today's my birthday!
And I'm happy about it.
That means HE'S not finished with me yet.
HE is still molding me and working on me to be what HE needs so I can fulfill HIS plan for my life.
No, sometimes I don't see the way clearly, well actually a lot of times I don't see the way clearly.
It's one baby step at a time and sometimes two or three back probably, but I have this moment.
I want to do my very best with it.
Make the best choices I can.
I want to make the most of it.
Then I can trust that when I look back at my life it will be filled with the knowledge that I'm SO NOT perfect, but I know I was doing my best.
So here's to you too...
just go make it a Happy Happy Day...
one moment at a time!