Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Miss America

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.  She learned to speak and converse as a deaf person in a hearing and speaking 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 which forced 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, with no apparent disabilities, who are as paralyzed and stunted as though they are the ones 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 fear
by financial lack
by financial plenty
by intimidation
by lack of knowledge
by abuse
by busyness
by clutter
by disorganization
by the inability to say no to good in order to say yes to the best
by perfection
by lack of faith
by lack of trust
by loss of hope
by physical pain
by physical disability
by mental confusion
by depression
by frustration
by not knowing what to do next
by dependence on addictions
by regret of past mistakes
by perceived failures
by lack of courage
by exhaustion
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 as 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.
  Overcome addiction. 
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.
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! 


Salmagundi said...

A great post and Happy Birthday to you. I know you will continue to grow in His grace this coming year. Sally

FrancisMoore said...

Happy Birthday.

Donnie said...

Another, WOW!!!
Hope your birthday has been wonderful!
Keep doing your best, when we do that, we are following the plan God has for our life.

Judy said...

What a nice post, I remember her. I hope you had a nice birthday!

Anonymous said...

Well said Rachel, Happy birthday!! love, Paul

Yellow Rose Arbor said...

I just love the way you write!

Sorry to be a day late to wish you a Happy Birthday! Our birthdays are four days apart (and a lot of years!) (Mine's the 19th) Does this mean we should have similar personalities?


Sherry at The Rusty Pearl said...

Happy belated Birthday .. HOpe that your so blessed you need ten trucks to carry it all my friend.. HUGS

One Shabby Old House said...

Happy Belated Birthday Rachel! I haven't been on your porch for so long but your post was exaclty what I need to think about. It is the tough things in life that make your strong I think. Thanks for sharing!

Donnie said...

Donnie said...
I saw her being interview several years ago, while or soon after she was Miss America. It was amazing to watch and hear her speak. Have a good day as we strive to see, hear and feel God's voice speaking to us.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for such a thoughtful post. I admire Heather and have kept up with her progress and success since the pageant. She has been a mentor for me in dealing with my own hearing loss, even though we have never met. I struggle to find God's will for my life and often wonder why the answer never comes. I admit letting my problem get in the way of letting go and saying "here am I send me" as spoken in the Bible. I have had rejection and ridicule by others because I do not hear or speak as well as they do. It takes much courage to attempt new things especially with new people. I pray all the time that I will soon find my reason for being here on earth and can use whatever talents He gave me so that my life will not be wasted but be helpful to others. I also pray for courage to do whatever I am meant to do and quit letting my problem get in the way. Sorry to write so much but your post touched me and made me want to "listen" more closely to His voice. Thanks and God bless you.