Posted by: pamrichardswatts | July 31, 2015

We Shall Not Want

For almost 20 years, I’ve been putting food on my kids’ table. It’s been up to me to ensure balanced nutrition. Portion control is MY job.

Until it isn’t.

For the past year, my child has enjoyed a particular serving. Something they have taken tremendous delight in–and we have rejoiced in their delight. We’ve all come to count on it as daily bread.

Until it is taken away.

As “chief cook and bottle washer,” this is unacceptable to me. I want to get it back for them. I want justice served. At the very least, I want to take away my child’s bitter cup.

The empty plate is almost unbearable.

Then I recall Who is REALLY in charge of portion control. The One who cares even more about nutrition than I do. Could it be God is clearing the way for something my child needs even more? That I need more of, too?

What do you have on your plate today?

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the Rock and firm Strength of my heart and my Portion forever.” Psalm 73:26 (AMP)

“The Lord himself is my inheritance, my prize. He is my food and drink, my highest joy! He guards all that is mine.” Psalm 16:5 (TLB)

“The Lord alone gives and takes. Praise the name of the Lord!” Job 1:21 (CEV)

Lamentations 3-24

Posted by: pamrichardswatts | June 17, 2015

Are We There Yet?


Milestones are a fundamental part of life’s journey.

Only last month, I reached a pretty significant milestone. Try as I might, no matter how creatively I tried to camouflage it, that “half-century” sign was a mile marker just too big to be ignored.Pam Watts 006

Ah, well . . . the bigger the milestone . . . the bigger the celebration. We sure had a lot of fun marking that one!

Milestones are also essential to keep us on track and measure progress toward desirable goals such as child development, business success or athletic achievement.

The very word “milestone” originates from stones used in Roman times to mark roads at regular intervals. Milestones measured both the distance behind AND the distance ahead.

Today we know them as “mile markers.” In the primitive days before GPS, mile markers supplied the answer to that perpetual road trip question:

“How much FARTHER?” i64milemarker

But perhaps the most important aspect of milestones is this: they reassure us travelers that we are on the proper path.

Sometimes it’s hard to spot the milestones on our spiritual journey. However, our faith will serve as a marker too big to miss. While we can’t always tell “how much farther,” we are sure to get there if we keep our eyes on the One who waits for us at the finish line:

“We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up. We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2 (GW)

Posted by: pamrichardswatts | June 2, 2015

Stuck in Neutral

(Until I Shifted My Attitude)gear shift

One skill I possess with secret satisfaction is the ability to drive a standard shift. Since my general automotive knowledge is so painfully limited, there is some consolation in mastering this much of the transmission.

My favorite car of all time was a five-speed, fire-engine red Toyota Celica. Behind the wheel I was queen of the open road! It was a bittersweet day when I finally had to trade it in for a more conservative mom-mobile. Sigh.

Eventually I did go on to drive another five-speed. While shuttling kids to karate and dance lessons didn’t exactly give me the chance to ‘tach it up,” it was reminiscent of those earlier, carefree days. I love driving a stick shift.

That is, when it works. After 93,000 miles of city driving, one of the interior parts of my gear shift began to wear out, making it harder and harder to handle. Then it started making suspicious noises. I knew I had a problem—I just didn’t know how big it was.

That gear shift decided to snap completely the very day my car was full of children, the very moment I was about to cross a busy intersection. We were stuck in neutral, unable to budge. The kids kept urging, “Just step on the gas!” I kept insisting, “But I can’t get it in gear!

We couldn’t move.

Imagine my relief when several good Samaritans came running to push my car into a nearby fast-food parking lot. Meanwhile, an emergency call was made to dear husband, who contacted a tow truck for me. Within the hour, my disabled vehicle was in the care of the car dealership, where we learned it only needed minor repairs.

There have been many times since when I have felt “stuck in neutral.” I’m stranded helplessly while others honk and keep going. Try as I might, I can’t make life respond the way I want. I’d be thrilled to get in gear and get going—but hitting the pedal does nothing but create a lot of useless noise. So there I sit, chafing at the delay and loss of momentum. After all, we’re supposed to keep moving forward, aren’t we?

However, as I learned during our car dilemma, even in the midst of setbacks we can still be thankful. In that instance, we were grateful for many things: strangers who rushed to our aid to move us to safety. The lightning-swift response of the tow truck. My husband, who left work to come help shuttle our extra passengers. Friends who detoured on their way home to offer additional assistance. The cooperative attitudes of five high-spirited children who, armed with sodas and French fries, helped me to see the whole experience as an adventure, rather than a disaster.

We were stranded, but not abandoned. While we felt stuck and powerless, God was working in mighty ways to move us forward.

As it turns out, “stuck” is not such a bad place to be. When I’m constantly moving ahead in pursuit of the next thing, I risk rushing past some of the best things. Sometimes being forced to idle is just what I need to shift my attitude from impatience and worry . . . to trust and gratitude.

After all, I’m riding with the One fully able to get life in gear.

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8 (ESV)

Be still. Be patient. Expect the Eternal to arrive and set things right. Psalm 37:7 (The Voice)

Posted by: pamrichardswatts | May 16, 2015

Custom-Made Faith

Celebrating Uniqueness in a “One Size Fits All” World

People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. I Samuel 16:7

Years of team sports and activities have taught me to appreciate the importance of good uniforms. Uniforms are essential for participants—for starters, they identify players as members of the team.

However, such “uniformity” isn’t easy to come by. The more fitted the outfit, the more expertise required. It takes considerable knowledge and skill from those adept at measuring, fitting and altering to custom-tailor a single design for such an intricate variety of figures.

Custom fitting . . . is best left to the experts.

As Christians, perhaps one of the greatest miscalculations we make is when we try to outfit one another in “spiritual uniformity.” Even our best efforts will be ill-fitting and uncomfortable. As scripture points out, we are not qualified to take such measurements (Matthew 7: 1, Romans 2:1, Romans 14:4, 10). Too often we end up trying to alter each other to conform to the uniform of our design.

Having just lost a loved one, I’ve experienced this firsthand. Grief has the peculiar distinction of being both universal—and intensely personal. As a result, I keep meeting amateur tailors determined to outfit me in their particular brand of sackcloth. For all their loving concern to see me warm and covered, such attentions do not “suit” me.

To begin with, this is not my first season on the Mourner’s Team. I have put on this uniform before, and I know that grief, in order to be worn graciously, must be custom-fit to the wearer. It’s not my intention to reject the outfit—but I do insist on the prerogative to try it on after my own fashion.

Meanwhile, I’ve been just as prone to try my hand at religious re-styling.

When my dearly-departed dad was alive, our spiritual fashions often clashed. He did not accessorize and model his faith like I did. Since his uniform was not identical to mine, I sometimes questioned if he was a legitimate member of the same team.

However, all my concern and criticism turned to worthless rags the last time I saw him face-to-face. He was the very image of reconciliation—a man clearly at peace with life, with death, with the people he loved—and the God he trusted. At that moment, any spirit of heaviness I may have had was completely replaced with a garment of praise.

If I had any hidden doubts at all, they also fell away before this precious keepsake I received only days after my father’s death. 068For a man of great style and bearing, this humble token was one of his most prized possessions. He carried it with him at all times. I’m told that the very worst moment of his illness came when he had to leave it behind (along with any other metal objects) for a medical procedure.

Now I keep it close, a treasured and tangible reminder of Divine reassurance that my father’s faith was no mere accessory. He only refused to parade it around for the approval of others. He was clearly marked as God’s own, whether others acknowledged his uniform or not.

If experiences of late have taught me anything, it is that I am no tailor. My best efforts at evangelism will be shrugged off—and rightly so—whenever I care more about the uniform than the wearer. Maybe the best I can do is model faith with style and grace. I am not equipped to clothe others in the Gospel. That I leave to the One with the knowledge and skill to custom-fit each individual member of His team.

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness. Isaiah 61:10

Posted by: pamrichardswatts | May 7, 2015

In My Daddy’s Shoes

big shoes

Direct my footsteps according to your word. Psalm 119:133a (NIV)

Moses was instructed to remove his sandals before he could stand on holy ground (Exodus 3:5). I can’t help but wonder if that was God’s way of preparing Moses for some really big shoes.

At 6’2”, my dad was a big guy. And he didn’t just wear big shoes—he lived a really big life. For starters, he was the right-hand man of the governor of Texas—you know, the state where “everything’s bigger.” My dad also served in a tremendous leadership capacity to one of the largest university systems in the country. utc

I didn’t fully grasp what a big deal that was until I walked into class on the main college campus, and saw my daddy’s name on the side of the building. HUGE.

It’s no small task to sum up such a big life. My father’s obituary would eventually read,

1979boardmeeting “The legacy he leaves will also be enhanced by his extensive and impressive public service, as detailed below.” And then followed about 90 lines of print. It concluded with, “Howard was fortunate to spend life doing what he loved, serving the institution he loved and leaving a lasting legacy for the people he loved.”

For my part, I’ve always had really little feet—and modest ambitions. As a fulltime stay-at-home mom, I never aspired to a public career, let alone such a distinguished one. It never occurred to me to follow in my father’s footsteps— because I could never match his stride.

It’s amazing what can happen though, when we decide to follow a really big God. He can do some pretty impressive stuff if we’re willing to walk in His footsteps.

I took a decisive step forward when I agreed to serve on a school district committee. At first, it didn’t seem like that big a deal—after all, I had covered my share of ground as a school volunteer.

But I was thinking much too small. Ahead lay a multi-million dollar school bond issue, which would provide for, among other things, the addition of fine arts and athletic space. Right in front of me was the perfect opportunity to do what I loved (advocate for children’s extracurriculars), serve the institution I loved (Midway ISD), and make a difference for people I loved.

It wasn’t exactly a burning bush moment—but it was close. It was clear that God had big plans in store. I took my first big steps into public service, school politics—and a significant amount of controversy. (I’m certain that my dad—who fought in some landmark legal battles and went toe-to-toe with the Texas legislature—could relate.) I was seriously terrified that I would fall flat on my face.

It’s a good thing God was walking close beside me.

He will never let me stumble, slip, or fall. Psalm 121:3 (TLB)

Two years later, we celebrated the completion of one of the largest bond projects, and I had the privilege of attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony. My name may not have been on the building, but I had lent it to the cause—and then got to hear it called out publicly in the presence of my children.

Midway MAC Ribbon Cutting

I think maybe my shoes grew a couple of sizes that day.

The really big moment, though, was much more private. That same week, my dad’s health had been declining fast. The day after the ceremony, my husband and I traveled to his home to tell him goodbye. One of the last things I shared with my dad was the photo and story of the building dedication. Together we celebrated the life—and legacy—we shared. And I got to tell him what an honor it had always been to be his daughter.

Never have I walked so tall or stood so proud as the time I took just a few steps . . . in my daddy’s shoes.

Posted by: pamrichardswatts | April 11, 2015

Empty Wallets & Full Hearts


Two places I take the prize in parenting:

  • Spending lots of money on my kids;
  • Making lots of cracks about how much money I spend on my kids.

Stop me if you heard these before:

“It took Katherine a week to learn the moves for high school dance team. It only took me sixty seconds to master the dance momma move: write a check, write a check, write a check!”

“I’ve got one kid going into college, one kid getting behind the wheel, one kid going into braces . . . and one momma going out to sell plasma.” braces

And every newly orthodontured child is reintroduced to the world with an emphatic, “Smile—and show everybody momma’s trip to Europe!”

(I have a ridiculous confession to make. This momma actually has been to Europe—three times, no less. Shouldn’t I be the one smiling?)

Oh, I’ve got quite the little routine going . . . and I perform it every chance I get.

But like many funny people, I go for the laugh to cover up the pain. The kind that comes from head-on collisions with my own self-centeredness.

See, it’s not the financial sacrifice I mind as much as giving up my right to spend as I please. Then I turn the “high cost of child-rearing” into a scapegoat for my discontent:

IF we weren’t covering the gas, maintenance and insurance on four cars, THEN maybe Brent could finally drive something manufactured in this century.” (At the moment, he is making do with a secondhand beater he likes to call “The Pimp-Mobile.”)

IF we weren’t so ‘college poor,’ THEN maybe I could graduate my smart phone up to the Ivy League version most of my friends have.”

IF it weren’t for the financial acrobatics of competitive cheer, THEN maybe I could _______.” (At this point, I make several passes over all the stuff I’d like to do/have/see/wear, off a list as absurdly long as the competition season itself.)

What will bankrupt me is not my children . . . but my attitude.

Fortunately for me, God’s economy works much differently. He invites me to open my heart along with my wallet and empty it of those things I cannot afford, like greed, envy and selfishness.

He offers a loving exchange for items of true value, like gratitude, celebration and trust.

I am thankful for my children–I can be equally thankful for the gifts and talents God has given each of them. I can celebrate the many opportunities they enjoy to develop and express those talents. And I can trust God to provide us with the means to realize those opportunities.

And I can definitely give thanks for the joy-filled life of a booster mom. Let’s face it, most of my sacrifices come wrapped up in tutus and trophies, as opposed to say, weeks in a children’s hospital.

My empty wallet is simply a visible reminder of how full my life truly is.MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

And that’s no joke.

If you want to follow Me, you must deny yourself the things you think you want. You must pick up your cross and follow Me. The person who wants to save his life must lose it, and she who loses her life for Me will find it. Matthew 16:24-25 (The Voice)

This is my last gift to you, this example of a way of life: a life of hard work, a life of helping the weak, a life that echoes every day those words of Jesus our King, who said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35 (The Voice)

Bring your full tithe to the Temple treasury so there will be ample provisions in my Temple. Test me in this and see if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams. Malachi 3:10 (The Message)


Posted by: pamrichardswatts | March 20, 2015

Pride Before a Fall

I am frequently amazed at the way life with competitive kids keeps me fighting. My toughest opponent? My pride. 

Managing extracurricular life all on my own is my idea of a booster mom win. That is the game plan. But rarely does it turn out that way. Regardless of how prepared, organized and resourceful I try to be, I can’t do everything. And I sure can’t control everything.

I need help. And sometimes I just need help . . . accepting help.

This was one of those times. I had a dance company daughter, three younger children . . . and a husband on the road. Since Brent couldn’t make this performance, I enlisted the services of a gracious teen to oversee the little kids. That way I could double-time as spectator mom and backstage mom.

But no matter how hard I tried to cover everything, I had some slipups. I forgot the bobby socks for the fifties number. I failed to pin Katherine’s cap on securely enough, leaving her to tap-dance her way through “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” with a hat hanging down her face. I figured this recital would go down in Watts family history as “The Great Accessory Crisis.”Our wedding-toast0001 - Copy

First pride, then the crash— the bigger the ego, the harder the fall. Proverbs 16:18 (The Message)

It was quite the comedy of errors—but not all my missteps were so funny. In my haste to return to my seat, I tripped over one of the aisle risers. Soon after I sat down, I realized something was terribly wrong. It appeared I had actually managed to fracture a toe. As families began to file out of the auditorium, others noticed that the tears on my face were not those of a proud parent.

Including her. The Dance Company Mom.

woman fallsShe was one of those women who, for some reason, always intimidate the snot out of me. The kind who never seem to put a foot wrong. The kind who leave me feeling like a bumbling idiot by comparison. And here she was, bearing down on me in my moment of clumsy, blubbering helplessness.

Oh no. Can someone else help me, please? Anyone else?

Two are better than one because a good return comes when two work together. If one of them falls, the other can help him up. But who will help the pitiful person who falls down alone? Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (The Voice)

The great thing about gals like this is that they are the best people to have around in crisis. Before I knew it, she had everything under control. Someone was dispatched to round up my daughter and help carry costumes. Someone else ushered my children outside. Meanwhile, our sitter helped me limp to my car which—thankfully—she was licensed to drive. (Wouldn’t you know I disabled my pedal foot. I couldn’t even get home without help!)

Pride lands you flat on your face; humility prepares you for honors. Proverbs 29:23 (The Message)

In the days to come, I continued to lean on family and friends as I hopped around on my one good foot. I learned just how graceful life can become when we let others help.

I admit, it’s a step I’m still learning to master. Thankfully, I get lots of training on the sidelines of my children’s activities. That’s where I’m learning what it really means to be a “company mom.” And I’ve discovered that the real win as a booster mom—and a godly mom—comes from being a humble mom.

The kind who will leave her ego backstage.

The kind who will accept help when she needs it.

And who will be grateful for those who pick her up when she falls.

hands up

Posted by: pamrichardswatts | March 4, 2015

The Evolution of a Parent

When I was a child, I spoke, thought, and reasoned in childlike ways as we all do. But when I became a man, I left my childish ways behind. I Corinthians 13:11 (The Voice)

Nothing is more entertaining than watching an angry monkey go wild. Unless it’s you he’s after.

In Night at the Museum, rookie night guard Larry Daley never expected to guard himself from museum exhibits coming after him. As wax figures, skeletons and other displays magically came to life, Larry had to fight to keep them all out of trouble.

who's evolvedAnd no one gave Larry more trouble than Dexter. Dexter is Larry’s nemesis from the get-go. Dexter is crafty. Dexter is mean-spirited. And Dexter . . . is a Capuchin monkey. Watching Larry go up against Dexter creates some of the funniest moments in the film.

When Larry proposes a truce, Dexter responds by smacking Larry on the head. Larry moves as if to strike back, but is restrained by a thoughtful reminder from his mentor (the animated statue of Teddy Roosevelt):

“Lawrence—who’s evolved?”

My friend Rebecca returns to this same question whenever her children are acting like Neanderthals. She asks herself, “Who’s evolved?” Obviously, the answer is, “I am.”

This little exercise helps keep her temper and actions in check. She is the adult. She is the parent. She has more maturity, more wisdom, more self-control—and more accountability. There’s a higher code of conduct at this end. Fully-evolved human beings are expected to walk upright.

But parental evolution is easier said than done.

Angry-monkey-7399791As a busy parent on the competitive cheer circuit, sometimes I feel like I’m caged inside a high-priced zoo. Road trips, late nights, bad meals and taut nerves can make even the most poised, disciplined athlete go positively ape.

At least, this is what happens to my child. She remains perfectly composed from beginning warm-ups until the final awards ceremony. Then the adrenaline wears off, blood sugar drops—and all civility disappears.  Total regression.

At our last competition, the change was in fact so dramatic that one of her teammates remarked, “Liz—have a Snickers®. You’re not yourself when you’re hungry.” By the time we finally got some food in front of her, she had deteriorated from merely impatient and irritable to irrational, angry and downright hostile.

Sometimes I think the greatest act of parental heroism is “to bear with [our children] in love” when those children are behaving unbearably. It is a mark of our maturity, wisdom and self-control. It is what evolved people do.

I have to admit, the best I could manage on this particular day was self-control—and even that was mainly for the benefit of those around me. Every time my daughter lashed out at me, I wanted to smack her on the head—I was simply waiting for the right moment to strike. Not exactly wise, mature and loving.

The minute I got home, I greeted my husband with a shrieking, poo-flinging monkey rage: “You won’t believe what she said! You won’t believe what she did! If she thinks I’m going to give up my time and our money just to cart her all over the state so she can fall apart and make everyone miserable . . . I am not doing this. I am not training up my child this way.”

Who’s evolved?

Part of my rant was for Brent—the rest was for God. “Did you see? Did you hear? Now what? When You dropped us off at this particular zoo—surely this wasn’t what You had in mind. Let us out!”

My frustration was checked by this thoughtful reminder:

“Daughter, this is precisely what I intended. To give you every opportunity to teach your child how to confront and tame “the savage beast” within. For her to experience a love that endures all things—even a tired, cranky unbearable child at her absolute worst. To show her what it means to be raised up in Christ.

This is how I train up my children—and keep you evolving until you look just like Me.”

“Let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character.” Romans 5:3-4 (Amplified)

Now also put these things out of your life: anger, bad temper, doing or saying things to hurt others, and using evil words when you talk. You have begun to live the new life, in which you are being made new and are becoming like the One who made you. This new life brings you the true knowledge of God. Colossians 3:8, 10 (NCV)

You raise me up

Posted by: pamrichardswatts | February 19, 2015

Winter Warmth

Winter warmth

Two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? Ecclesiastes 4:11

I’ve never been a big fan of winter. There is little I find to recommend it. Maybe it’s because I spent most of my life in central Texas, where the seasons are referred to as “almost summer, summer, still summer—and Christmas.” My blood is just too thin for serious cold. I even turned down admission to Vanderbilt University—all because Tennessee in April was “too chilly.” I’m a regular little hothouse flower.

Recent cold weather reminds me of another harsh winter we endured a few years back. At night, temperatures routinely dropped below freezing. Even with the thermostat cranked up to 70 degrees, wearing flannel pajamas and huddled under my heaviest wool blanket, I couldn’t seem to get comfortable. Seeking the warmth I needed to fall asleep, I discovered a delightfully unexpected bonus. As soon as I was under the covers, the chill drove me straight into the arms of my warm-blooded husband. His body heat provided the comfort I needed.

However, this took some maneuvering. Since we sleep in an enormous king-sized bed, I had to work my way from my side all the way across the mattress to reach him.

As I snuggled into his welcoming embrace, I found the solid reality of his presence both physically and emotionally comforting. I slept better. I dreamt better. I woke rested and refreshed. It didn’t matter what happened during the day, or what might be waiting for me in the morning. In those precious nighttime hours, I had Brent close beside me. I could drift off to sleep in the assurance that I faced nothing alone.

I don’t take such security for granted. I recall the days when my husband traveled for a living, and I spent most nights alone. I think back to the months my sweet friend visited her husband in hospice care. She endured many nights of solitary slumber—with even more ahead. I try to remember to count my blessings at bedtime—especially the one sleeping peacefully beside me.

One particularly cold night, as I nestled contentedly beside my husband, I was grateful for this luxury even in my sleep. I found myself dreaming of another wife—one who had just lost her husband. I knew she would miss the kind of reassuring presence I currently enjoyed, and I mourned for her.

The next day I was stunned to learn that my uncle had passed away less than twenty-four hours earlier. It was my aunt who would now sleep alone. It was she who faced many lonely nights ahead. Awake, I grieved for her even more. I prayed that God would meet her every evening, wrap her in His comforting embrace and remind her that she was not alone.

I don’t much care for “winters of the spirit,” either. The cold and stillness of these seasons make me feel restless, lonely and completely out of my element. I was made for warmth. However, at such times, when I desperately need reassurance, I find relief in the arms of my Father. He reminds me that He has been and always will be with me. No matter what happened yesterday or what’s coming tomorrow, I face nothing alone. I get up and go forward, rested and refreshed.

For anyone enduring a particularly harsh winter, I invite you to come out of the cold. Reach out and seek the solid reality of God’s presence. Burrow deep into the comfort of His arms. Allow Him to wrap you in His embrace, and reassure you that you are never alone.

It’s time to get warm.

in_jesus_arms“His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me.” Song of Songs 2:6

“His huge outstretched arms protect you— under them you’re perfectly safe.” Psalm 91:4

“God, Your faithful love is so valuable that people take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.” Psalm 36:7

Posted by: pamrichardswatts | February 10, 2015

Performance Anxiety

Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

I once asked my pastor if he had spoken in public often enough to overcome the fear of public speaking. To which he butterflieswisely replied, “The butterflies in your stomach never really go away—you just train them to fly in formation.”

My youngest son is quite the performer. Given that he’s also a perfectionist, he gets anxious about performing well. He asks for prayer regularly that “the butterflies would fly in formation.”

Evan had one of those “high stakes” performance recently—UIL competition in Music Memory. He had practiced very hard and wanted to do well. Perfect, in fact. However, I was not on hand to lay hands on him that day—I was attending a women’s ministry event at our church. So I decided to be there in spirit instead. I set my phone alarm to go off just as his test began as a reminder to pray for him.

It “just so happened” that we had some trouble with our video broadcast that morning. Right as the big screen went blank, my phone screen lit up. It was time to pray for Evan.

In the quiet pause that followed, the church staff worked to resolve the technical difficulties, giving me just enough time to lift up Evan’s challenges in prayer:

“Lord, please give him a focused mind, clear recall and a peaceful spirit. He has worked so hard for this—help him do his best.”

At the awards ceremony that afternoon, Brent and I held our breath as Music Memory results came in. We were quite surprised. Sixth place? (We later learned this was because five students had tied for first.)

However, we were even more surprised by Evan’s reaction. Even though he missed the perfect score—by just one point—he was perfectly content. He smiled and celebrated with his teammates, confident he had done his very best.

Ever noticed that prayer has a way of bringing its own surprising results? Here I had asked God to give Evan peace so that he could perform well. Instead, God gave him peace no matter how he performed.

That kind of peace . . . completely surpassed my understanding.

How perfect.

Music Memory

He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord. Isaiah 26:3 (TLB)

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