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Dreaming of Victory
Photo: Melodi T
The judge was holding up No. 118, my number. I raised my arm to indicate my readiness and the judge nodded. Taking my place on the square mat, I began my routine. My cartwheel aerials were the best I’d ever done; my double back flip wasn’t as high as I’d have liked. The music ended and the crowd applauded enthusiastically, and I was … the yelling brought me out of my day dream.

“Joelle, for the 10th time, get your feet together at the top of your round-off!”

Regina was yelling again at my daughter. I wasn’t winning a gymnastic competition – only sitting in a cold, dimly lit warehouse filled with gymnastic equipment and sweating kids, one of which was mine. Sure I wanted perfection for Joelle, but I wanted it to come easily and gently and not from the torturous drilling of a powerfully built P.E. major from Penn State.

After class, as we rushed to get in the car, Regina stopped me. We hadn’t really talked much in the past. She knew Joelle attended a church-run school, but her only comment was, “church school? The only thing they want in church is your money!” I had never mentioned church again.

Regina held in her hand a brochure that had been sent to thousands in the city inviting them to attend a prophecy crusade at my church. I was part of the music team and she recognized my picture. “Yeah, that’s me,” I said. “Terrible picture.”

“What are the meetings about?” she asked. “Well, they’re really heavy. Most people have a lot of trouble interpreting Daniel and Revelation and that’s what the main subject is. The one plus is that the speaker uses the Bible and backs it up with history to prove all of his teaching.” There. Finally, something positive came out of my mouth.

It Would Take a Miracle

Regina stood there holding the brochure and studying my picture and the list of topics. I rushed the kids out to the car, thinking the whole way that if she got interested, it would take a miracle and, besides, I would be responsible to make her feel welcome at my church and I just couldn’t stand one more responsibility.

Two weeks later, on a Sunday night, the lights came up after the first song and there was Regina. Of all things, she missed the first five meetings – the ones where they spoon-feed the message – and she showed up the night where the topic was the anti-Christ. I got enough courage to find her after the service and she was looking pretty depressed.

“I just came to hear you sing,” she said, “but I got a lot more than I bargained for.” Regina asked to borrow my Bible. 

My picture and my daughter’s relationship with Regina brought her to those meetings – God did the rest. Regina accepted Jesus, became a member of my church and one of my best friends. The refining that took place in her life was nothing short of a miracle and what happened in mine was pretty miraculous, too. I was certainly an unwilling vessel to show the love of Jesus, and yet I learned firsthand that my influence in the little things in life can have an eternal consequence for someone else.

Matthew 5:14, 16 says, "You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven."

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By Dee Reed. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE ®.

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