A story for Father's Day

I don't tell a lot of stories about my dad. I love my dad a ton, but honestly, it's my mom that I call all the time. This past weekend, we stayed with my mom's only brother & his family. My husband, who always claimed my out-going personality was my father, changed his mind. "Your uncle is just like you! I see it now -- you two are an extroverted version of your mother!"

So some times, I forget to give my dad a lot of credit.

If you don't know this about me, I hate tests. I have major test anxiety. Give me an essay question about anything -- a subject I know nothing about -- and I'll ace it. Make me fill in bubbles, and well... I freeze up.

When I took my ACT for the first time in high school, I got a crap score. I was a straight-A student, and I never did poorly on anything. My teachers loved me. I played 3 musical instruments. Clearly, something went terribly wrong. I was devastated and embarrassed.

My father saw my score, and very compassionately sat down and said, "What went wrong?"
I had no answer. I couldn't explain what went wrong. My dad figured it out in a heartbeat.
"You were nervous, weren't you? You didn't understand what the questions were asking, did you?" There was no judgment.  No disappointment. In many ways, I took it harder than he did.

I had already given up. The score that I received wrote off any chance I had for being considered for my first-choice colleges. I felt like such a failure, and I certainly didn't think I could do any better.

My dad went out and researched the best prep-books out there. He went out and purchased the best prep-book out there. He offered to go over it with me, but he didn't have to -- I was smart enough to teach myself test prep, and I proceeded to devour the workbook. I then re-took the test and got a fantastic score.

We get thrown a lot of curveballs in life. We have things that we look at a lot like I did that first ACT test -- "what are they even asking?!", followed by "it's over. I'm stuck". It's easy for anxiety and stress to creep in and make our minds and hearts useless.

What did I learn from my dad? Don't give up. Push through that -- count to five, ditch the panic, and start reacting.  If all your options are a crap shoot, find a way to make more options. Work hard. Have faith. Find compassion and kindness for those around you who are hurting or have already given up... and find a way to help them cope and recover. If your first try at it doesn't work, don't write off the whole thing or accept a poor outcome. We are always extended far more grace then we can ever imagine. That grace can change our outcome in a way much, much deeper than a test score.

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
Romans 2:4, NASB, emphasis mine

We are not a people who have received fear, bad luck or punishment. We are a people who can choose to find grace, forgiveness and love. I'm grateful, as we approach this father's day, that my dad taught me that lesson.

I just hope I can learn how to live it out everyday. 


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