As a ten-year-old kid, I was an avid collector. My bedroom closet was full of things I had found, which included animal skulls, empty bottles, various insects pinned to a Styrofoam board, and every Star Wars trading card they ever made. I was proud of my collections and added to them whenever I got the chance. I knew my playthings were different from other girls my age who had closets full of dolls and stuffed animals, but having tea parties wasn’t in my realm of interest…being a scientist or pioneer was.
One rainy day when I was trapped inside, I found that my trading cards were great for building massive card houses. I spent hours meticulously stacking each one up to build a paper empire. The thick rough edges made the cards much better building blocks for strong, sturdy structures than the slick Bicycle playing cards I had tried previously. My fortress was as high as I could reach while standing on my toes and it covered the span of the floor in my playroom. I even set up action figures like GI Joe, the Bionic Woman, and the Lone Ranger around the perimeter to guard it from enemies…like my little brother.
Growing up I was often made fun of for being a rambunctious kid that couldn’t sit still or obey very well. I even overheard my second grade teacher complaining to others about how difficult I was. And whenever I felt intimidated or hurt, I felt provoked to fight, rather than flight. But my response always created even more trouble for me.
When I was in sixth grade, there were two older boys who often waited by my bus stop for me and my little brother to get home from school. They were a lot bigger than us, and as mean as rabid pit bulls. They rode their bikes in circles around us and called us names while we walked home every day. It didn’t bother me to be called names because I could hurl flaming insults right back with the best of them. But when they started getting physical a vicious fire rumbled inside of me that spawned an evil spirit of revenge in me, so I devised a plan to retaliate.
Twenty years ago I was the poorest I’ve ever been in my life. I was also pregnant and unmarried. And to make matters even harder, my doctor ordered me on 24/7 bed rest because of a dangerous health condition that threatened the life of my unborn son. So, I went from dirt poor to beyond destitute at the worst possible time. I lived off of food stamps, Medicaid and welfare during that time and the $200 a month handout I received literally kept me alive for about a year. But it was during those challenges that I learned a lot about who God is, as well as four important life lessons about how to win.
Step 1: Trust God
When I became hungry enough, lonely enough, and broke enough, I finally cried out to God to save me. Trying real hard just wasn’t good enough…it was a matter of life or death. I needed the one who controlled the universe to move on my behalf. And when I finally put my life in His hands He provided for me in miraculous ways. From food and shelter to diapers and a crib, I was given everything I ever needed…and mostly from strangers I didn’t even know. I would not have survived without His intervention. Trusting Him was the most important decision of my life and the only way I accomplished the next steps in my journey.
Here’s a silly cartoon I made with friends about what can happen if we allow pride to ruin our lives.
Proverbs 16:18 – Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.