-My child will eat healthy, i.e., no McDonald’s junk food,
-My child will never have a pacifier,
-I will never allow my child to throw a huge temper tantrum in public, and
-I will sew all my child’s Halloween costumes
Now that I actually have children, McDonalds has turned into our second home; I feared that my child would start preschool with a pacifier; and we hold the record for the biggest tantrum in the history of the Riverchase Galleria. Therefore, I decided that I needed to sew a Halloween costume in order to avoid breaking all of my early parenting rules.
I also had an ulterior-motive for sewing a costume: the church fall festival costume contest. Have I mentioned that I am a very competitive person? Overly competitive people and costume contests usually do not mix well. But, if you are going to lose hours of sleep working on a costume, you might as well win, right?
I set my sights on making a monkey costume for my then three year old child. This costume was ultimately much harder and more time consuming than I could ever imagine. A veteran seamstress could have sewed all of the dresses in a large wedding party in the same amount of time that I needed to make this costume. However, I thought the time and effort would be worth it. If I won, I would taste the victory of feeling like the “Crafty Mom.” In the future, when I forgot to send lunch money or missed one of my child’s dentist appointments, I could think back to the Great Monkey Costume of 2000 and not feel like such a terrible mother.
As the contest started, my heart was beating hard. Even though Joshua refused to do the monkey head scratch or screech out “Eh, Eh, Ah, Ah, Oh!” like we practiced, he did a wonderful job. I also pulled out a secret weapon: bananas. My monkey had real bananas to carry in the contest. I bet that no other contestant would be carrying his own food source.
However, I have to admit that I was worried. When I arrived at the carnival, several people thought he was a cat instead of a monkey. This made my confidence waiver a little bit. Hello- does a cat carry bananas?!?! Several costumes in the contest appeared to be much better than mine, but my monkey had the biggest blue eyes and cutest red hair that you have ever seen. Who could resist a blue-eyed, red-headed monkey?
It came time to announce the winner. I was about to join a long list of esteemed Halloween crafters.
I held my breath as the judge said, “And the winner is……..
Everyone?!?! Surely, I did not hear that correctly.
Then the judge said the words that I will never forget, “All the costumes were so good, you are all winners.”
PU-LEASE! All winners? You have got to be kidding me.
I even had scripture to back up my disappointment.
1 Corinthians 9:24 (NAS) says, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize?”
“Only one receives the prize” was the portion of scripture that I quoted to the judge in order to convict him of his decision.
However, looking back on that section of Scripture years later, I realize that I was not looking at the real meaing of the passage. Reading 1 Corinthians 9:24 and 25 together reveals a different meaning than I orignally thought. The passage reads as follows:
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath but we an imperishable.”
I now realize that this verse is talking about an imperishable prize, certainly not winning the costume contest. I used the verse out of context when I quoted it to justify my disappointment in not being crowned “Crafty Mom of the Fall Festival.”
What kind of imperishable prize could you ever receive at a fall festival? As I think back to past fall festivals, I realize that I did receive a wonderful gift from a fall festival that is so much better than any contest prize. Several years ago, I ran into a childhood friend and his family at our church’s fall festival. I had not seen him in years. We talked a while, and I was very excited that he seemed interested in visiting our church. A week later, our church was sending out Faith Teams (a church visitation program) to visit the people who attended our fall festival and indicated that they did not have a church home. When I received my assignment of homes to visit, I discovered that I was assigned to visit my childhood friend. I was nervous as I traveled to his house. He knew the “old” Kelly. He knew me way before I was a Christian. What would he think of my visit?
Thankfully, the visit was wonderful. I asked him about his thoughts on how a person can go to Heaven. He indicated that he had been saved a few years earlier. What wonderful news! What a wonderful blessing to hear!
Two years ago, my friend died unexpectedly. As I sat at his funeral, I could not believe that I was at his funeral. The world had lost one amazing son, dad, brother and friend. I was heartbroken for his parents and children. At the same time, I was so thankful that I had the opportunity to talk to him about his relationship with the Lord. I know for sure that I will see him again one day in heaven.
I am so thankful for the imperishable blessings that the Lord brings into our lives. Why do we strive so hard for things on this earth that will not last? For example, the prize for the costume contest was a bag of candy. If I had won, that bag would have lasted five minutes at the most. I have to remind myself continually that we can not take things to heaven with us; we can only take other people. On this October 31st, please remember that candy and costumes will not last; however, people and our relationship with the Lord can be eternal. I pray that you will use this Halloween and the days ahead to show His love in real and imperishable ways.