Remember Jennifer Hudson? She started out on American Idol, and I fell in love with her the week she sang “Weekend In New England”, by Barry Manilow (of whom I am ALSO a big fan!). Her voice, her control, and her heart won me over in about two minutes! And I was devastated when she was cut before she made the final five contestants. Devastated!
But then, roughly two years later, she made me sob in her performance in Dreamgirls. Sob. Out loud. Do you get that I’m a fan yet, people????
She went on to win an Academy Award for that role! That day, I thought that my underdog had really won out in the end. But we were just getting warmed up…..
Later that same year her mother, brother, and seven year-old nephew were brutally murdered. Jennifer didn’t do too much singing after that.
The following year, I found myself right in front of the TV for the Super Bowl. Not because I’m deeply in love with football….but because Jennifer Hudson was returning to singing by performing the national anthem! She came out, looking sadder than I had seen her last, looking less sure of herself than I had seen her last.
But as soon as she opened her mouth, that AMAZING voice was back! I kept trying to see things from her perspective…going back out to do what I came to do before my heart was torn out of me. Getting back to doing what I was always meant to do. And trying not to break down in front of millions of people because this was soo difficult.
Well, I sobbed uncontrollably from the time she started until the very last note. It was the BEST underdog moment I’ve ever seen!!!!
Sometimes painful or traumatic circumstances happen to us, threatening to take what we know we are called and led to do…to be. And we have a choice to freeze, or fight.
Three weeks after having a massive stroke that nearly killed me, I was at a similar kind of crossroads. “I know it’s early, and people would totally understand if I’m not ready to play my horn again. And I know I’m never going to sound the same, sound as good…maybe not even good at all. But if I don’t do it now, I may never have the guts to try again.” It’s scary…going back out to take possession of something you thought you might have lost. Very underdog-ish!
But in some situations, we are called to have courage! To continue to fight! If you are leading a small group or you’re a pastor, a teacher, a spouse, a parent, or a friend, and you’ve majorly screwed it up, or it’s been screwed up despite all you tried to do, have courage to ask for another chance. Don’t walk away without one last shot!
I don’t want to be remembered for all the strokes I’ve had, or all the times I’ve been counted out. But I DO want to be remembered for being one who couldn’t be stopped because of all those things, but moved forward in SPITE of those things! Have courage!!!
“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.”