It is indeed amazing how you can look back and clearly see that a single sentence — spoken or sung — has empowered your life’s trajectory.
I saved a note that was stuck to the windshield of my car just a few days ago. The anonymous writer had noticed my GODWNK license plate, and wrote, “Love your plate. Best book ever. Changed my life because it changed my attitude.” I’m now a grown man, author of multiple books, but that little Post-It note will be treasured for a long time.
The words of encouragement that you speak to others, or they speak to you, can be the wind beneath your wings for decades.
One of my favorite GODwink stories is that of Jonna Fitzgerald, who, as a 7-year-old, could consume hours parading across her front porch pretending to be Miss Texas. And, the day her mother took her to a concert by the reigning Miss Texas, the fiddle-playing Judy Mallett, was truly a day emblazoned into her memory.
As shy as she was, Jonna stood excitedly in a long line after the performance because Miss Texas had promised every child a 45-rpm record of her fiddling hit, “Orange Blossom Special.” As she waited, she imagined playing that special record during her own fantasy crowning on the front porch.
But when Jonna finally arrived to the front of the line, Miss Texas looked at her sadly and said, “I’m so sorry. I just gave away my last record.”
Jonna’s heart sank. She so wanted that record.
But, Miss Texas gave her something else, which proved even more valuable. Along with an autographed picture Judy Mallett said, “If you work hard, you too can become Miss Texas.”
Jonna took those words to heart. Yet, it would be a decade before she could look back and measure the power of a simple statement — uttered ever so casually by a heroine who had long forgotten the words that were spoken — but which had fueled years of hopes and dreams.
The words of Miss Texas caused Jonna to take up violin lessons. She practiced diligently. Twelve years later, she achieved her goal; she walked down the same runway as Judy Mallett, becoming the second fiddle-playing Miss Texas. And just like her heroine, her winning routine was “Orange Blossom Special.”
Jonna began a 12-month ceremonious journey, crisscrossing the Lone Star State, cutting ribbons, and endless performances as Miss Texas.
New bookings came in every day including one from a bank owner who asked Jonna to perform at a year-end banquet.
By the time December finally rolled around, Jonna was exhausted. She found that the role of Miss Texas had come with many behind-the-scenes stresses that she’d not envisioned. She felt like she was losing her way and began questioning whether she was serving God in her purpose in life.
God, I need a sign, she uttered in quiet frustration.
When Jonna arrived for her appearance at the bank’s annual banquet, the owner’s wife sadly revealed that her husband had died a few months earlier.
“But,” she said, “before he died, he insisted I give this to you. He wrapped it himself.”
Jonna opened the gift and was astonished! Inside was a 45-rpm record of “Orange Blossom Special” by Miss Texas, Judy Mallett.
“How could he have known?” she said to the woman, whose countenance was a look of slight confusion.
For Jonna, the treasured gift filled a vacancy since childhood, and rekindled the powerful words of encouragement that were spoken to her as a 7-yearold. Meanwhile, the extraordinary GODwink — from a man she’d never met — was a sign from above providing her with assurance that she was indeed right where she was supposed to be.
In that defining moment, Jonna Fitzgerald determined that God gives us gifts and words to stimulate our spirits, not always when we want them, but when we need them.
Jonna Fitzgerald went on to become the second runner-up to Miss America, subsequently a TV news anchor, and currently, Congressional District Director for Congressman Louie Gohmert.
This story appears in the book, Godwink Stories: A Devotional, by Squire Rushnell & Louise DuArt.