A beautiful gift from my pageant family during competition week!
A gift from good friends during competition week! (Oh and when you press the button they scream "Dream Big!")
A gift from my mom before the pageant this year.
So if that isn't proof enough of the theme...
Preparing for competition this year looked a little different than it had in years past. It was infinitely more emotional. I truly only had about 2 months to prepare for the stage competition. I spent the majority of my year in a 3rd world country without focusing too much on the pageant. And to really drive home the point, I didn't actually want to compete in the prelim I won back at the end of last year. I know. Now you're really confused, but let me explain. When it was time for me to compete in Miss Lights of the Delta last year, I had already made the decision to go to Uganda. In my mind, that was where my future was headed. There's more to the story, but for now just know that I was sure of my calling to go to Uganda and I was unsure if Miss Arkansas still had a place in my life. But at the encouragement of my mother, who knows me better sometimes than I know myself, I competed.
Through a lot of prayer both before and during my trip, the Lord blessed me with the gift of being absolutely sure that He had a plan for my life and that plan did include the 2012 Miss Arkansas Pageant. So let's fast forward to competition week. Lots of my thoughts leading up to the week you can read on this blog. But here is a look into what the week turned out to be.
1. An opportunity for new and stronger friendships built with many of the girls.
At rehearsal with a phenomenal friend, Simone Mullinax!
2. A chance to share a little part of one of my favorite places in the whole world. I gave each contestant a paper bead necklace that was made by widows in a village in Uganda. Really wish I had a picture of Rozz with them on her head in true hippie fashion, but Brooke Ault takes a gorgeous photo, too!
3. A realization that I wasn't there for what I thought I was there for.
Announcement of our 75th Miss Arkansas, Sloane Roberts.
So back to the theme. I really think that God was trying to tell me something throughout the whole week, "Dream Big!" For me, I was dreaming of becoming Miss Arkansas. I arrived in Hot Springs with one goal in mind and that was the crown. But I realize now after coming home and sifting through the joys and the pains, the good things and the dissappointments, (not to mention all those gifts) that God wants me to dream a little bigger. Before someone takes this the wrong way, let me just say that the dream of Miss Arkansas is huge and it was an HONOR to compete with Sloane Roberts. She is a phenomenal young woman who will not just represent Arkansas well, but she will represent the other 46 of us beautifully. It is a joy for me to support Sloane in all that she does. I'm glad that her dream was realized on Saturday night.
What exactly do I mean by dreaming bigger? Well, I've been rather limited in what I've allowed my future to look like. I thought that the title and the job of Miss Arkansas was dreaming as big as I could, but now I see that I need to push that envelope a little bit. There are some things that I dreamt about while in Uganda, things I think that the Lord means for me to do. I won't pretend to know exactly what they are, but I can tell you that there is one thing that I'm almost afraid to say that I want to do because it is so big and so out there that it seems entirely impossible. Maybe I'll be brave enough to tell you more soon, but for now what you need to know is that I'm learning that I serve the one true God and that He is the God of imPossible!
He said to them, "Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move, and NOTHING will be impossible for you." -Matthew 17:20
I listened to a podcast here a while back that said the last line of that verse could also be read "ANYTHING will be possible for you." Isn't that amazing? I mean WOW! The God of the universe says that if we have faith anything will be possible for us. In the coming weeks and months I hope to be learning more about what it means to believe for the impossible and dream bigger dreams than ever before. And the last thing I want to say to you is