This is a story about a wall. Simple enough, right? They have been pretty crucial over the years to modern civilization. You're already bored. Okay, don't click away yet. There is one in particular I'm talking about. It was a life changer.
But a little background information is necessary first.
This story starts at a Christian camp called Centrifuge in the summer of 2004. I was about to enter my senior year of high school and was pretty sure I had life figured out; cause we all do at that age, right?! *rolls eyes* Anyways, I had been to this camp the year before and it totally changed my relationship with the Lord. I learned the difference between calling myself a Christian and actually living my life with Jesus, seeking His will for my life and living accordingly. Big difference.
I was very excited to go back. Super duper tee totally excited!! I had good reason- lots of really fun stuff happened. I got to participate in a mullet drawing contest and won!!! (So if you ever need someone to draw a mullet onto poster board blindfolded I'm your girl!) My prize was a trucker hat. Oh yes. Rocked it. All of us students were split into groups and each group had a name that corresponded with that year's theme. The theme was 'Driven' and we were "Legends". I thought it was pretty cool. I thought my leader was pretty awesome too. She was motivated, energetic, and encouraging. She was even more so when it came time for team building.
You see, team building was fun. I enjoyed working with the people in my group, accomplishing tasks and winning points and whatnot. Until that dang wall. It looked something like this:
I don't know what made them think my wide hips and thick arms meant strong, but it was too late to run. They would have caught up to me anyway. I don't run fast. Or at all really. Moving on. As I made my way to the wall, I gave my peers a look that said "PLEASE IF THERE IS A KIND BONE IN YOUR BODY HIDE ME AND MAKE HER NOT MAKE ME DO THIS PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE". It was no use. They boosted me up. The guys up top took my arms as I hooked my hands onto the top of the wall. And then I hung there. The guys holding me were yelling "Pull yourself up! Pull yourself up! Pull yourself up! You can do it!" while I was screaming "I HAVE NO UPPER BODY STRENGTH! I HAVE NO UPPER BODY STRENGTH!!!!". Please laugh. I laugh now when I think about this part because if Hollywood ever made a story about my life, this would have to be one of the funniest parts!
So I'm hanging on this wall like a dead hog, looking at these two guys who I know are going to need to see a chiropractor when it's over with, and then they begin yelling "Throw your leg up! Throw your leg up!" Have you seen my legs? They are stubs with feet attached. At this point the humiliation I so feared set in and I became angry. Angry at my leader- why did she make me do this? Did she get some kind of sick pleasure out of seeing the chubby girl with obviously no self esteem struggle? Angry at God- What, Lord?! Why?! What could I have possibly done to deserve this public shame of having my derriere out there for the whole Christian camp to gawk at (mind you, all 1,000 something kids are out here at the same time at different stations in this huge area). Angry at the boys holding on to me- Why can't you dimwits just yank me over this thing and be done?!?! And angry at myself- Why didn't you keep up with sports? Why didn't you keep working out? Why can't you be as small as all of your sisters? And then I began yelling again.
"DROP ME!! JUST DROP ME!! IT'S OKAY! DROP ME!" I wanted no more of this. They could just drop me and be done with it. I would go sulk in silence and accept my defeat. Then my leader got involved again. She absolutely would not let them drop me (they weren't going to anyway, they were sweet guys, but come on- they had to have been tired by this point). I was humiliated, angry, on the verge of tears, screams, and giving up. I felt so incredibly full of shame.
I don't remember how it happened, but I somehow got one of my feet to catch the top of the wall. That was the leverage I needed and I gave one last push while the guys gave one last pull. I will never forget the feeling I had when I (quite literally) rolled over the top of that wall and collapsed on the planks of the platform on the other side. The next words I heard were from my leader:
"Get up and cheer. Get up and celebrate. Look how many people are cheering you on!"
At first I mumbled "no", but then the last part caught my ear. What?! Slowly I peered over the wall and saw every. single. person. in that place had crowded around that stupid wall. Hundreds and hundreds of people celebrating the single most humiliating experience of my life. And I smiled. I cheered. I hooped and hollered, tears pouring down my face. I saw my friends from my youth group that had come here with me, I saw the guy I was crushing on, I saw my sister (who says she pretended not to know me- haha! Can't blame her!) and so many others clapping and cheering for me.
It didn't end there. I went on to help two more heavy people have their moments of struggle and frustration and embarrassment, but every single member of our group made it over that wall. And you know what? We won the spirit award that day!
Have you ever had moments like that? Where you are so mad at the universe, at God, at people in your life, at yourself? Stuck in the middle of a humiliating life situation, wanting to just scream at the sky "JUST DROP ME! I GIVE UP!!!" It's amazing how God can take that pain and turn it into the sweetest victory. If you haven't ever let Him in, you should. Even if it's just once. It will rock your world.
It's no wonder that when the movie "Facing the Giants" came out and I watched it for the first time, I was brought to my knees during this scene:
Seriously, y'all. I cried the ugliest, loudest, snottiest sobs I have pretty much ever let out. I could not think of a more perfect illustration of the way God pursues, encourages, and allows us to face trials and the uncertainties this life brings. He is there the entire time; sometimes screaming, sometimes whispering in His still, small voice- "Don't quit! Don't quit! Don't you dare quit!"
No matter what life brings your way, come Hell or high water, do. not. quit.
Sweet victory is waiting.