Seven Words and a Wrestling Mat

I believe in you.

Those were not the words I expected.

Moments earlier, I poured out my complaint to a friend via text. Fingers tapped an unrestrained confession of feeling helpless, overwhelmed, and ill-equipped. I questioned my ability to accomplish all I had dreamed and earnestly worked for. It was a fleeting moment of disbelief and I called on a friend to help me sort it out.

I held the phone and gazed at her reply in silent disbelief.

I believe in you.

She didn’t encourage me to slow down or ask if I had taken on too much. She didn’t tell me to make a list and prioritize tasks. She didn’t offer words which mirrored my dark, internal thoughts… “Perhaps you should give up.”

I believe in  you.

Those are wrestling words, I thought.
Then came the second blow. Three additional words and I was on the mat.

You inspire me.

That was it. The conversation was over. We shifted to ballet recitals and weekend plans, but the seven words and the wrestling mat remained.

I knew exactly what she was doing. I had pulled this “Love and Logic” parenting trick many times and watched my children cringe at the words, “I know you will make the right choice.” My daughters typically responded with frustration, “Mom, I hate it when you do that!” and stomped off to make the right choice.

My friend believed in me. As I wrestled with her seven words of encouragement, I remembered that I believed in myself.  I didn’t want to give up. I just needed reminding that I could do this, with God’s help.

And so, I offer the same seven words and a wrestling mat to you.

For my daughter, Gabrielle, who started ballet 8 years late but wants to go en pointe…
     Keep your ballet shoes on. I believe in you. You inspire me.

For my daughter, Rachel, who dreams of becoming a nurse…
     Enroll. I believe in you. You inspire me.

For my husband, Jeff, who continually seeks Gods’ will…
     Keep your eyes on Him. I believe in you. You inspire me.

For my writer friends, who face constant rejection in the submission process…
     Keep submitting. I believe in you. You inspire me. 

For the single mothers I work with, who live in a world of exhaustion and worry….
     Don’t give up. I believe in you. You inspire me.

For the Korean woman I just met, who is asking God what comes after retirement…
     Keep asking and searching. I believe in you. You inspire me.

For my mother, who gave me her love for words…
     Keep writing. I believe in you. You inspire me.

For my readers, whose stories I do not yet know…
     Your longings are not hidden from God. I believe in you. You inspire me.

For the young writers I mentor…
     Your words are valuable. Keep writing. I believe in you. You inspire me.

For my family and friends, whose stories and struggles I hold dear…
     I know you. I believe in you. You inspire me.

And finally, for my dear friend who gave me seven words and a wrestling mat…
     You are loved. I believe in you, too. You inspire me.


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4 thoughts on “Seven Words and a Wrestling Mat

    • It blesses me to know that, Tracey. We have quite a writing community, don’t we? Let’s spur one another on. If we share in the struggle, we earn the right to share in the joy. Happy writing!

  1. Michelle,
    Your words are so calming and encouraging. You Inspire me!! It’s awesome to see what you’re doing and how many people YOU inspire. God Bless.

  2. Michelle, you are inspiring. What incredible things you’ve done in the past few years. Clearly God is working through you.

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