Fall is (finally) in the air which means Homecoming is here.  Mums, cheerleaders, dates, queens, pep-rallies and Friday night lights!  In Texas, Homecoming is serious and seriously fun!  For those of us who graduated a few years (time really does fly by) ago from our high school alma mater, Homecoming is a time to revisit the place that prepared us for the world.  We remember our friends that accepted us in our awkward teen years and still hold our secrets close.   We remember our teachers who put up with our short attention spans and attitudes.  We remember our communities that kept a close watch on our comings and goings always ready to call our parents to give them an update on our activity. We remember our families that cheered for us from kindergarten through high school.

This Homecoming, I am especially mindful of Coach Grace.  Tommy Grace was my basketball and track coach in high school.  He taught me how to keep my cheeks relaxed and my arms at a ninety degree angle while running.  I still think about him when I go running.  He greatly influenced my prayer life because I used to pray hard for rain all day during school.  If it rained, track practice was canceled.  His workouts were tough.  Many days I would run for him and then run right under the stands to be sick before I had to run some more.  I had good reasons to pray hard!  His gentle nature and tough workouts were life lessons for me.  Even when things get tough, you can still run a little more and make it to the finish line.

On his basketball team, I was the benchwarmer.  I loved my role.  While my team played on the court, I would practice my latest dance routine in my mind until I heard, “Remington…you’re in…we are running ‘blue’.”  He always said it at the same time every quarter…when there were five seconds left.  I would run on the basketball court trying to remember what “blue” meant and play my five seconds on the court.  I was amazing…hahaha!  Coach Grace was amazing!  With a name like “Grace”, he had to be amazing.  God used him every day to guide us into better people.  No matter how I ran or how I played he treated me with respect, love and grace. Today, no matter how the people around me play the game, I treat them with respect, love and grace.

This Homecoming season, go buy yourself a HUGE mum or garter!!  Grab a date and head to the game. While you are there, give thanks for the people that helped you to grow into the person you are today.  Our coaches, teachers, parents and friends are really God’s angels.  They are placed around us to give us guidance, encouragement, dreams and forgiveness when we simply messed up. Their fingerprints are all over our lives.

 Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.  1 Thessalonians 5:11

From our Happy Homecoming Tent to yours,

Meredith Bell

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