Commentary By Ashley McCleery

The North Jefferson News




When I was in high school, I participated in Junior Miss. Don’t roll your eyes. I know what you’re thinking, but it’s not a beauty pageant. It’s a scholarship program. Wow, that sounds like I quoted Miss Congeniality, but really it isn’t a pageant.

Junior Miss is a scholarship program for high school juniors, hence the name Junior Miss.

And, the score is divided into five categories: scholastics (20 percent), interview (25 percent), talent (25 percent), fitness (15 percent) and poise (15 percent).

And the fitness is not prancing around a bathing suit small enough to fit a Malibu Barbie. Instead, it’s an actual fitness routine with sit-ups, push-ups, karate kicks and jumps. If you please stick with me, I’m going to make a valid point soon, I promise.

Shocked beyond all belief, I won my school’s Junior Miss and was able to advance to Tennessee’s Junior Miss. During the poise section of the program, I was asked a question that will always resonate throughout my life: What does faith mean to you?

I remember being shocked about how simple this question was and yet so hard to actually define — to put tangible words to a very intangible thing. Faith is … what? Faith is believing in the unseen … yes, but it means more to me than that.

After racking my brain, the Lord provided an answer that I still think about almost every day. I said, “Faith is like a blind man who trusts his dog to be his eyes and lead him to his destination. I am walking blindly in life, letting God be my guide, trusting him to lead me throughout my life.”

Each day I try to surrender my ideas and plans for my life by closing my eyes and trusting that God will guide me around any cracks or bumps in the road and direct me safely home.

Although I’ve enjoyed my time at The North Jefferson News, the Lord has provided an opportunity to work at my church in Birmingham. And, I am going to blindly follow him, knowing that he sees and understands far more than I can or ever will.

So, next week will be my last week here at the paper. I’m excited about the journey that lies ahead, but I’m thankful for the experiences I’ve had while in north Jefferson County. Although my time here was short, I have learned more than I can write.

See, I told you I was going to make a valid point.

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