RC:  No, I entered many pageants.  My first pageant when I was 16 years old and I got third runnerup in a county fair queen pageant, you know, where you put the ribbons on the cows, you know, and the pigs, that pageant.  But I got third runnerup.

LR:  Start right at the top.

RC:  And I entered again and I got third runnerup again, second year in a row.  The first year I entered Miss Illinois National Teenager, I was so excited for this pageant, a whole weekend, you know, for that. And my father, I remember in the talent, I got my eyes off the Lord. I wasn’t centered on the Lord that weekend, and my father came over before I did my talent and said, “You know, have you prayed?”  “Yeah, yeah, I prayed,” you know.  It was just kind of like I was there and got caught up in all the pageant activity.  And I messed up my talent. I forgot eight measures of it and just stood there and smiled.  So that was the first year I entered.  I got in the top 15, but I knew I had failed the Lord.  I hadn’t done what He wanted me to.  took your eyes off of Him.

RC:  That’s right, that’s exactly right.  So when I entered the second year, my goal was to be a winner in the Lord, not to win the National Miss Illinois, but to keep Him first and to be a witness for Him at that pageant.  And when I went with that attitude, it wasn’t as much the competition, it was just the chance–we had prayer backstage with evening gowns, girls took hands and prayed, and I was, you know, “Who’s going to pray? Well, Rhonda, why don’t you pray?”  And we prayed before we went out on stage, and it was so exciting the change. And something, my Miss Illinois National Teenager director, Martha Smith, said was, “Everyone has a crown in their heart.”  It’s a crown that God has given us and we have to keep that polished.  It’s not the external crown.  I mean, we see the glory for the outside.  But it’s what we are inside, and that’s an encouragement to the teenagers especially, that you have a crown in your heart and you need to keep that polished.  Because it’s by actions, as we know. It’s not by our words.  But when the teenagers see a difference, they want to know. Then they want to know why.

© Copyright 2013 richard roberts, All rights Reserved. Written For: Richard Roberts