When Bill married me, I only weighed a hundred and eighteen pounds and was lean and strong–feather weight in the world of boxing. His Uncle Danny used to say, “Billy, tell your little wife not to hit me so hard.” We joked about it, and Bill seemed proud. He even said, “I don’t think you know your own strength, Shelia. Your muscles are as hard as a man’s”. I didn’t really like that.
And in this Corner . . .
Once we were visiting friends and they had a set of real boxing gloves. Those things are very heavy. Bill and I were goofing off in their front yard and they coaxed me into a play fight with Bill. Of course, taller, and stronger, he quickly got the upper hand. He put his big paw on my head like you see in cartoons and held me at a distance while I swung at the air. Everyone laughed. Those gloves were so heavy I could barely lift them. Gravity kept dragging my swing down. Bill bopped me lightly on the head, bounced back on the balls of his feet, giving me time to catch my breath, then he would spring forward and bop me on top of the head again. And again, and again.
I was ready to throw in the towel before the famous “first bell”. I tried to get those heavy things off my hands and step away from Bill at the same time. It wasn’t easy. Finally, I gathered all my muster and swung up with both hands hoping to sling the boxing gloves off and push Bill back at the same time. But POW! I gave him a full swing uppercut right in the face. His eyes watered and he laughed. I threw the gloves onto the ground and ran across the street while everyone roared. Bill crossed the street after me and as he got near me, I shrieked. “Bill, your bleeding.”
and the winner is….
He swiped his nose on his sleeve and saw the bright red streak. He looked at me and grinned. He still had his gloves on, so I pinched his nose to stop the bleeding. Once the bleeding stopped, he draped his heavy gloved hand over my shoulders and rubbed his nasty face in my hair. Grossed out, I wrinkled my nose and tried to pull away, but he nuzzled my neck and we walked back across the street to our cheering friends. Someone raised my hand and declared me the winner. I didn’t feel like a winner. I told everyone how I‘d wanted to throw in the towel, to quit, but they gave me credit for the win anyway.
Its been a joke in our family for all these years and Bill swears I broke his nose that day. I guess my focus on getting those gloves off and stopping Bill’s repeated onslaught together with the upward swing and the momentum it gave the heavy gloves combined to give me the victory.
Bill had been right. I didn’t know my own strength. Sometimes we are too quick to give up. Sometimes focus is your strength to stay in for all fifty “rounds” and more. Even though we fumble and stumble and want to quit, God can turn it into a win. “Don’t box like one beating the air” I Cor. 9:26. Focus, don’t lose sight of the goal.
Don’t throw in the towel. You are stronger than you think.
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