I love seeing other people passionately pursue their hopes and dreams.
Especially when they’re doing so in the name of love.
Last week, I drove up to Santa Barbara to go to the Kelsea Ballerini concert by myself. My friend was originally supposed to go with me, but life happens, and she wasn’t able to. I’ve gone to concerts by myself, so it wasn’t that big of a deal—and at least I knew beforehand that I was going solo (I’ve been stood up at two different concerts)—but I still might have had a small pity party for myself. I mean, it was slightly depressing to see most people there with their friends or boyfriends or moms or dads or even grandparents (I sat next to Joyce, who was there with her husband and their two granddaughters).
The concert was at a pretty small venue, and my seat was a lot closer than I thought. Right after the opening act, the security guys were talking in a little huddle, and then a woman and her daughter, who was in a wheelchair, were relocated to the aisle right next to me because they couldn’t see a thing from where their seats were. The mom, Sarah, had made a sign for her daughter, Shelby, to hold saying that it was Shelby’s first concert and that she loves Kelsea. Sarah kept raising the sign during each song, hoping and hoping more strongly that Kelsea would see it.
At one point, KB was about to sing a somewhat slower song and was talking to the crowd a bit, even acknowledging some of the signs. Sarah was jumping up and down, and those of us around her were trying to get the singer’s attention, too. We were off to the side, so she didn’t see us. But then one of the security guys saw what was going on and let Sarah wheel Shelby to the front row. She took it even a step further and wheeled her all the way to right in front of Kelsea and started talking to her. Kelsea ignored the music behind her and listened intently to Sarah as Shelby met her hero.
When they came back to their spot, Shelby was over-the-moon excited! Sarah had mentioned to me before that her daughter often gets overlooked, but Sarah did everything she could that night to make sure that wasn’t the case. After the next song, Kelsea Ballerini gave sweet Shelby the jacket she wore for that number and then said over the microphone that she wanted them to stay after the show so that she could talk to them more. Shelby was clearly having the best night of her life, and Sarah was in tears. Many people around us were crying, as well. She is a mom who fights for her daughter and does everything she can to make her feel loved and valued.
It was absolutely one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to.
I love seeing love in action. I loved seeing Sarah love her daughter big enough to get an award-winning performer’s attention in the middle of her concert. I loved seeing Kelsea Ballerini love big enough to stop in the middle of her show and make a 13-year-old girl’s hopes come true. I love being reminded of how big God loves me by taking away my feelings of being alone by letting me witness such big love in such an unexpected place.
That’s the thing about big love—it’s real, and it’s powerful. It wouldn’t stand you up at a concert. It wouldn’t commit to going with you to one of your best friend’s wedding and then bail on you. It wouldn’t commit to going with you to your sister’s wedding and then bail on you. It doesn’t make you feel inadequate. Big, real love fights for you and lets you know that you’re enough.
Because, friend, you are enough.
I know that I may not have had things work out as I wished they would when it comes to the guys I’ve had feelings for, but I also know that I have a God who is on my side and who fights for me. Did I recently have a guy basically say “hard pass” when he found out I don’t drink? Sure. Is my heart still not completely mended from the guy who shattered it a while back after making me believe he really cared for me? Absolutely. And did the guy who gave me my first kiss years ago eventually make me cry? You bet he did.
But none of those things means there’s something wrong with me.
The nonprofit organization my friend Ashley and I are working on is meant to spark boldness in young women to walk with confidence, and I need to model that every day, too—especially when it comes to how I view myself in terms of being able to be loved.
I hope that you fight for love. I hope that you see big love in action. I hope that you let yourself love in big ways.
And I hope that you always remember that you are worth fighting for and worthy of big love.