When I was a kid in elementary school, I started watching a series called The Amazing Race. I loved analyzing every task and making decisions based on the clues as if I was running the race myself. I loved the element of mystery as competitors found out your next destination when you read your clue.
I became even more mesmerized when I witnessed a father-daughter duo competing. As a child I thought, “One day, I am going to do the Amazing Race with my dad.”
A Dream Later Realized
The Amazing Race. I wrote it on my childhood dream list.
Then, life happened. I went to high school, moved to Australia and met the most handsome man on the planet, went to university, began a career, got married, and started a family. A beautiful husband, our beautiful girls, a great relationship with my parents and brothers, surrounded by a few good friends… I felt like this is what my childhood dreams were made of.
One day, in God’s perfect timing, I was reminded that one of my childhood dreams hadn’t yet been fulfilled. The wild one, the one that I said outrageously without inhibition, before I was aware of such a thing as comfort zone or fear or limitations: competing on The Amazing Race with my Dad. I saw an advertisement encouraging people to apply for the upcoming season and I thought, why not?
A Hope for Evangelization
I was fearless about applying but only because God had planted seeds in my heart through the previous Australian season. In that season, a team of religious sisters from the Missionaries of God’s Love were competing. During their time on the race, they were so bold in their faith and even once stopped their race to pray for healing over the de-militarized zone in between the border of South and North Korea. They did this knowing that a few seconds can cost them the whole race! Another team I loved were a husband and wife duo who reminded me that our children are a source of inspiration to reach greater heights and in turn we inspire them to dream big with the Lord!
So on the final day of submissions, I grabbed my camera and approached my dad.
“We are going to film an audition video for the Amazing Race” I told him, and pressed record.
Throughout the whole selection process, my dad was in disbelief. “I have better chances of winning the lottery than getting casted for the Amazing Race.”
As we progressed along the selection process, my Dad still remained unconvinced. “There are so many people being interviewed for the season, let’s just go for the ride.”
Until one day, we were sitting in front of the executive producers of the show via Zoom. This was when we realized how close we actually were.
Hope in the Wait
I had been praying for my childhood dream to come true. But when a few weeks passed after the final interviews and we hadn’t heard from the casting team, my prayer changed to, “Lord, if this is not Your will, please remove the desire from my heart. I do not want to be heartbroken. Please give me the grace to accept that whatever is on the other side of this as part of your plan.”
The day after that prayer, I got a phone call from the casting team. “A team is no longer able to compete in the race. Are you and your dad still available?”
It felt like the Lord was ensuring that my intentions were aligned with His. Not that He needed the clarity, but I did.
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And We’re Off
When I left home, I said goodbye to my husband and children with an unshakeable sense of peace. This is how I knew that the journey we were about to embark on was God’s plan for my life. This sense of peace was a reassurance that God had His hand over this very season. This peace—the peace that I often misplace as I go about my daily life—was so profound that it could only be pointed to the Lord and His peace that surpasses all understanding.
In our first leg of the race, Dad and I were in danger of elimination. Serving a penalty on the mat isn’t usually positive in The Amazing Race context but our Faith teaches us to wait not in desperation but in hope. Trusting that whether we went home that day or got to keep racing, God has a plan on the other side of it. Thankfully our journey wasn’t finished yet.
Racing for Opportunities
Throughout the race, we prayed for opportunities to shine God’s light, to have opportunities to be counter-cultural in a competition by helping others, and for the grace to hold on to our virtues especially when the competition got tough. Dad and I loved praying the Litany of Trust, together and sometimes individually. Looking back now, I can truly say that our strongest days racing were the ones we began holding hands in prayer and ended with thanksgiving to the Lord.
As the race progressed and competition got tougher, it became difficult to get further when our intention was to remain true to our virtues and abiding by the race rules.
One sunny day on a beach in beautiful Queensland Australia, we were the last team to check in and we were eliminated from the race. It was bittersweet as I realized that my childhood dream came to an end but my grown up dream of a family with my husband is waiting for me to come home.
A Final Consolation
As a reassurance from God that this season of my life and the way the race unfolded was a part of His plan, the doors of our final hotel opened to face beautiful doors of a Catholic cathedral. We were in the state of Queensland, very far from our home state of Victoria and also far away from the restrictions and church lockdown that was brought by the pandemic.
The day before I went home to my family and the lockdown that awaited in my home state, I was able to meet Jesus in Reconciliation and Eucharist in person. My dad and I received Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time in six months, and that may have been just the most extravagant consolation for my then-wounded heart.
What followed were a few long months of grieving the end of our race journey and processing the shift in my life. Competing in the race was the final fulfillment of all my childhood dreams. Finishing my time on the race it was like fully closing the childhood chapters in my book of life and now with thanksgiving, I get to fully step into what the Lord has planned for me in adulthood.
Nothing is Too Marvelous for the Lord
The Lord is so extravagant. His plans for us are so great and nothing is too marvelous for Him! He remembers the details—even childhood dreams that we forget as adults.
What are your childhood dreams? Bring them to the Lord once again today!
Jobelle Collier and her husband, Alan, are raising two girls in country Victoria, Australia. Together, they seek to grow in God’s call to a life lived to the full. In 2020, Jobelle got to live out her childhood dream of competing in the Amazing Race with her dad.