(Part 4 of a 4-part series on The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz)

She took a marker and wrote on the whiteboard: JCU 68  ONU 61  00:00,  and then looked at her teammates.

“Every time you get discouraged, start to stress, or doubt that we are going to win this game, I want you to envision the message on this whiteboard.”

It was halftime, her JCU team down only five points to the #15 team in the country for D3, and the team captain was willing her squad of David’s to take down Goliath. Coming into the game, JCU’s record was 5-17, and ONU’s was 20-2, but this didn’t deter her from trying to manifest a win, which included a big and bold declaration of what she believed would be the final score when the scoreboard showed double zeros.

Up to this point of a long and grueling season, a young team made up of eight freshman, two sophomores, three juniors and one senior swallowed the bitter pill of losing on a regular basis. However, the record was not indicative of the talent. Inexperience got the best of them most days.

Don’t we feel like this as moms sometimes? That our parenting record is not always indicative of the capabilities God gives us? We doubt our instincts and hone in on our failures, forgetting God gave us children as loaners to raise and nurture because God knows we are worthy and up for the task.

Inexperience is bound to get the best of us as moms as well. We learn as we go—also part of God’s grand plan. Although a manual on raising kids sure would be nice. Despite scaling the walls of Amazon and taking a deep dive into the dark web, I still haven’t found one. Looks like God trusts us to to our best and lean into LOVE along the way.

And to do our best is the 4th and final agreement in Don Miguel’s The Four Agreements. As a wrap-up to the first three agreements, be impeccable with your words, don’t take things personally, and don’t make assumptions, the book encourages us to put our best foot forward in living out these contracts we make with ourselves.

Heavens to Betsy, what a relief! Especially in the mom gig. Because if I need to be perfecto in doling out the dictionary, or in recognizing not everything spins around my orbit (dang it!), or that assumptions make for ugly dinner guests, well then everyone around me I’m doomed. For the record, I have zero idea who Betsy is, but she must be a wise woman if the trajectory towards her is heavens away.

Doing our best sounds like an escape clause for winging it. Life, motherhood, eyeliner, everything. Or so a t-shirt says. But I agree with the maker of the shirt, and I’m all for the escape clause. We don’t have a blueprint for how life will unfold, which the Creator of the multiverse could have easily whipped up but didn’t. So, all we can control is how we’ll react. Some days, our best means our knees will jerk. On other days, we accept what is with prayer, patience, and persistence.



This is what the JCU women’s basketball team has done all year: accepting the losing as part of the journey. Learning from their mistakes and continuing to believe their time would come. If a perfect record was the only measure of the girls’ worth, disillusion and defeat would have surely settled deep in their hearts. But these amazing young women never gave up on themselves or each other.

The second half of the basketball game was a grind. A clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose mentality dictated play until the final buzzer sounded: JCU 68  ONU 66  00:00. Sweet Victory. The captain was spot on to the digit with her prediction in the win column–a leader who just happens to be my baby girl. Never mind that she’s 20.

The basketball team did their best all season, with little to show for the effort in the standings. But their tenacity to continue doing so resulted in a stunning upset, a magical slingshot moment where the underdog took down the giant. You can read all about it here.

My daughter willed her team to a triumph, just like God wills us to succeed as moms. You can do it, momma. Just believe. These are the whispers we need to carry around in our hearts.

Doing our best is good enough. Has to be. God says so. Let’s believe it.

Keep on keepin on, crazy Mommas!




[1] “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)

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Shelby is a Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach, Certified Meditation Teacher (CMT), author, freelance writer, speaker, and love enthusiast who is passionate about helping others ‘change the way they look at things so the things they look at change.’ She has numerous stories featured in the national publication, Guideposts. She also has over 160 featured articles at online publications, including Her View From Home, Scary Mommy, Parenting Teens & Tweens, For Every Mom, Love What Matters, and Today. Her book, How Are You Feeling, Momma? (You don’t need to say, “I’m fine.”), co-authored with her dear friend, Lisa Leshaw, recently won the 2020 Publisher’s Weekly Book Life Prize as the finalist in the Inspirational/Spiritual category.