“Hi. Is this Madison? We were wondering if you were still interested in being on this next season of The Bachelor.”
I stepped off the treadmill. At first I thought they had the wrong Madison. I thought, “Wait! I didn’t apply for The Bachelor. How in the world did they get my informat—.” Then it hit me. The girls from my small group had applied me without telling me! “What do I say now?” I wanted to be respectful.
She spoke up again, “Hello? Madison, can you hear me?”
I quickly assured her, “Yes, I am still here! I just wasn’t expecting this at all. Can you email me some more details? I will think about it.”
Truth is, I did not intend to think about it. I already knew my answer to that question. Going on the show wouldn’t make sense for me. I immediately called my mom thinking she would agree with me that I should say no, but she insisted that I shouldn’t close the door without taking some time to think and pray about it. In the background I could hear my sister Mallory running around, screaming, “This is so cool! Madi, you have to do it!”
I tried not to think about it, but I couldn’t stop. The decision was constantly on my mind. I wanted to treat this opportunity like it wasn’t a big deal, but deep down inside I was freaking out and wanted to tell all my best friends about it! As I continued to pray about it, I had enough peace to at least begin the process.
Throughout the interview process, my family and I prayed about what I should do. We continued to receive peace at each step. I prayed day and night for months. I dedicated twenty-one days to prayer, with the intent of getting the answer I needed. I asked seven people—my closest friends, family, and mentors—to stand with me in prayer for direction, clarity, and wisdom on what to do. Throughout those twenty-one days, the peace, signs, and words God gave me left me without a doubt. I knew what I was supposed to do.
On day twenty-one of prayer, I broke down in tears. “God, I feel this is where you are leading me, but I’m scared. I’m terrified. I don’t know if I can do it.” As I finished praying, my pastor came up to me, and without knowing any details of what was truly going on and what I was praying for, he looked at me and said with confidence, “Whatever you are praying for, I just want you to know I am confident that you can do it and you have people around you who believe in you.” It was the exact affirmation I needed to hear in that moment. I felt a peace come over me that I will never be able to put into words. I knew in that moment that if they called to ask me to be an official contestant, I wouldn’t be confused, doubtful, or uncertain; I would know exactly how to respond: with a surprising yes.
Saying yes to The Bachelor, or rather saying yes to the unfamiliar and uncomfortable, didn’t come easily. Saying yes came from a place of trust and peace. I trusted that this was where God was leading me. And I was choosing to walk in courage, even though every voice around me (and even inside me) was fearful of what could happen.
Like the person who is “it” in a game of hide and seek, these defining moments in our lives call out to us, “Ready or not, here I come.” My guess is that your instinct is to yell back, “Not ready! Definitely not ready! Give me a minute to find a better hiding place.” This was what I wanted to say so badly, but God was leading me out into the wide open.
Maybe, like me, you have been called to step up to the plate or called to a task that you don’t feel fit for or good enough for. Maybe you have experienced so many disappointments that you fear to hope and dream again. Instead, you play it safe so that you don’t get hurt and you don’t hurt anyone else. Maybe you have been in a moment that demanded courage, but you didn’t rise up because you were too worried about what other people would think. I get it. I have been there too. And let me make it clear: I’m not perfect and don’t have all the answers, but I have learned courage through mistakes, failure, heartbreak, loss, pain, and a lot of pressure.
I’ve learned the power of preparation and the importance of the process. I’ve had to learn how to break free from my past to be able to step into my potential. I have had to step into the unknown, just trusting the peace I felt. I had to step into a situation that required courage, letting go of my personal dreams and expectations. But courage didn’t just come out of nowhere. It was built through years of failure, disappointments, and fears. It was built when no one was around.
I have learned that how you prepare in the private will determine how you perform in the public. In unseen moments, waiting moments, and painful moments, you are preparing for the moments that will shape the course of your life. This is where growth happens – hidden away from the spotlight. It’s in the long days of waiting that character is forged. It is in these moments when pain turns to strength and endurance.
Madison earned her Bachelor of Science in Communications from Auburn University in 2018 and earned her certificate in ministry in Pastoral Leadership through Highlands College in 2018. Madison started her career working as a Foster Parent Recruiter in Birmingham, Alabama in 2019, where she recruited and trained Foster Parents in the Foster Care System. In 2020, Madison was a finalist on Season 24 of ABC’s The Bachelor. After making it to the very end with the bachelor, they both agreed to go their separate ways a few days after the show ended. Madison has been involved in many outreach programs, including: Adullam House, Sozo Children, Orphanage Emmanuel, Haddie’s Home, Big House Foundation, LA Dream Center and Auburn Dream Center. Madison describes herself as extroverted, passionate, and strong. She thrives most when she is being challenged by others and when she is also able to challenge those around her. She travels nationally as a speaker and an author with a growing platform as a social media influencer.