To say the least, this year has not gone how I expected. When I moved back to Austin for the fall semester, I was on a mountain top with high hopes for the upcoming school year. I’d been playing the best volleyball of my life and was surrounded by people that were encouraging my spiritual growth. I quickly descended into the valley after landing on my setter’s foot in an extra practice session called by some of the team. A second degree high ankle sprain that threatened to keep me off the court for six weeks was the first of many trials I’d face as the year progressed.
Last night I found myself laying in bed talking to God about the past 10 months. I told Him about all the big plans I’d had for the year and He responded with Jeremiah 29:11.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”
The problem with my plans are in their very foundation. They were MY plans and not God’s – they were destined to fail from the get-go! Despite the court time I lost in volleyball and all the trials I’ve faced since, I know God has something greater than I can fathom in store for my life. I just have to take a backseat and let Him take the leading role in my life. I need to master playing the background.
The past week Austin has been the target of mother nature’s fury (I’d like to take a moment to thank her for all the free car washes – I’m saving money with every rain drop!). I’ve been woken up many times to the sound of thunder and car alarms set off by close lightening strikes. In the midst of the dodging rain drops, I’ve realized our lives sometimes mirror that of a storm. The storm hits hard and then the eye passes over offering a glimpse of peace before the end comes barreling through. The aftermath is destruction, but there is always reconstruction. The beauty of a storm, as well as the beauty of the sinless blood shed at the cross, is found in the reconstruction. Just as a storm washes away the old for reconstruction, the blood of Christ washes away our sins and revives us from our sins.
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” -Titus 3:4-7
I’m a fan of pinterest and in a moment of procrastination during finals week I stumbled upon the following quote:
If there is anything I can take from my experiences this year it is that once again God has proven His plan is way better than my own (sometimes I need to be knocked in the head a few times before I learn my lesson). The moment I found myself lying on the gym floor crying my eyes out with an ankle that refused to bear my weight, I entered the valley and had no idea what the Big Man upstairs was up to. I know in my heart of hearts I was playing for Him. Volleyball wasn’t my idol, yet for some reason starting in our first match wasn’t apart of His plan for me. As my coaches and teammates checked in on me in the training room I constantly asked God “Why? Why me, again?” I thought I had learned my lesson the year before when my idolization of volleyball was struck down by a strained abdomen that kept me off the court for two weeks. As Philip Yancey so eloquently put it, “faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse.” I stopped questioning God and started trusting Him. At the end of the season God answered my “why”. No, I didn’t get the starting position I desired right after I recovered (praise Jesus for His healing hand – He cut my recovery in half and I found myself practicing a mere three weeks later!). My playing time was scattered, but I was blessed to play a part in my team’s appearance in the NCAA Regional Tournament for the first time in six years. Despite losing in the first round in 5 sets by two points, it was the experience of a lifetime I got to share with a team and coaching staff I love more than words can describe. To top it off, in January eight of my teammates attended Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ annual College Advance. If that would have happened had I not taken that fall I will never know, but it turns out that nasty ankle was a blessing in disguise and His plan made perfect since in REVERSE!
At this moment in life, the storm has passed, there is mass destruction, but I serve a Lord that promises reconstruction.
If you’re going through a storm, weather it knowing good things are waiting in the reconstruction!
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28