According to my parents, I’m their little miracle. After they lost my older sibling to a miscarriage they weren’t sure they could have children, but our God works in mysterious ways. On the third anniversary of my mom’s miscarriage and three weeks before my due date I arrived.
I was baptized as a baby at St. James Lutheran Church and my parents fulfilled their promise to raise me in the church. I sat in the back pew with my Dad and Grandpa while my Mom sang in the choir every Sunday, walk to the front of the congregation for the weekly children’s sermon, attended Sunday school, went to Presbyterian Preschool, and participated in Vacation Bible School every summer. Church was always in the picture, but it wasn’t something I always delighted in. I remember praying my parents would sleep through their alarm and tip-toeing around the house so I wouldn’t have to sit through church. Church was simply something I did.
That all changed when I was 12 and attended a Fellowship of Christian Athlete Leadership Camp at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. The week was absolutely incredible. I was learning about God and understanding the love of Christ shown for me on the cross and – here’s the kicker – I delighted in it! God was pulling on my heartstrings like I had never felt before and I couldn’t tell Him no. That week I committed my life to following Him. I took ownership of my faith for the first time and a fire had sparked.
I continued attending FCA Leadership Camp through eighth grade and continued to lay a stronger foundation of faith with the encouragement of my parents, but then high school happened. I was suddenly coordinated, started to excel in the pool and volleyball court, and suddenly started to gain a shred of popularity…a deadly combination.
Suddenly, God wasn’t my everything and I started to glorify myself rather than living for his glorification. Don’t get me wrong, I still believed Jesus was my Lord and Savior, my Mom and I still prayed over my sports competitions and I prayed every night, but He wasn’t my sole motivation in life. I wanted to be the best at everything for me rather than for Him. I wore this “All-American Girl” mask that made it look like I had it all together, but in reality I wasn’t glorifying God in all aspects of my life. He was in my rearview mirror while my car was headed towards the desires of my flesh and the fleeting rewards of this world. Despite putting Him on the back burner, God continued to bless me immensely in the arena of competition and in the classroom. My senior year I earned an academic and athletic scholarship to play volleyball at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas.
Once again, FCA ignited the same flame that had been sparked in middle school at College Extreme, the college version of summer FCA Camp. Once again I received the undeserved gift of grace, and despite my lukewarm faith during high school, God called me back into His loving embrace.
Fast forward to today.
Since truly following Jesus, there have been trying seasons of life where although tempted, I’ve refrained from running away from my loving Father who has perfect plans for me. In times that I’ve lacked trust in His plan, He’s shown me His perfect will. In times of trials, He’s taught me to have joy because He’s growing me in my faith. In times of prosperity, He’s reminded me to thank Him. In times of overflowing pride, He’s called me to humble myself under His mighty hand. In times of fear and timidity, He’s taught me to have a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline.
God’s not finished with me yet – my story isn’t complete. I’m not perfect and will never claim to be. I fail daily, but am drowning in redeeming love. I’m broken, yet perfectly sewn. I was dead, but I’ve been revived by the grace of a loving Savior. I use to love control, but now I’m letting go and trusting without borders the plans God has for my life.
The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.