hello adulthood

It’s funny how as a child we can’t wait for the next stage of life. When we are toddlers, we can’t wait till we are older and no longer have to take naps. When we are four, we can’t wait until we are old enough to go to school. When we are in elementary school, we can’t wait till we are older and don’t have a bedtime. When we are preteens, we can’t wait till we are old enough to drive. When we are in high school, we can’t wait for college. Now that I’m an adult I wish I could go back to a time of naps, early bedtimes, and simpler days. We constantly wish for that next stage of life until it hits us and we are overwhelmed by it. Can I just say a huge props to my parents for working 40 hours a week and still finding the time to coach, cook dinner, be a handy-man, help with homework, workout, and drive us around. Wow. Do they every stop? When I was little I used to think my parents were superheroes, now that I’m bridging the gap into adulthood, I again find myself thinking that.



They say adulthood is fun because now you have some money and no homework at night or on the weekends. When I leave work, I leave work. I don’t bring it home with me, and that is nice, however, I’m still waiting for the adjustment period to end and my interactive personality to get used to spending so much of my life sitting at a desk. I’m away from my family. I’m away from my friends. It’s me, my computer, and my cubicle. What an odd concept. I find myself having to navigate the confusing world of insurance, 401k’s, budgets, and rush hour. I’m routinely tired, and I find that during the work week I don’t have much time for “fun” things. So far, adulthood isn’t all that my four year old mind dreamt it up to be.

To say the transition was rough is the understatement of the century. In my first week, I sat through a day and a half of meetings, I ran my car into our basketball pole coughing up a pretty penny to fix, and I ran into a glass door. Currently, I’m waiting to be put on a project. Apparently this stage is nicknamed “the bench.” (Great it’s like my senior year of soccer all over again.. just kidding.. kinda) Basically, I sit at my desk and research different tools or techniques – currently refreshing my memory on angular.js for anyone who was wondering. I watch tutorials, take notes, and implement it into my own projects – kind of like school all over again. However, one of the upsides of being an adult, I don’t have to bring this “homework” home. I put my time in and then I leave, but I’M READY FOR A PROJECT.

On top of these changes, I am also learning how to handle relationships like an adult in a mature fashion and have difficult discussions and be long distance from friends and my boyfriend while still being intentional and working towards growing those relationships. All of that is tricky – especially when the majority of my friends, and my boyfriend, have not joined the world of adulthood quite yet. We come at things from a little bit of a different perspective which can be both refreshing and difficult.



With all of that being said, I think back to when I was a kid and how I kept wishing to be older – I kept longing for that next stage, and I refuse to do that here. I won’t wish these months of transition away. I won’t wish the struggles at my job away. I won’t wish this time of long-distance away. I want to live fully where I’m at. I don’t want to wish for retirement or my future coffee shop, or to be settled down in Colorado. I know that God has lots of awesome plans in the future for my life, but He’s specifically placed me here, now, for a reason, and I don’t want to miss that reason as it’ll be a pivotal stepping stone into my future. Hanging at my desk is a piece of watercolored paper that says, “Don’t try to rush things that need time to grow.” It ends with a reference to Psalm 27:14. So here I am, learning to dance in the rain as my future grows. Adulthood is crazy, and it’s hard, and it’s a huge transition, but I look forward to the joys that will also come along with it. Goodbye childhood, teenage, and college years – hello adulthood.

Indiana to Uganda.

They tell you that college will be the time of your life. They tell you that in college you will make lifelong friends. They tell you college will push you and challenge you in your thinking. They tell you college will bring freedom and fun. They don’t tell you that you will become best friends with a goofy blonde headed girl who lives 19 hours away and whose heart is in a different country altogether.

Leaving is hard. I’ve never been good at goodbyes. I tend to just push off my feelings and hope they’ll disappear only to have to deal with them later. Going from roommates – living in the same room and knowing that no matter what, if I didn’t see her during the day I’d at least see her at night, to being in different time zones is a tough adjustment. I miss my best friend – plain and simple.

As a scared freshman going into preseason, I never dreamt I would meet someone who fit so well – who understood me so well – who made me realize things about myself and admit things that I didn’t even know I was thinking. Not only am I saying goodbye to being roommates and seeing my best friend everyday, but in just 3 short days, my best friend will be in another country for 4 months. Uganda doesn’t know what they’ve got coming.

Laying here thinking about my person going to Uganda, I can’t help but feel excited for the adventures that await. As I think about it, I begin to reminisce on my summer adventure to Kenya and my heart aches for the people I left there. Part of my heart stayed in Kenya. I ache for the joyful children who had nothing but at the same time had everything. And now another part of my heart is headed to Africa as Sarah leaves for Uganda. It seems like too much. Too much of my heart is in a different country and I’m not sure how I’m going to get through these next 4 months.

So much is happening. On January 25th, in just 22 short days, I start my job. I’m scared for that. I’m scared I won’t be good at my job. I’m scared I won’t like my job. I’m scared I’ll feel trapped. I’m scared I won’t be able to handle 40 hours  a week. I’m scared I’m not ready for adulthood. I’m scared I’ll fail. And when it gets hard, who will I call. My best friend will be half way across the world, 7 hours ahead on amazing adventures. I’m starting into a new relationship and it’s exciting and scary at the same time. When something great happens, or when something hard happens, or when I’m confused or just need someone to talk to, she will be gone.

Yes, of course we will still talk, but it won’t be the same, and I’m just preparing myself. I realize I sound selfish, but I guess I am selfish. She’s my girl. She’s my compass. She mellows me. I need her. So I’m scared and sad – so sad, but more than that I’m excited. I’m excited because my best friend is an adventurer. The core of who she is longs for this, and God’s got some extraordinary things for her. I cannot wait for her to experience Africa. I cannot wait for her to bring back her own stories. I can’t wait to talk to her while she’s gone. Just as she supported me while I was in Kenya, I can’t wait to support her while she’s in Uganda. That doesn’t mean it will be easy, but it’s doable. However, I still miss my best friend. I miss her something fierce tonight and I wish I could have just one more adventure – just one more late night talk – just one more hug before she leaves.

Missing you from Indiana.. love you Sarah Katherine Nyhoff.

Thankful Thoughts

As I lay in bed attempting to sleep off the food coma that always seems to come with Thanksgiving, I can’t help but smile. Sometimes it can seem like the world is so evil and there are just bad things happening left and right – Paris, school shootings, natural disasters, etc. but as I lay here, I’m reminded of all the beauty in the world.

In our most raw form, God made us in his image. That image was a reflection of relationship. We were made for community. We were made to do life together. We were made to love and be loved. Sitting around the table today, my family took time to speak life, truth, and thankfulness into one another. This was a beautiful time of just honesty and beauty that I’m sure will become a tradition. I sat, and I listened to all these people I respect share such incredible stories and qualities that they see in one another and that I see in each one of them individually. I was reminded of what an impact just one of our lives can make on another. We have the ability to bring beauty to the ugliness.

That relationship that God created us for is what makes the world beautiful. It’s one thing to think you are compassionate or kind, but it’s a completely different thing for someone you love to see those things in you and verbalize them. That can only happen in relationship. Sure, as humans, we are flawed, and we definitely contribute to the evil in the world, but we have a redemptive quality in us. It’s incredible how much a relationship can impact a person. Relationships speaks truth, they change the trajectory of a person’s life, they empower. I’m incredibly grateful for all the relationships I have in my life. I’m thankful for the number of people who have poured into me over the last 22 years of my life. I’m grateful for the relationships that have built me up and empowered me, and I’m thankful for the relationships that have completely wrecked and broken me because they led me to a place of transformation. I’m excited for the budding relationships in my life, and I can’t wait for the numerous ways relationships will impact my life and others in the next year.

 

Gift that keeps Giving

As many of you know, I spent half of my summer in Kenya this year. While I was there, I was able to love on and befriend many deeply impoverished but incredibly joyful kids. My host family was unbelievably welcoming and kind. Regina and James, my Kenyan parents, are both principals of two rural schools in Kenya. Regina is the principal of a preschool-8th grade school. Although it’s a government sponsored school, they have very little funding. These are just a couple of the classrooms. In the left photo, this is the 6th grade classroom. Their floor is dirt, and they haven’t had enough money to finish the walls and windows and make a concrete floor. In the photo on the right, this is a 1st grade classroom. That wall behind me and the kids is indeed the wall to their classroom. Can you imagine learning in an enviornment like this?

The following are just a few pictures of some of the kids and the desks they have to try and write on. These kids are beautiful and have so much joy and life. All of their parents are farmers or unemployed. They come from an incredibly poor village. This school is their only chance to change the trajectory of their lives.

YOU CAN HELP 🙂

Before I left, Regina, the principal of this school, gave me some Kenyan wall hangings and cards to sell back in the states and then send the money to them. These are all handmade and beautiful. As you know, Christmas is coming, and sometimes it’s incredibly difficult to figure out what to get your friend or relative, this year, why not give a gift that keeps giving.

 

These are just a sample of the wall hanging that I have. There are multiple styles to choose from. They are 20 dollars a piece or your best donation. Anything can help!

 

I also have a number of cards to sell. Again there’s a wide variety. These are 5×7 cards and they are beatifully and intrically created. They are 5 dollars a piece or your best donation.

Please consider one or more of these gifts as you start buying for the holidays. Message me if interested or message me for more pictures. Please share with your friends 🙂

Because I’m a Senior

Letting go of every single dream
I lay each one down at Your feet
Every moment of my wandering
Never changes what You see

I’ve tried to win this war I confess
My hands are weary I need Your rest
Mighty Warrior, King of the fight
No matter what I face, You’re by my side

When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!

Truth is, You know what tomorrow brings
There’s not a day ahead You have not seen
So, in all things be my life and breath
I want what You want Lord and nothing less

When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!

You are my strength and comfort
You are my steady hand
You are my firm foundation; the rock on which I stand

Your ways are always higher
Your plans are always good
There’s not a place where I’ll go, You’ve not already stood

This last month of my life, I’ve really been taking this song to heart. God may not have been moving in ways I had thought He would, but I’ve been really trying to just trust in Him. Recently, God’s been responding in ways that have blown me away. To go from this summer where I could barely train, end up at preseason and actually compete and then feel overlooked and like I hadn’t been given a real opportunity, to now be at a place where I’ve been given a shot and am starting in tonight’s game. That’s a journey only God could’ve planned.

I think most people would define success as competing on a team with a winning record and being in the S11 with accolades. As senior night approaches (just one week away), I can’t help but look back on my college career and think how it completely defys the world’s version of success but in my mind, I wouldn’t have changed anything.

I decided rather late that I wanted to play soccer in college. By that time, I was a little behind the game. Playing with the IWUWS team after trying out with a few other colleges, I knew there was something different about this program. I had never previously been on a team that prayed after each practice and genuinely interacted like a family would interact. Unlike most of my fellow classmen, I had to really pursue Coach Bratcher and almost beg him to let me be apart of the 2012 class. Coming in that first preseason, I knew I was forever going to be changed. I knew after just a couple weeks that I had met life-long friends.

While I’ve had a mediocre career – getting the opportunity to start at least once every season and typically being one of the first players off the bench, I’ve found most of my success and joy off the field. In the four years that I’ve been here, I’ve made countless memories and I can’t imagine my college career without IWUWS. It’s definitely had it’s low parts, and there have been many times where I questioned what I was doing, but I’m so glad I had the opportunity to be a part of IWUWS.

My freshman year, I had the opportunity to be molded under an incredible senior class. They led in a way that really revealed Christ. It’s been that class (Kylie, Becca, Jamie, Kelsey, and Erica) who really shaped my class to be the leaders we have been this senior season. Fast forward to my sophomore year, we were all scared to think of soccer without the seniors. Sophomore year was rough. Coach Carr, who was incredibly influential in all of our lives wouldn’t be coming back, and we would be getting a new coach the next year. The search for a new coach was honestly so challenging and it really divided our team. I remember our class really struggled and there was a lot of hurt and just lost trust between a lot of us. On top of all that, I tore my ACL.

Tearing my ACL was one of the most influential parts of my life. It taught me to truly value soccer and just mobility and being able to be active. I gained a whole new perspective on myself and servanthood. That year/summer was the hardest I’ve ever worked, and by the grace of God, I was “ready to go” for my Junior year of soccer. Coming in with a whole new coaching staff on top of just being back from ACL recovery, I cried every single day of preseason! Coach was tough, but it was that toughness that our team needed. Although it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever been pushed through, my junior year of soccer was a really growing year. It pushed me outside of my comfort zone, and although our record didn’t show it, Coach Strader really began to transform our team. I suffered from compartment syndrome throughout that whole season, and had to sit out of almost all of the spring season. After my 2nd surgery, I thought I would be done, but God wasn’t done teaching me.

Coming into my senior year, I believe God really wanted to mold me into a servant-leader. I think he wanted me to learn to humble myself completely and trust Him. Throughout these 4 years, my class has been through it all. We’ve suffered from injuries, sucky records, heart-break losses, and completely new coaching staffs. We’ve really come into our own this season, and I couldn’t be more proud of each and every one of my fellow seniors. This year is deifnitely the tightest knit group of girls I’ve ever had the privilige to play with, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity! Coach Strader has really poured into all of us and brought our whole team farther than we thought we could go. Although this has been a challenging season personally, it’s been a great season collectively, and we aren’t done yet!

persist

I was scrolling through my pinterest feed about a week ago, and this picture/quote stood out to me. It said “And if not, He is still GOOD.” Instantly, I realized God was speaking to me through my computer screen. It’s so easy to have plans and envision our lives or certain parts of our lives turning out a certain way, but what if they don’t? In reality, usually they don’t. What then?

Recently, I’ve been on “that” side of “and if not…” If nots have been taking my life by storm and honestly they are hard. When you spend all your time working towards a goal and it doesn’t end up how you envision, it’s hard to keep going with a positive attitude. My senior year of soccer has definitely not panned out how I planned. Originally, this summer, when we were told to choose our word for the season, I chose servant-leadership. What I didn’t realize was how hard that word was going to be to fully live out. Obviously, nobody goes into their senior season of soccer hoping to ride the bench, be seemingly unnoticed, work for no real individual reward, or be in physical pain with my own table at prep. But I have to remember the end of that quote    “…he is still good.” And whether or not I play a huge role on the field, being humbled in a manner of servanthood is growing me and teaching me in ways I didn’t imagine I would be stretched, and I’m grateful for that.

I had been really pressing in and trying to give over a certain relationship to the Lord. As the months went by, I became more and more attentive to the Lord’s voice. I honesetly felt like he was leading me down a certain path, and I was excited about where I was headed. More importantly, I was excited I was so in tune with the Holy Spirit. But recently, “and if not…” entered the picture again. This was so discouraging and confusing. I don’t want to start from square one again. I don’t want to question if I was truly hearing the Lord’s nudge. I was excited about the future I was anticipating and dreaming about!

When if nots start to creep into my life, it’s easy to start feeling like I’m in a valley. It’s easy to become discouraged and wonder what the heck God is doing. It’s easy to beg for a bigger arial view of God’s path for my life, but this is wher I have to remember that “…He is still good.” He really is good, and because of His goodness, I can trust.

It’s easy to get caught up in wishing or dreaming, or even just anticipating the future, but when we become too caught up in that, we will struggle with the “if nots.” I’m glad I can rest in the fact that I’m serving a God who has my best interest at heart, who has better plans than I could imagine or that I could dream up or anticipate because He’s good and He wants the best for me. And, sometimes, we don’t get to the best until we walk for awhile in the desert, valley area. So if you’re struggling with an “if not,” remember He is still good.

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learning through set backs

They say to enjoy each memory, moment, minute like it might be your last. Whoever said that is so true, but at the same time so unrealistic. It’s hard to live in that manner. It’s hard to constantly live in the moment and not think to the future. One day, you’re 4 and the whole crowd is cheering when you finally touch that scary thing they call a soccer ball, the next second you’re in your senior year of college soccer.

For me though, my “soccer career” ended before I thought it would. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still on the team. I’m still playing. I’m still fighting. I’m still pouring my time and efforts into this sport I’ve come to love, but in all honesty, my soccer career has not gone how I once planned.

While I thought I had been preparing and planning for a season where I would possibly not see the field, I realized you can’t prepare for that. Upon arriving at my last preseason, I wasn’t sure what my body would allow me to do. I was nervous for the fitness tests, but at the same time, I had no pressure. Honestly, I short-handed myself and really didn’t believe I would pass one fitness test. However, that first Monday, Annie and I set ourselves a goal. We would run 2 of the 120’s in the correct time – and we did. We even finished the 120’s in a faster time than I thought possible, and we beat some people as well. A spark was formed.

The next day was the beep test. During the summer, before I had to quit running, I’d only made it to 880m. I needed to reach 1350m. Each down and back, I became more confident. I was going to pass this test. I not only made the distance, but I ran past it. The coals began to heat up.

Those first 2 weeks, I pushed my body farther than I thought I could go. I was playing pretty well, and hope was being ignited. I had realistic expectations. I knew I wouldn’t be playing as much as I had previous years, but I thought I would see the field. Running the 300s in the second week, I really wasn’t sure if I could make it. But I did. My legs were shaking by the end and I had to sit down, but I’d gone to a place I didn’t think I could go. During our first game, I was given the opportunity to relieve one of the forwards and play. This began to spark a fire. Maybe I truly would get to see the field some this year. However, last Saturday, reality sunk in. All my goals on the field, all my aspirations, they will not come true.

Going into my Sophomore year, I was playing some of my best soccer and more fit than I’d even been in my life. I wanted it. I wanted to be a starter. Ever since that year, I put in countless time and effort into PT. I put the work in hoping to see the reward, but what I’ve come to realize is sometimes we don’t get to see the reward. Sometimes, we have to just keep are nose down and keep chugging along. Sometimes, plain and simply, LIFE ISN’T FAIR. I will never have that season I dreamed of. I will never have that season I worked for, but maybe my team will.

My word for this year was servant-leadership. When I chose it, I assumed I would be on the sidelines hardly being able to participate. I didn’t fully comprehend how difficult servant-leadership was going to be this year. I’m okay. I’m about the team. I’m so excited for the girls we have and the places I know we can go. However, that doesn’t make anything any easier. THIS SUCKS. Nothing can change how much this sucks. My body has held me back, and it’s not fair.

When I sit down and think about my personal soccer career I just cry. Nobody wants to start out at the peak and dwindle down. I found my most personal success in my first two years of college soccer. I wanted to keep rising from there, but my career as I knew it is gone, and that’s hard. I wish I had enjoyed my first two years more. I wish I could go back and tell my younger self to just play the game and not worry about making mistakes. I wish I could take away all the nerves, the fear, the worrying about playing time or messing up and just enjoy the game. I just have a deep sadness. It’s hard to see a time in your life at an end.

And at the same time, it’s hard to have always felt overlooked. I feel like some people just walk in the light. Not really, but kind of. Sometimes it just feels like my 4 years have been a collection of almosts and why not me’s? However, I’m learning a lot recently about how selfish that mindset is. I’ve been really selfish, and sometimes I honestly have an inflated version of myself. Yes, there are times when I truly do think I was overlooked, but in all reality, my mind has been way too focused on myself and success. Recently, our team was given a great devotional on what it means to have an “I am Third” mindset and to play/live fearlessly. Honestly, before, I was tired of hearing the “I am Third” mantra. Okay, we get it, the basketball team says they’re third – they put God and others first. But when we truly forget about ourselves and just work for the team – work to make each other better; work for a common goal – the possibilities are endless. By having that mindset, we eliminate any selfishness, pride, or drama that will ensue during the season. Instead, we bring our all everyday and put in the work not for ourselves, not for our best friends, not for our coaches, but for the whole team – for the program – for the common goal – for God’s glory. That’s an unstoppable force.

So, no matter what, if I’m just a practice player this year, I will practice the “I am Third” lifestyle and do work for my team. I will make us better, and I will not complain. When I feel like I’m getting overlooked, I will keep pushing and have a humble spirit.

Once reality set in, I felt like honestly some people didn’t believe in me. I felt like they had already written me off as injured and not of use on the field before I’d even stepped into preseason. Well, I’m gonna prove them wrong. Day in and day out, I’m going to work hard, stand out, and take risks, because I have nothing to lose. I will make them believe in me. And, even if it doesn’t end the way I would hope, I will take pride in knowing that 1) I gave my all and didn’t give up and 2) I made my team better.

Hand over the Keys

Why is it that I struggle fully opening up with the Lord. I mean if He already knows my thoughts, my deepest fears, hopes, wishes, shouldn’t it be easier to share them? I’m trying to pray boldly and follow His direction and path, but some of my deepest hopes I can’t say out loud. It’s as if I don’t think God is big enough. Back and forth, back and forth I wrestle. I give over the keys yet won’t leave the driver’s seat. Slowly I give a little more, and a little more, yet I can’t fully hand over everything. I want God in the driver’s seat, but can I hold the map? Or, God you can have the driver’s seat, but lets take one of those driver’s ed cars that has breaks on both sides so I don’t fully have to relinquish all control.

Relinquishing total control is scary. It’s hard. Loss of control equals vulnerability. Vulnerability equals potential pain. Pain equals hurt, but things hurt because they matter. What will it take to fully relinquish total control? How can I get there? I went to Africa. I had no control, and I learned to trust the Lord completely. I want that back. Although I grew in that area immensely, coming back to America, where life happens, and transitions are encountered, it’s hard not to take some of that control back. It’s. Hard. To. Wait. There’s a constant game of tug-of-war going on between me and the Lord. He wants full control and I want Him to have it but I can’t fully release it. Lord rip the rope of control between us out of my hands. Take full control, leave me lying in the mud, in need of a helping hand up.

Waiting is difficult. It’s so counter-culture, and that’s why not many people can understand. Sometimes, I feel like I’m alone in this period of waiting. But as pinterest once said, “Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to. It’s not for them.” That’s so true. This is my journey. My period of waiting. There’s no better place to be, but at the same time there’s no harder place to be. This is my desert. My undesirable place between two desirable places, and I know down the road, I will look back and see how valuable this time of waiting was for me, and how in the grand scheme of things, it was a short segment of life. However, that doesn’t make this time of waiting any less hard. I’m ready Lord, but you aren’t. You’re protecting me from something and building me in some way that I need. Help me to wait. Help me to trust. I’m not going to take the ASAP way of praying, but I’m going to engage in the ALAT method of praying. I will pray As Long As it Takes.

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;

Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.

I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate.

And the Master so gently said, “Wait.”

“Child, you must wait.”

“Wait? you say wait?” my indignant reply.

“Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!

Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?

By faith I have asked, and I’m claiming your Word.”

“My future and all to which I relate.

Hangs in the balance, and You tell me to wait?

I’m needing a ‘Yes.’ a go-ahead sign,

Or even a ‘No’ to which I can resign”

“And Lord, You promised that if we believe,

We need but to ask, and we shall receive

And Lord I’ve been asking, and this is my cry:

I’m weary of asking! I need a reply.”

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate

As my Master replied once again, “You must Wait.”

So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,

And grumbled to God, “So, I’m waiting…for what?”

He seemed, then to kneel,

And His eyes met with mine.

And He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign

I could shake the heavens, and darken the un.

I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run. “

“All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be.

You would have what you want

But, you wouldn’t know Me.

You’d not know the depth of My love for each saint;

You’d not know the power that I give to the faint.”

“You’d not learn to see through clouds of despair,

You’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there;

You’d not know the joy of resting in Me;

When darkness and silence were all you could see. “

“You’d never experience that fullness of love

As the peace of My spirit descends like a dove;

You’d know that I give and I save, for a start,

But you’d not know the depth of the beat of My heart.”

“The glow of My comfort late into the night,

The faith that I give when you walk without sight,

The depth that’s beyond getting just what you asked

Of an infinite God, who makes what you have last.”

“You’d never know, should your pain quickly flee,

What it means that, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee.’

Yes, your dreams for your loved one overnight would come true,

But, oh, the loss, if I lost what I’m doing in you!”

“So, be silent, My child, and in time you will see

That the greatest of gifts is to truly know Me.

And though oft’ may My answers seem terrible late,

My most precious answer of all is still, ‘Wait.’”

Wait by Russell Kelfer

fight.

Fight they say.

It’ll get easier they say.

Your time is coming.

Fight. Fight. Fight. But what if my time never comes? What if I fight and lose? What if I open up to hope and end up disappointed. Can I handle another disappointment. I’m tired. Wouldn’t it just be easier to accept defeat? Yes.

There’s a battle going on in my mind. I can’t process my thoughts. I went to the doctor yesterday because I’ve been having pain in my legs again. While they aren’t sure, it seems I have medial tibial stress syndome which is just a fancy way of saying I have chronic shin splints. Unless I quit the activity that brings my legs pain, all I can do  is manage my pain. Well, shoot, I’m a college soccer player…I can’t just stop training. Preseason is in 2 weeks. Manage my pain? How? I need to get in shape for preseason. I need my body to allow me to train hard. I already have ground to make up due to my 6 weeks spent in Africa, how can I back off? But I have to.

I’m an all-in or not-in/black-and-white type of person. How does that work in this situation? What I’m struggling to wrap my head around is how do I train to get on the field and give my best when I have to back off due to the pain in my legs? How do you mentally prepare for that? In the back of my mind I just keep thinking: it’s futile. After my ACL surgery, I was prepared to fight. I was going to come back with a fire and make up all the ground I lost. While I made an okay comeback, I ended up with chronic exertional compartment syndrome. Okay. I can sit out some because this next surgery is going to heal me and I’ll come back with a fire for my last season. Now, I’m entering my senior season and all that fight has brought me to a place of backing off and managing my pain and a fading hope that my legs will one day feel 100%.

How do I keep fighting? I’m tired of opening myself up to hope only to be disappointed. There are two voices in my head. 1) The voice of the Lord: I have a plan. I’ve called you to give me your best, whatever that is. You are already a victor through Christ, so fight…even if the outcome – the victory doesn’t appear in the same way you pictured it in your mind. 2) the devil’s soft, romantacizing lies. Fight? You’ve fought enough. Where has fighting taken you to? Nobody will blame you if you just take it esier and accept defeat. What are you even fighting for?

Truthfully, I’ve bought into some of the devil’s lies, and even though I’m beginning to identify them, I haven’t identified all of them/I don’t know how to combat all of them. I know this turmoil and unsettling feeling I have is my spirit fighting off my flesh. I want to fight, but I am tired. I’m going to fight, but first can I rest? Fight. Exodus 14:14, “The Lord with fight for you. You need only to be still.” God, I step back and I allow you to fight for me. I want to fight, but I don’t have the strength. Fill me with your strength.

Watch out IWU, I’m coming, and I’m going to figure out how to fight/how to let God fight for me. Going into the battle, I don’t know what the outcome will be, but nobody knows the outcome when they go into a fight. Sometimes we lose, sometimes we succeed. We may not win 100% of the battles we chose to fight, but we lose 100% of the battles we chose to sit out of. Failure/defeat is a risk of obtaining victory. One day at a time. I can’t fight for the whole season, but I can fight for today. One day at a time.

Fight.

God, what are you doing? 

Am I a bad Christin if I get mad, frustrated, and/or confused with God? Do I have to always agree 100% right,away with Him? Can I share my fears, hurts, frustrations and doubts? If I bare my soul, sharing my anger or struggle am I sinning by complaining? 

No. All relationships undergo frustration, anger, and confusion. We are in a relationship with God. He cares about our doubts and frustrations. Moses is the perfect example. In Numbers 11, he prays a prayer of frustration and exhaustion. Moses is done dealing with the Israelites. And he boldly comes before the Lord and just unleashes his annoyances. And you know what God does? He listens. He listens with a tender, loving, understanding heart and acknowledges the pleas of Moses’s soul. God brings helpers to carry the burden of the Israelites. He affirms and confirms Moses’s frustration. 

When we turn to the Lord and are open and honest, we are not engaging in complaining. Instead, we are choosing to bring our fears and exhaustion to the throne room of the king. We engage in the vulnerability of a real and human heart who doesn’t understand what God’s doing and is at the end of their rope. And God responds. 

I’m there. I’m frustrated and discouraged. I honestly believed my last surgery was going to be the end to my injury, wearied, aged body. I thought this last soccer season was going to be my time. I thought that was Gods plan. Then, I followed the Lord to Kenya for 6 weeks. While there, I was unable to run or do much of anything that would aid me physically in this upcoming season. At first, I really struggled, but then I gave it over to God acknowledging that this is His plan and He will provide and accepting that I would have a lot of work to do after stepping off that plane onto American soil. But now, now my body isn’t responding how I thought it would. God, you were supposed to have this under control..what are you doing? What’s your plan? I don’t understand? My legs are not back to normal. They’re run down and my body really just isn’t allowing me to get into the shape I need to be in. I thought this was going to be my year. I thought another surgery would eliminate my pain. I thought I’d be healthy again. What does healthy even look/feel like? I don’t remember. And Lord..I’m so frustrated. I want desperately to be healthy to become unfamiliar and unacquainted with pain. 

But I do. I do realize you have a plan, and you’ll fill me in when I need to be filled in. Whatever you’re doing, just prepare me mentally and spiritually and physically to handle it and to be used in the way you want, not in the way I thought. Give me strength God. Take away my complaints and instead give me positivity. But at the same time give me the courage to boldly come before your throne and hear my frustrations and annoyances and confusion. 

God will respond. He may not always respond in the manner we expect or even want, but he’s listening and gives us what we need when we need it.