I left my Athletic Trainer’s office, and I was slightly depressed. I honestly thought I’d get to start some ball work after meeting with him this time. I’d gained full motion which was their goal, and my leg is getting stronger everyday. My heart aches to play – to pass the ball – to juggle – to go into a racquetball court for hours and just begin to get reacquainted with the ball again. Another month I told myself. It’ll fly by. I sat in the waiting room for another 45 minutes as I waited to see my surgeon. I tried to stay positive. I was frustrated that I couldn’t start on ball work. I was frustrated that I was still at the Dr’s office – two hour visits aren’t fun.
Finally, Dr. Klootwyk had time for me. I went in, and he praised my motion and my progress. Then, he said, well i’d really like you to start on agility and ball work. Immediately, my heart soared. I’ve waited 4.5 months to put on my indoors and kick the soccer ball around. While previously I had been annoyed by my long wait to see Dr. Klootwyk, I now would’ve waited around all day to see him because his news was that good. I can play. I can juggle. I can do cones. I can start to get back into soccer!
I don’t know how I’m getting through classes right now. All I want to do is get in the racquetball court and mess around with the soccer ball for hours. It’s consuming my mind. I cannot wait to be reunited! This may seem way to extreme, but honestly, this is how I feel.
Just yesterday I was talking to my friend about how down I was – how I needed an outlet but I couldn’t find it. I have all the emotions and struggles from just life in general and there is no release. I was almost in tears because I was just so frustrated because I had all these emotions, but I just can’t release them. I literally said, “I am the end. I don’t know what I’m going to do if I can’t find a release.” Then today, I find out I can do ball work. I just needed to share how good God is – He is listening and present, even when it doesn’t feel like He’s there.
couple nights ago, i was driving around Marion after dark. Honestly, I dislike being behind the wheel and driving at night. I find it incredibly difficult to see what’s out ahead of me. I feel like I can only see 10 yards ahead, and that scares me and frustrates me. As I was thinking about that, I couldn’t help but think about my life and how life is similar to driving at night. So often, we want to see far ahead. We wish God could just give us a glimpse of the road ahead. It’s hard to take life day by day. It’s hard to plan out our lives without knowing where we are going or how we’ll arrive at our end goals. It’s frustrating to be in a valley and wonder how far we’ll have to travel down the road to reach the mountain top.
When your heart is worn, when your heart is heavy, where do you go? Where is your place of strength, of rest, of comfort? When you feel like life just won’t let up and you’re completely and utterly exhausted and overwhelmed, where do you run? Do you have a place that takes all the emotions and feelings and pain away? Do you have a place where you can just forget everything for a little while, or a place where everything in your life starts to make more sense?
I have a couple places. The moment I step onto a soccer field, I feel at home. For a couple hours, my mind can relax and shut off. I’m not saying this works 100% of the time. Sure, sometimes, there are days when soccer can make me even more confused or frustrated, but for the most part, when it’s just me and the ball, I feel at home.
I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about a good hard run. When your mind is running in a million directions, when your heart is overwhelmed, and you’re mentally and emotionally exhausted, a run can clear your head in a second. There’s something about the wind in your face, and the trees passing with each step you take. There’s a greater comfort in knowing that your struggles might not be going anywhere but for 20-30 minutes, your mind can relax. And as you take each step, those problems seem to lose their gravity. They seem to shrink down to a size that you can handle. I draw strength with each step. I can feel it empowering me and moving into my veins, and my heart draws hope with each step.
And the final place that I draw my strength from is just in the arms of my friends. It’s hard to open up. It’s hard to be vulnerable. Not only is it hard, it’s something I actually have to train myself to do. I know I need to talk to people. I know I need to share my emotions, but how can I do that when I don’t even know what I’m feeling. How can I do that when it’s just easier to lock them all inside and pretend they don’t exist. If I don’t deal with them, maybe they aren’t real?
So where do you go to find strength when you can’t run? Where do you go to find strength when you can’t step onto the soccer field? Maybe through tearing my ACL, God’s teaching me to find my secret place with Him. Maybe I’m learning that soccer and running will never be enough and that people may be great, but they aren’t enough either. Maybe God’s teaching me that in the quiet of my soul, that’s where He will meet me. When my heart is overwhelmed and my mind won’t shut off, it’s then that I need to just quiet my soul, open my Bible, and pour my heart out to Him. People aren’t enough. Soccer isn’t enough. Running isn’t enough. I’ve always known that God is where I need to go, and I do find security and peace in a song – in a sermon – in a Bible verse, but I have never found my secret place with Him. I’m learning what that means though. It means that He is the first place to turn. He alone can restore. He alone has answers. He knows my emotions and feelings already. He knows exactly how to comfort. He holds the future and the world in His hand.
I’m learning what it means to get lost in a moment with Christ. I cherish those times when I am by myself and I have on Rend Collective Experiment Radio in the background and I am just pouring my heart out to the Lord. I don’t have to put on a front. I don’t have to act like I have it all together. I can be completely myself with Christ, and I can find peace in the fact that He is holding me in his arms, even when it doesn’t feel like it. I can find comfort in the fact that when I feel like I’m drowning and my eyes are barely above the waves, my King walks on water, and He’s reaching his hand out to me.
I’m learning to open my heart up to God and let down all my walls. I can share my fears, my struggles, my triumphs, and my insecurities and Christ replys with these three words, “I AM ENOUGH.” Whatever you’re going through, I am enough. When you’re scared that you’re falling behind your teammates and that you’ll never be able to make up the ground, “I AM ENOUGH.” When all you want is to walk outside and not be scared of slipping cause you could injur yourself again, “I AM ENOUGH.” When you don’t know how to comfort your friend and you feel helpless – like you fail again and again, “I AM ENOUGH.” When you are scared to open up to a new relationship, and all you see is the unknown, or you’re scared to let someone in, because what if it doesn’t work out, “I AM ENOUGH.” When you feel like your life is spiraling out of control and you can’t balance everyone and everything, “I AM ENOUGH.”
“I AM ENOUGH. I AM ENOUGH. I AM ENOUGH. I AM ENOUGH.” Rest in me. Rest in the secret place. In me there is no fear. In me there is victory. In me there is peace. In me everything makes sense.
And so I’m grateful for the challenges. I’m grateful for the trials. I’m grateful for tearing my ACL. I’m grateful for the opportunity to comfort my friends. I’m grateful for the late nights, long talks, tears and confusion. I’m grateful for the helplessness. Because through these things, I’m maturing. I’m growing up. I’m learning what it is to find my security, my peace, my comfort in Christ. I’m learning what it means to rest in the secret place. I’m learning what it means to love. I’m learning what it means to rely completely on Christ.
I don’t have it all together – in fact I have nothing together. But I’m grateful, because I’m learning to rest in Christ.
There’s a famous poem called “Footprints in the Sand” by Mary Stevenson. Ever since I can remember, I have loved this poem. It’s so raw and true. It’s about a man who has a dream and in his dream he sees many scenes from his life, and in those scenes there’s two sets of footprints, but in the hardest times of his life, when he’s at rock bottom and doesn’t know how to get up, there is only one footprint. This bothers the man and so he asks God why he would abandon him in his hour of need. My favorite part is God’s reply. “It was then that I carried you.“ What an incredibly beautiful picture of love. At our lowest point, when we feel like we can’t go on, and we don’t have the strength to stand, God simply reaches down, picks us up and wraps us in the safety of his arms. He then proceeds to walk for us. “In our weakness he is strong” (2 Corinth. 12:9). This promise is so raw, real, and beautiful, but in the moment – in the heat of the trial, it doesn’t always feel like we are in God’s arms. In all honesty, it can feel like we’ve been abandoned. But, I think that feeling stems from being focused on where we are and not knowing how to move on or get up. At rock bottom, the only place to look is up. But looking up – takes courage. Having hope – takes courage. Thinking that you’ll ever leave rock bottom – takes courage. And where do we find this courage? Katie Davis is the author of “Kisses from Katie.” She is one amazing woman. In her blog she says, “And I cry, because I do not feel courageous. I feel downright defeated sometimes. Maybe courage is not at all about the absence of fear but about obedience even when we are afraid. Courage is trusting when we don’t know what is next, leaning into the hard and knowing that it will be hard, but more, God will be near. Maybe bravery is just looking fear in the face and telling it that is dos not win because I have known The Lord here. I have known The Lord in the long, dark night.” Her words are so true and raw. They are hard. Leaning into the hard and knowing it will be hard can seem impossible. But the Lord is victorious, and everything is redeemed in and through him. And it’s hard to remember that, and it’s hard to have hope. But.. “It was then that I carried you.“ That will always be true. God will always be there carrying us up out of the pit. He’s constant and he doesn’t change. He’s good and he’s sovereign. He’s there in our rawest, hardest, most painful moments, and he’s not about to leave. Just a few days ago, I was just mentally and emotionally drained, and I hadn’t spent the time in the Word I needed to refill my soul, and I was driving to my appointment with my AT and surgeon, and I spent a solid hour in the car just listening to Christian music and crying out to God. I felt like God was by me, but He was just choosing not to answer. And I needed to hear from Him. And then at just the right moment, the song “Reason to Sing” by All Sons and Daughters came on. And God said, “I’m here. I haven’t left. I’m enough. I’m carrying you, and I’m carrying those who are hurting around you.”