in the life: A different and unexpected path


The indescribable and undeniable love of Christ that had so richly grasped my heart over Christmas break gave me courage to be truthful with myself and start confronting the doubt I was having about my Athletic Training major (see prior blog for back story). It wasn’t like me to change something I was so committed to. I was a fairly predictable person that didn't stir the waters much. What would my family and friends think? How would they respond? No one would be expecting this. Gulp.

I could now at least be honest with myself about this doubt eating at me and take time to think about it. This led to realizing I was being led toward a career in ministry. From there, I had no clue what to do. The Christian Ministries major wasn’t it. That was geared more towards pastoral work, and I also wouldn’t be able to finish in four years. I knew pastoral work wasn’t where God was leading, and I only had four years of my parents’ financial blessing.

I went back for my second semester and started the same way I had ended my first one, continuing in Athletic Training and quiet about my doubt, not knowing what to do. Except inside I was different. Nothing ever happened with the guy I was interested in. He just stopped talking to me and that was that. I didn’t understand and was a little confused and hurt but was also completely fine. That was God’s answer I had been praying for and it came so naturally in the aftermath of what He had done in me. God was more important now anyway.

A couple weeks in, I had one of those days where everything seems to go wrong, and all the little things build up. That night I broke down in my room with my roommate. I started sharing with her and somewhere in there I finally spoke out loud the doubt I had about my major. There, I had said it. And let me tell you, what a load off my chest! It was so freeing to share this burden with a trusted friend.

After this, it got a little easier. I shared with another good friend. She brought up how one of her friends was a Sports Ministry major and that I should talk with him. Whoa. Almost instantly, my heart leaped for joy. I had heard about that major when I registered for my classes at the beginning of the summer but had completely forgotten about it. It had intrigued me at the time, but I quickly brushed it off because I wasn’t the “speaking in front of people” type. In high school speech class, I would be so nervous that my voice would shake! Definitely not for me.

I knew almost instantly that Sports Ministry was the path I had to take.* I also knew I couldn’t rush into it. I had to pray. I had to find out more about Sports Ministry. And I had to talk with my academic advisor and my parents, both of which I was not looking forward to.

It became a long and painful process. As I mentioned, no one was expecting this to happen. My advisor understood but was sad to see me go. I had just been accepted into the Athletic Training program after a full, formal interview and was a promising student. It was a complete shock to my parents. I was so nervous to tell them that I sent a long, heartfelt email first to provide all the understanding I could to help prepare them for the coming conversation.

They were not on board at first. Part of it made sense; they were paying for my Christian college tuition. I would be coming out with a ministry degree that would possibly require me to fundraise to make a living. It meant I may not be coming back home after college. My mom especially didn’t like that one. On top of that, I could get a degree like Athletic Training, and still go into ministry. That option could even be more beneficial because I would have a specific skill set to bring to my ministry work.

I understood their concerns, but it did not and could not trump what God was doing in my life. I had to follow Him over pleasing them. It was incredibly hard not being on the same page. I hated it, but there wasn’t anything I could do. I had a perfect peace from God that told me I was doing the right thing. I respected and loved my parents, and they loved me and wanted what was best for me. I just couldn’t go the safe and logical route they wanted me to go that they thought was best for me.

Finally, towards the end of the semester, when it was time to register for the next years’ classes, I officially changed my major and signed up for classes in Sports Ministry. The following fall I also added a minor in Coaching.

Outside of my schooling the next three years of college, I put my love for Jesus and sports to use in many ways. Whether it was working at a Christian summer camp as a water ski instructor or with the YMCA, getting plugged in at a local church and helping with the youth group, being a hall chaplain for two years, volunteering locally in different ways, or going on a sports ministry mission trip, I was going hard.

The summer and fall of my senior year, I landed on an internship with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). During this, a full-time position opened, and I was encouraged to apply if I was being led that direction. At first, I wasn’t. But I also had no clue what I wanted to specifically do in the future. I ended up applying among some other random positions I found. It was the only position that kept falling in to place step by step. And through the whole process, God was gradually opening my heart more and more to it. In April of 2012, the same month I graduated, I accepted the position to be an Area Representative with FCA.

I would now embark on a position that required fundraising and not moving back home. It wasn’t what my parents had in mind for me, but it was exactly what God had in mind. The first couple years were extremely rocky. I’ll get to more of that later. But it has led to some of the best and richest moments of my life. It was God’s best for me, and I wouldn’t trade the path He placed me on for anything.

And yes, praise God, despite some other pretty rocky points with my family along the way, my parents grew to be on board with this change over time, especially as they saw how God came through for me in some incredible ways.

“Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established. …A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” Provers 16:3,9

“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” Matthew 19:29

 

*No matter what job you have, it is a ministry. You don’t need to be in vocational ministry to be doing God’s work. This is just what God had for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2019 Winning Women