I was born in Chicago, Illinois. It took only a few years after I was born for my mother and her three children to move to a small city heading east to Elkhart, Indiana. Luckily, we already had family there so it made the transition a lot smoother. I noticed at a young age that I had a natural energy to run and play with the boys. I was also raised to attend church regularly, but my personal relationship with Christ started my freshman year of college at Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

As a collegiate athlete, it was a privilege to represent more than just myself. To represent a school, a name, a team and a vision was an honor I did not take lightly. My current pursuit is to make it to this year’s Olympics in Rio, Brazil. Running on my own as an unattached athlete, I have found that the vision I have seen for myself is what keeps me motivated. No longer having a school or mascot on my uniform to “prove” what I may be capable of, I stand on the line of each race knowing all but my family members do not know who I am. In track and field you are specifically known for your times and places you get in your races. If you are not in the front or somewhere near, you seemingly turn invisible. This may not be true, but I cannot deny this feeling and the impact it has made on my perception. I see myself now as the underdog.

Working hard in private to prove my existence in this sport has developed a roar I didn’t know I had. James 4:10 says, Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you.” I often felt that being the underdog would just lead me to believe that I could only be average. Being the underdog has felt like a permanent position. As if time or my effort would refuse my vision and reject my dream. When this fear arrives, often times in practice, I remember this verse from Isaiah 40:31, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

We may view ourselves as just another athlete not having any real significance if the spotlight isn’t aimed at us. This is a lie. You are more valuable than you could ever imagine in the sight of Who we serve, Christ Jesus. My last semester in college was one of the roughest struggles I’ve ever experienced. Suicidal thoughts, thoughts of condemnation, and living every day as if God didn’t care for me. Psalm 8:4-5 is truth God used to help free me from so much negative thinking. Although I did not fully accept it to be true for me until I came home in June of 2014, this scripture has changed my perception on Who’s we are. “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” We have been crowned in the eyes of God. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and begin to develop a relationship with Him, we take on His perception of us. This is what should keep us going.

No matter what place you come in, no matter how many shots you may miss, or far off your dream may be, God will always be there as the loving Father He is. Before your thoughts touch Him, your heart touches Him in ways we often see not. We are winning women in His eyes, even before the victory comes.

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