It's not a matter of saying, "Man, I'm injured. Guess I'll just hang on the sidelines now." It's about my attitude. That's what it's always been about, I suppose. This whole time I've been struggling with why this is happening to me. How can I make this about growing in Christ and not wallow in my own misery? I had no idea. I'm still not quite sure, but I do know that there is a reason for it. We don't go through hell on earth for nothing.
In church this morning, I began to think about why we go through trials. Don't think that I'm about to go all prophetic and expose a great revelation; I think this is something I just kind of realized. It's something every Christian has thought about, I'm sure. Especially when we come across verses like Romans 5:3-5 --
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.
I was first confronted with these verses in my freshman year by my boyfriend at the time. I was struggling with major frustration stemming from my calf issues (the eventually discovered chronic compartment syndrome). He gave me these verses, and it hurt me in a way. I thought, "How on earth could I be joyful about this? I just want to get through it, be done with it." However, they were in a way inspiring; I would be stronger because of what I was dealing with. It was a promise.
What if we didn't have trials? We would slide along through life with no speed bumps, no potholes, no worries, no frustrations.
But where would we end up?
We are born in sin. Just to curb that soapbox, we basically create our own trials - in a way. I won't get into that now, because that is not my focus for this spiel. Anyway, as a Christian, I came to the realization that I needed something more than myself to live and live well. I was hopeless without Christ. And having gone through what I've gone through, I know without a doubt that without my Savior, I would not be here today. I'm not saying that I have had even a halfway rough life; I am saying that I would have given up trying to make sense of everything - given up even trying - were it not for God pushing me forward, holding me up, telling me to keep going. There have been a few moments when I asked God to make me get back up, because I couldn't do it on my own. And He did. He made me return to my feet, fully leaning on Him. Do you know what that feels like? Sitting at rock bottom, waiting for something to appear, a foothold to reveal itself - and God takes your hand and pulls you back up. Just knowing that He wants to do that, yearns to do that, is in itself incredible. God was (and is) the only one who could save me. I couldn't do it, my family couldn't do it, my friends, anyone. No one but God. And although I went through fire to feel it, I believe I would do it all again: Because feeling that was feeling close to God, feeling His ultimate and unending love for me. And who am I to get that? Who am I to know what it feels like? NO ONE. But He wanted that for me. He had it all in His plan. I questioned Him, and He stayed faithful. He doesn't question me. He knows my soul, my heart, my all. He knows what I can handle, how much I can take. When I'm pushed past my breaking point, HE IS THERE. When I am weak, He is strong.
There is more to going through trials than the getting through; there are the moments when you get to use your experience, your heartaches, to help someone else. I've been talking with one of the younger soccer girls and have been able to say, "I know what you're going through, " to something she is struggling with. It's fulfilling. I am always looking for chances to help people, to be there for people. To know that I can encourage others that might be going through the same things I once went through is exciting. I have something to say! I have advice that comes from experiencing these things firsthand! So it's humbling now, to know that I have to be strong and faithful no matter what, because I want to be able to say that I did my best. I took the situation I was in and I found my way to God, I put my trust completely in Him. All that makes me thankful for my trials, for I realize now that it's not just about me. It's not just about me growing personally or spiritually. It's about touching others and helping them make it through - maybe even better than I myself did the first time around. This is the part where I assist others in learning from my mistakes. Why should I be the only one to learn from them?
So this past Wednesday morning, I was thinking about what the doctor would say. I was practically certain that I would be told to rest for a month or so. I was worried about it and thinking about how I would talk to Coach about redshirting the season. Then I stopped. I thought, this is ridiculous. Why am I spazzing about this? God has it in control. I don't know what He wants to do with this, but He always has a reason. Although I don't know that reason yet, I have to trust in Him and His plan, because He knows what He is doing. So I prayed that He would give me peace about the situation. I prayed that I would accept whatever happened - out for the season or not. I prayed that I would take this and grow and learn from it. I didn't know what was going to happen, I didn't know how I would become stronger through this: But I laid it down. I went to the doctor and he told me I could possibly play in a week. I wasn't positive that my knee would be better that soon after all this time, but I once again let it go. If God wanted my knee to be healed in a week (or less), it would happen. If not, so be it. I trust in my God, and my God alone.