“Whoever walks with the wise will become wise; whoever walks with fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20
Even though I was not at the pinnacle of my game due to the time spent in recovery from the accident and the immediacy of the invitation to camp, I was still able to have a fantastic showing with the National Team and was provided a platform to continue my discipleship.
The next portion of my testimony will be vague, because it is a topic that I want to climb much deeper into later during the year. A topic I feel will be most beneficial for younger adults and friends around my age. However, I want to include a tag to this relationship within my story, because it provided more guidance, strength, and encouragement than any I have come across before. And it also plays a part in why I have taken on the challenge of remaining “Kissless ’till Next Christmas”.
A spiritual mentor of mine once taught me a lesson that I will carry with me for all of my days. He informed me that: a woman should never pursue a man. A woman should pursue a deeper, more intimate relationship with Christ. In turn, Christ will then inspire the man, constructed perfectly for her, to pursue her heart. And in doing so, the man will be drawn closer to God as well.
It seems cliché to say that as soon as you stop looking to find someone, someone comes along. However, that was precisely what happened to me half a year after my accident. At the same time that God was rewarding me with the splendor of athletic progress, he also sent a man into my life whom I will respect and cherish forever. A man I was not looking for. A man I did not plan on finding. But a man who walked so humbly into my life, that I couldn’t help but take notice.
I met Joey when I was sharing my testimony at a FCA in Louisiana. An excellent musician, he was there leading praise and worship for the group. The minute I met him, I was entranced. He was my complete opposite. Shy, reserved, a man of few words. He was not my “type”, not my taste. But I was mesmerized. There was something different about him. Something I couldn’t put my finger on. His eyes told a story of his purpose. He was unfazed by the standards of our society. Unamused by the earthly manifold. He was living for One–and it shined through him.
Quite commonly known, 1 Corinthians 15:13 instructs us, “Do not be mislead. Bad company corrupts good character.” In turn, there are countless other verses in the Bible that assure us of the inverse. Assure us that, in surrounding ourselves with the right people and those in pursuit of Truth, our hearts can be nurtured and our spirits can grow.
Over the course of the next 6 months, Joey and I journeyed through the most Christ-centered relationship that I have ever known. It was beautiful. It was simple. It was pure, and it was healthy. It was a relationship of purpose and a relationship of love. Love for one another, but above all else, love for our King. Each pursuing Christ on our own separate walks, we were able to encourage one another, challenge one another, and inspire one another to grow. Joey was a man of conviction. He was exceptional. A man who believes every single word in the pages of the Bible and applies them, first and foremost, in every single thing he does in his life. He was a man that had a past, like many, but a man that had a future. A future with our King.
Being surrounded in the company of such conviction and strength taught me more about our Lord than any bible study lesson or church service ever had before. Because I was not simply sitting and listening to words, I was observing a man living them out to the best of his ability. Stumbling and slipping at times, but picking himself back up and continuing his journey to Christ. He was like a horse with blinders on. He had one focus, and that focus was salvation. That focus was our King. All else in his life fell perfectly into place, because he recognized true importance and invested his whole heart into it.
You may be wondering, why then, I ended my relationship with Joey–as swiftly and as bluntly as the turning of a page. But the answer to that lies in my current calling. The answer to that can only be described in feeling. A feeling God placed on my heart and a mission He desired that I fulfill. A mission that would impact so many more than just myself…
(to be continued)