“His Mosaic”

I fancy myself a mosaic,

a mosaic constructed by God.

Intricately made, passionately displayed,

beautifully humble, yet odd.

 

For I once was I clean sheet of glass,

free from blemish or flaw.

I was polished and buffed, fragile but tough,

pure and simple, yet raw.

 

What you must understand, is a clean pane of glass

reflects light with splendor and awe.

But it lacks dimension, lacks retention

and only shines on an area, small.

 

But God took notice of my flawless pane

and saw potential for greatness and use.

He knew it would sting, He knew I would scream,

but He knew I could withstand abuse.

 

So He sat down, alone, on His sturdy workbench

and slid my heart into a darkened sack.

Though it hurt Him to do, He knew what was True,

so He swung a hammer and felt me crack.

 

The first blow of the hammer, I lost control

and was broken by an evil disease.

It consumed my thoughts, consumed my body,

but His hand still held me with ease.

 

The next blow of the hammer, my father was gone

and the pain split through to my core.

My breaks turned to shatters, my heart was left tattered,

but He knew I could withstand more.

 

The final swing of the hammer and everything stopped,

I stared death in its formidable eyes.

My body was broken, the pain left a token,

but my spirit was ever alive.

 

The King then sat back, with the sack in His hand,

filled with my broken self.

He then gently restored me, gently He poured me

onto a magnificent, heavenly shelf.

 

With much care and patience, God pulled on His gloves

and began to sift through my remains.

He took His sweet time with a vision, divine,

and pulled pieces of virtue and pain.

 

One-by-one He gently placed the fractures He pulled

into an empty and pure frame.

While I struggled and grew, a battle ensued,

and He humbly took all the blame.

 

But He never stopped working, rebuilding my heart,

He toiled throughout many years.

He so often showed grace, loved me through my disgrace,

and in time, He banished my fears.

 

An artist of power and an artist of Truth,

He carefully re-sculpted my heart.

With much concentration and much designation,

the beauty shone through from the start.

 

When His work was complete, He welcomed me back

and led my soul to His humble workbench.

With the pride of a Father in love with His daughter,

He held tight to my hands as they clenched.

 

He pulled back the canvas that shielded His art

and revealed to me His masterpiece.

I was blinded by beauty, in awe of it truly,

and humbly, I fell to His feet.

 

You see His light that shined, through my restructured heart,

shone with glory and refracted abound.

It danced to the ceiling, sparkled with feeling,

and touched all that rested around.

 

Before my adversity, before all the trials,

I was a pane of unweathered glass.

His light could shine through me, but though there was beauty,

it had no opportunity to refract.

 

In breaking me down and building me up,

He had very clever intent.

For now when His light shone with delight,

it was scattered, refracted, and bent.

 

It could reach every corner and touch every heart

that came within its new bounds.

I could now shine His light, with power and might,

to all who yearned to be found.

 

I was humbled in thought that He cared for my heart

with such personal, attentive grace.

It was then that I learned, it was simply my turn,

and that others filled infinite space.

 

You see He works on us all, every single heart,

for we are all His children anew.

He loves us so deeply, and spends time with us neatly,

rebuilding even YOU.

 

I fancy our hearts as mosaics,

mosaics constructed by God.

Intricately made, passionately displayed

Beautifully humble, yet odd.

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My Story (part 19)

“That their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself.”
Colossians 2:2

I likened my mind, at the time, to a large craft table with puzzle pieces scattered on top.  One piece being the concept of a fast. Another piece being His desire for me to be public with my journey. Another piece being His desire for more control. Another piece being my self-confidence. Another being my platform. Another, my vulnerability. And so on. It was a massive puzzle that would have been impossible for me to assemble on my own. It was a puzzle, when assembled completely, that showed a much bigger picture of all that was on my heart. A much bigger picture that was impossible to see by just studying one piece at a time.  A picture of His purpose.

As quickly as I had offered up myself to Him and accepted His calling, the puzzle pieces began sliding into place and assembling themselves.  It was surreal, feeling Him stringing together each piece–allowing me to see portions of His plan. The portions were beautiful.  They were intricate. Little by little, everything began to make so much sense.  I have never experienced anything of that magnitude before. I have never had God, so clearly, reveal to me His purpose.  I was overwhelmed by His fantastic mercy and grace. Though I knew He was just giving me the tiniest taste, I was savoring the flavor–in awe of His grandeur.

He made it very clear to me that, as I told you earlier, He wanted me to give Him the next level of control.  He desired a year-long intimacy fast, and He desired I make every single step of it very public.  He inspired me to name my mission, and inspired me to spread His word as quickly and as passionately as I could.  He purged me of my fear–every trace of hesitation, He eliminated.  He assured me that, if I came to Him in prayer before writing or speaking, it would be He who wrote and spoke through me.  He challenged me to be His vessel. Challenged me to be stronger than I had ever been before, and assured me He would bless me with that strength.  I could go on and on about all that He revealed to me for this year, but that would take countless more blog posts and pages.  The point of my ramblings is to express to you, first-hand, the unbelievable works that I have seen.  By putting aside my own feelings and opinions and, instead, allowing Him to drive my course, I was purged of my fear and apprehension. I was freed from the chains of my desires and rejuvenated in His purpose. It was spectacular!

Where that leaves us, now, at the end of this LONG story, is at the beginning of a new journey.  A journey that will undoubtedly be challenging. Exhausting. Emotional.  But a journey to draw nearer to our King. The bright side? You all won’t have to feel all of the struggles and challenges of the mission, you all will just get to see the beautiful results each day :). But in order to inspire you and teach you of His grace, I will gladly take on those burdens.  I can admit that I will not always have the right answers. I am young in my journey, just as you may be, and I am bound by human tendency as well. I will likely make mistakes and stumble through. However, I WILL achieve His calling and I will always, first and foremost, be pure in my intentions.  I will express nothing to you without first taking it to prayer, studying it passionately, and consulting the spiritual leaders in my life.  But I want to take this walk together, and I am so grateful you have followed up to this point. I hope you will check in throughout the year and maybe learn a thing or two along-side me.

Let’s be exceptional! Let’s be different. Different from everything this world tells us to be. Let’s not just be “cultural Christians”, let’s pursue Him. Pursue His word, pursue His truth, and pursue His kingdom! Let’s give Him control!

My Story (part 18)

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

I have never been fearful of the future. Like many, I have had apprehensions, questions, concerns, and desires. But, I think so many of us are so eager to see what is next, we forget to live in the moment and appreciate the “now.” So anxious to seek immediate gratification and see the fruits of our labor, that we forget to appreciate the journey.  There are massive transitional phases in all of our lives: the movement from middle school to highschool, the movement from highschool to college, the movement from college to the “real world”. Transitions from workplaces, the leap of marriage, the transition to parenthood, among countless others. All of which involve change, vulnerability, and a step into the “unknown.” A lot of times we want to execute these transitions perfectly, and I found my circumstance no different entering into my senior year of college.  I wanted to control every minute of my time–dictate my future, iron out my plans, call all of the shots when it came to planning my future. But, God had a different game plan. And He wasn’t shy to coach me…

After recognizing His request for the next level of control, I found myself humbled in thought.  I continued to pray, asking Him to make clear His plans. It was a shot in the dark, but I was hoping He would at least give me a little feedback.  Without hesitation, He flooded my heart in a sea of realizations. Realizations that, up until that point, I had refused to acknowledge and come to terms with.  I quickly came to realize that, though I knew He had forgiven me, long ago, for my sins and my dark past, I had yet to truly forgive myself.  I carried my guilt like a sac full of weights and allowed it to slow me in my pursuit of Him. He made it clear to me that what He desired was a fast. An intimacy fast. Though I knew close to nothing about the concept of fasting, He assured me that He would teach me. He simply asked that I oblige, and He promised He would make His purpose clear in time. He made clear to me that, in accepting His challenge to complete the year-long intimacy fast, I would not only grow closer to Him, but I would also grow closer to my own heart.  It was not going to be easy, by any stretch, but He laid on my heart the purpose my journey would serve and the impact it would have on others.

So, after a great deal of thought, I entered back into prayer with my King and accepted. I willingly gave Him the next level of control and I promised Him my loyalty. Promised Him that I would show Him a mere crumb of the faithfulness He had always shown me. In my ignorance, I guess, I expected that to be the end of such a fantastic moment.  I suppose I assumed that He would smile on me and I would continue on my way to Baton Rouge, left to figure out the rest in time. But, low and behold, He almost startled me when He spoke AGAIN!…

Now go. Tell everyone. Tell everything.

What?!  Tell everyone?! EVERYTHING? What kind of test was this? I had already accepted His challenge of an intimacy fast, which was going to be tough enough, and now He wanted me to tell everyone? Everything!? I soon found myself back in a one-sided argument. I couldn’t believe that He wanted me to share everything. My past, my present, my future. There was so much pain, so much vulnerability, so many embarrassing mistakes. He couldn’t possibly be asking me to share everything. Who would even care to listen?  (Again, I’m amazed at the patience of our King 🙂 ) I must have rambled on for an hour about every fear and apprehension I had in regards to laying everything out there for the world to know. Where was my sense of privacy? Wasn’t my walk supposed to be kept between myself and my King? If You are desiring intimacy, why are You asking me to open the door for everyone to look inside? After again exhausting myself in thought, I stopped. Finally just stopped and listened again. Hoping, deep down, He would change His mind and ask for something a little bit easier…

Now go. Tell everyone. Tell everything.

Well, there was no dodging that bullet. haha. So I took a moment, sat back, and reminded myself of the prayer I had prayed just a few miles back. “I love You. Help me to love You more. I know You. Help me to know You more.” He was answering my prayer. Maybe not in the form or fashion that I had envision, but, then again, our lives are not our own pictures to paint.

So I accepted. I accepted His request for the next level of control. I accepted His challenge of an intimacy fast. I accepted His request for my journey to be publicized. I knew that He had blessed me with a platform for a purpose, I just wasn’t sure how I was going to use it…

(to be continued…almost done!)

My Story (part 17)

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass … Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” Psalm 37:4,7

Two hours into my drive, my mind was exhausted from juggling all of the information that had flooded over me during the new year. I had yet to take it all to prayer because, in my ignorance, I wanted to figure it all out on my own.  I wanted to have a “game plan” going into my conversation with God so I could be prepared to dodge anything outside of my comfort zone.  (I’m amazed at how patient He is with us 🙂 ) Finally, I gave up on trying to put the puzzle pieces together on my own.  Disgruntled and frustrated, I turned off my radio, let out a grunt, tossed my game plan to the wind, and dove into prayer…

What do you want from me?! What are you asking for here? I have been faithful, I have been following You, I have been disciplined. What more do You want?!  I’m trying the best I can…I’ve already sacrificed so much…what more can I possibly give?!

With all of that pent-up frustration finally off my chest, I took in a deep breath. I have come to learn, in my spiritual walk, to never expect an immediate response. That patience is key when you are searching for answers. Patience is key to a balanced sense of discernment.  That is why it stunned me when, as quickly as I had cried out, He responded!…

Give Me the next level of control…

In those 7 simple words, my heart was moved. It felt like an earthquake shook through me and the doors of a dam within my spirit burst open.  It was simple. Beautiful. A request of unbelievable magnitude, but of humbling nature.  I had been faithful, yes. And I had been disciplined in the pursuit of Him, yes. But what He was asking for was more.

You see, we live in a world where complexity is synonymous with success. Where things must be so complicated in order to encompass inclusion for all. Where there is no simple answer or definitive position, because everyone has an excuse or an exception or a reason as to why not. But God is the exact opposite. He is simple. He asks for so little. It is all very black and white. He grants us free will; grants us the right of choice.  We can choose to follow Him, or we can choose not to. If we choose to follow Him, what He asks for is simple–to give Him complete and total control.  To empty ourselves of “us” and allow Him to fill us with His light. He desires to protect us and to love us, unconditionally. He desires a relationship with us–for us to give Him the reigns and allow Him to lead us for His purpose. Though that is a request of unbelievable magnitude since we, as humans, are wired to be self-centered and in control, it is also a request of beauty. He just wants us to love Him and to trust Him. He asks for nothing without the promise of greater return. Return in our earthly lives, and return in the form of salvation.

With those 7 simple words placed on my heart, I was almost embarrassed at the ignorance I had shown in my state of self-serving frustration.  His request was so beautiful. True, I had given Him some control earlier in my walk, but He had worked on my heart in that time. He had been preparing me, slowly and methodically. And now, He had deemed that I was ready, and He had asked for just a little bit more. You see, God is not so ignorant as to think that the minute we acknowledge Him, we are all capable of turning our lives over to Him 100%. That is nearly impossible. He evaluates us, assures us that He will never give us more than we can handle, and tailors a walk for each of us.  He prepares us, nurtures us, and when we are truly ready for His next request, He asks for more from us.

If I could have fallen to my knees in that moment, I would have. My body was made limp in His moment.  It took me a while to compose myself, but when I did, I stepped back into prayer…

I am Yours. I give You control. I love You so much. Help me to love You more. I know You. Help me to know You more.

I must have prayed that prayer 500 times within the next hour. I was so humbled at His feet.  It was all I could do to express the energy in my heart.  I asked Him to reveal to me what He wished for me to know, and I promised Him I would fulfill His request.  Then, I waited…

(to be continued)

 

My Story (part 9)

“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the Truth with your neighbor, for we are all members of one another” Ephesians 4:25

In my attempt to balance the two powers fighting within my heart, I became something so dangerous, so counterproductive, so misguided, that I left imprints of impurity and confusion along my course.  In my attempt to balance the two powers overwhelming me, I became a false witness.

For those unfamiliar, a false witness is a person who deliberately gives false testimony, or lies.  In a Christian sense, a person who proclaims to know God and speaks of His Truth, but their actions reflect the complete opposite.  Essentially, someone who “talks the talk”, but does not “walk the walk”. The 10 Commandments, in the simplest of terms, are a list of moral standards that Christians strive to live by–a list of the most important, most essential rules.  The Ninth Commandment in the series is simple, direct, and powerful…”Thou shalt not bear false witness…”

In my attempt to control my own life, I was breaking one of the 10 most important rules. On a topic of the utmost importance, I was saying one thing and doing another, likely leaving the individuals I crossed paths with confused and bewildered. Likely leaving individuals, who had the opportunity to see the light of Christ through me, exposed to the twisted maze of Satan’s games.

It’s important for me to share something at this moment. Important for me to break from my story for a minute and humble myself to you. So please read these words with care and with sincerity. Please know that what I say, I truly mean from the deepest caverns of my heart…

To those I affected along my dark journey, I am deeply and truly sorry.  For those I confused, for those I mistreated, for those I neglected…I am so sorry.  I offer up my self, offer up my pride. Whether you felt the repercussions then or have felt them in any way since, I can’t apologize deeply enough.  For the boys I gave pieces of myself to along the way, I’m sorry you weren’t able to see Truth through me. I’m sorry if I confused you, and sorry if I took anything from your heart, as well. I’m sorry I was a false witness and I can only pray, that from this day on, you see what God is doing through me. And you know that what you saw then was not real and was not pure.  What you saw then was not God.

I digress again, back to the fall of 2009.  My sophomore soccer season was not easy without my dad.  Still hosting a battle of epic proportions in my heart, stepping onto the soccer field without my biggest fan in the stands was emotional. Exhausting. Trying.  But the sport that had welded my father and I so tightly together for so many years proved to be a cathartic release. It was an escape that my heart needed. An escape that came at just the right time.

I was on a crash-course for destruction prior to stepping back onto that field.  And though it was an extremely slow and gradual process, as the season progressed and each game slid by, I could feel a layer of the numbness slowly peeling back.  I could feel hints of joy again. The competitive drive that existed so deep in my being sent sparks of hope that gradually accumulated, gradually reignited a fire in my soul. A fire that soon gave me the strength to take a stand. Take a stand against the waging forces that were tearing me apart. Take a stand against the dark feelings that were pulling at my strings like a puppet-master. Take a stand against Satan…

My mom once told me that, in life, the ways in which God reveals himself to us are often subtle and sometimes overseen.  In order for Christ to pour strength into us, we do not  have to witness a production of grandeur or divine splendor. No parting of the clouds or blinding light shining down. No resonating voice booming from the air above us. In fact, those types of experiences are few and far between, often sensationalized by a culture so entranced by only that which they can see, hear, and touch. But rather, God sometimes chooses to show His grace in the simplest of earthly things. It’s simply a matter of us taking to time to see them…

It took time, a great amount of time, but eventually I began to feel Him again. I could smell Him in the freshly cut grass on gameday. I could hear Him in the echoes of cheers that filled the Friday night sky. I could taste Him in the bitter flavor of a cold Gatorade at halftime. I could feel Him in the ticking seconds of the final minutes of every game. I could see Him in the moments that every athlete lives for–the moments of adrenaline and pressure and leadership. God was there. He had always been there. Patiently waiting for me to see Him in the stands…

(to be continued)

My Story (part 7)

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness…” 1 John 1:9

The next chapter of my testimony is undoubtedly the hardest and most painful to share.  For it’s easy to write about the trials and misguidance of another, but to make public my own personal sins–terrifying.  To open up about my darkest period, a period where I so boldly turned my back to our King, is not only humbling, but also embarrassing. However, the Lord ensures us that those who are faithful to Him and follow His plan for their lives will not be destroyed.  Isaiah 54:4 reminds us, “Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.  You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the sorrows…” So, with the Lord as my guide and my Redeemer, I have the courage to share with you the darkness that I’ve seen.

After my daddy’s death, I was overwhelmed by a numbness. A numbness so debilitating, so crippling, it made it hard to even think.  I began to foster feelings I had never truly known before. Feelings of passionate hatred. Feelings of resentment. Feelings of confusion, jealousy, pain.  Feelings of envy, impatience, obsession.  Feelings of loneliness, inadequacy, weakness. Feelings of fear, crippling fear, and selfishness. Feelings of abandonment–not only abandonment from my father, but abandonment from my God.

I felt a hole so deep and so painful in my heart that it literally burned in my chest. I felt numb to any kindness or compassion shown to me, convinced that absolutely nobody knew what I was feeling. Convinced that nobody could relate to my situation or totally grasp how torn my world was. I was shattered. I could feel the tightening grip of Satan’s cold fingers and the sting of his hot breath down my spine. He was gaining power, gaining strength from my vulnerability. Sucking me of my innocence, my ambition, my light. Capitalizing on my weakness and catering to my darkest emotions. He was waiting to tempt. Waiting to win me over…

It’s hard to understand how someone so wrapped in love and surrounded by support could feel so unbelievably alone. I guess I knew how my father had felt. I valued myself, at the time, as a magnificent actress.  I was a modern-day Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hide.  In the public’s eye and to my family, I was so strong. A woman of character and a woman of grace.  A wonderful example of Christ’s mercy and love……Oh, the irony. Behind closed doors and in my spirit, I was dark. I was lost. I was self-absorbed in my own grief and selfish in my ways.  I was so desperate for that gaping hole in my heart to be filled, that I lost myself trying to find myself.

I was back at LSU and back in the bayou of temptation.  Though I was surrounded by magnificent support and love and friendship, I was only able to retain remnants of the strength they offered.  There was a part of my heart that wanted to receive that warmth, part of me that was still that innocent girl watching her proud daddy cheering in the stands. Part of me that yearned for that normalcy and purity.  But Satan capitalized on my depression. Satan was never far from me, constantly whispering to me that normalcy was an illusion. Convincing me that I would never be normal again, and reminding me that I was now in control–that I was capable of  finding my own happiness. Convincing me that the only way to fill that hole in my heart was to indulge in all that sin had to offer.

Afterall, Satan told me, I had tried to find Truth through Christ…and look where that had left me…

(to be continued)

My Story (part 2)

“…For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more…” Luke 12:48

With the control placed back in God’s hands, I entered college a semester early and began to adjust to a very new life.  Eager to explore all that my new home had to offer, I was consumed by the excitement and intensity of change.  I stumbled, as many young freshmen do, in finding my identity and learning the ins and outs of my new routine, but I eventually found my footing and focused on my passion–soccer.

That first spring was a time of adjustment and discipline.  Isaiah 40:29 says that “He gives power to the weak. He increases the strength of he who has no might.” And that was most certainly what our King did.  He invigorated my spirit and inspired my heart. By giving Him control, I was able to not only grow in my faith, but physically as well, in a healthy manner.  I worked, relentlessly, taking no shortcuts in my development and, come fall, I was entirely prepared to step onto the field and help lead my team to greatness.

There were many astounding events that defined my first fall season as a Tiger–many overwhelming blessings God placed in my lap almost as to say, “Here. I am rewarding you for pursuing My truth. In turn, remember where to give the glory.” Little did I know, he was building me a very large platform from which to proclaim His name.  A platform that was almost overwhelming.  You see, in my second true game as a collegiate goalkeeper, I lined up to take a routine free-kick right outside of my box, and ending up scoring a goal! A 90 yard goal that took one bounce over the other goalkeepers head and made its way into the back of the net! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3E-dgyo_jw) A feat never achieved before. A feat I most certainly could not have accomplished with my own power and strength.  A feat that most clearly was designed by our King.  Next thing I knew, the goal was splashed across the television, magazines, and the internet.  Appearing as a #3 play on SportsCenter Top10 plays (an extreme rarity for women’s college soccer), strewn across the pages of Sports Illustrated, and linked onto YouTube, Break.com and countless other sites,  the energy of that play took on a life of its own. LSU Soccer was put on the map in a matter of moments, and the recognition and attention seemed to come to our team effortlessly.  However, the thing I was most proud of was something that nobody else saw that day….

I remembered, as I lined up to take that kick, looking up into the stands and seeing my daddy sitting right beneath the press box.  Now before I tell you of my most vivid memory from that evening, there are some things you should understand about my father. There are few other men as proud of their families as my daddy was of his.  Few other men that have sacrificed more to see their children succeed, and few others that have supported their children’s endeavors more passionately. My dad was my biggest fan, my cheerleader, my coach, my jury, my confidant, my disciplinarian, and everything in between.  He was a stoic man, a thoughtful man. A child at heart and an observer. A comedian with the most magnificent smile, but a private man often drowned in his inner-dialogue and thoughts. Though our relationship had experienced its share of strains and tensions (primarily due to the fact that were both as stubborn as a couple of mules), he loved passionately. And no matter where I traveled to play, my daddy was always in the stands.

But to digress, I saw my daddy beneath the press box as I lined up to take that kick. After watching the ball bounce into the net, the crowd erupted. The team came sprinting towards me, the fans shook the stadium with cheers and applause, and the announcer’s voice boomed over the loud-speaker.  However, in the midst of that explosion, I could only hear one voice in the stands.  A voice yelling with the echoes of a pride that is born so deep within our hearts, it cannot be imitated–only felt.  A pride and excitement so organic, so true, that you feel it’s vibrations in the fibers of your being.  My dad was yelling so loudly, I thought he was going to explode.  Looking up, I saw a smile strung wider than any I have ever seen before (I swear his teeth were touching his ears).  I saw a joy beaming so fantastically from him, he took on a glow. And as the game continued and the play progressed, that man was still screaming. Still cheering so loudly, I doubt the men in the press box could even hear themselves think.  Ten minutes later…still cheering. Oozing with a passion that seemed to be waiting to overflow.  A passion that a man, so disciplined in his demeanor, could not control.  A passion, I would later learn, I was fortunate to witness. For that is the moment of which I was most proud.

Throughout the rest of that season, my daddy was always there.  A relationship blossomed between he and I that was so beautiful and pure, I am humbled to have been a part of it.  The season was record-breaking–quite literally.  In my pursuit of the King, I broke every record ever set by a goalkeeper at LSU and began to contend for conference prestige.  I helped lead my team to new heights and was able to experience, firsthand, the power that athletics play in so many people’s lives.  There is no doubt in my mind that God constructed my platform for a much bigger purpose than I could even understand at that time.  A purpose I am fulfilling now, 3 years later.  There is no doubt in my mind that God fostered the improvement in my and my father’s relationship when he did for a very specific reason, as well.

At the end of my fall semester, I was on top of the world. Named All-American, Louisiana Freshman of the Year, Freshman All-SEC…I was invincible.  In a passionate pursuit of Christ, I felt I had the world figured out.

That was until I returned to Georgia for Christmas break and, on January 2, 2009, my daddy didn’t come home…

My Story (part 1)

Understand, first and foremost, that I do not share my story so that ‘Mo Isom’ can be known.  I share my story so that God’s grace can be seen. I am a witness. I am a vessel. I am just one of His many tools–and proudly so. My explanations may seem vague and brief, but throughout the year and throughout my journey, details will be revealed and elaborated upon. For my trials are the stepping stones that guide my path.

My entire life has been a battle for control with our King. I was raised in a Christian household, attending church every Sunday (which, for most of my childhood, consisted of doodling on the prayer cards and fighting the urge to fall asleep during long sermons).  Nevertheless, I was reared in a happy home…a peaceful home…a humble home.  Being a “Christian” was what I knew and what was comfortable. But, like many young kids, that is where the pursuit of the faith rested stationary.

My parents were all that a young girl’s parents should be–supportive, passionate, encouraging, humble, patient, strict, loving, proud.  (the list could continue on to fill the pages of this blog, but more will be touched on throughout the year)  They sacrificed so much to see me succeed, whether it be in the classroom, my relationships, or my athletics.

Going into highschool, I wanted control.  I wanted to be in the driver’s seat for this new, exciting phase of my life–I wanted to call the shots.  I had ambition the size of a mountain and an ego to match.  But with personal pride, comes corruption, and as I tried so desperately to steer my speeding course, I lost control along the way.  The demands of my academics, the pressure of my growing soccer career, and the overwhelming expectations I felt to succeed pushed me down a slippery slope. And once I hit the bottom, I fell into an illness of obsession and control.

I developed an eating disorder that overwhelmed every aspect of my life.  What started as bulimia evolved into a combination of anorexia and bulimia, some days eating so little as a piece of fruit and purging it shortly after.  My illness grew to the point where I was forcing myself to throw up close to 10 times a day. When my fingers could no longer stimulate my gag reflexes, I started using objects. Toothbrushes, the base of hair brushes, anything that would cause me to vomit.  Eventually, my body became so accustomed to pushing the food back up, I found that I couldn’t even keep food down.

The calories that my brain convinced me were still inside of me had to be burnt somehow.  With my soccer career progressing and the pressure to be the best riding heavy on my shoulders, exercise became my absolute obsession.  In the summer of my freshman year, I began exercising close to 6 hours a day. Religiously, obsessively. Running constantly, lifting weights, sprinting stadiums, then repeating it all over again.  With no fuel in my body to engage my energy stores,  I turned to pills. Any dietary pill I could possibly take that would provide me with energy, I took. I was weak, broken, hurting on the side, strained, tired, empty.

I’ve come to learn that our popular society today is Satan’s biggest cheerleader.  Throughout all of the pain, the abuse of my body, the neglect and obsession, I found myself succeeding by society’s norms.  I was finally selected onto the Regional Olympic team, began traveling the world playing soccer, won beauty pageants, fielded new compliments of “how beautiful” I looked, was signed with a prestigious modeling agency, and eventually signed a Division I scholarship.  But at what cost?

I am not trying to take away from the successes and the character, discipline, and perseverance it took to achieve them, but my disorder did play a part.  It defined my highschool years. It was a secret I hid so carefully, so methodically, that it would have most certainly ruined me had it gone on.  Satan has a funny way of deceiving us…of blinding us to what’s True by cloaking our pain in success.  But I was empty, I was broken, and I was thirsty for the Love I once knew…

So 6 months before I was set to enroll at LSU, I came clean to my mom. I spilled the darkness I had endured for 4 years and I pleaded for help. I entered therapy and consulted with a nutritionist, worked diligently to overcome my disease, and worked relentlessly to rebuild my relationship with Christ. After a great deal of learning and rebuilding, I made a very serious promise to my mom before leaving for LSU. I promised her that I would not fall back into the hands of my old demons. I promised her that I would not digress.

Through our gracious, unfailing, forgiving King–my strength was renewed.  I gave control back to Christ and made my way to the Bayou…..