The Adventure Continues…

I’ve never camped a day in my life.

When I was 11, I read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and convinced myself I was the reincarnate of Tom Sawyer.  I ran through the woods around our house, bare-footed, building forts out of branches and trying to fashion a make-shift raft for our creek.  I sweat and I climbed and I crawled. But when I heard my dad’s voice echo from our front porch, I ran home to a hot shower and a cozy bed.

That’s the closest I’ve ever come to “roughing it”.

You can imagine my surprise when my cell phone buzzed in early December and after an hour long conversation I realized that I had just committed to climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. More notably, I had just committed to 8 days without a shower. In the hot season. In Africa. Did I just say yes to that?

I’m a firm believer that God has a wonderful sense of humor. And I’m a firm believer that He is going to be cracking up at the end of this month as He sits back and watches me brave the wild wilderness. Heck, I’ll probably be laughing at myself most of the time, too. But I’m more than willing to swat mosquitoes, sleep on the ground, and trek the highest free-standing mountain in the world in order to make the Gospel known.

If you’re as confused as I suspect you are at this point, allow me to rewind a bit and share with you what God is doing in my life right now.  Are you ready for the run-down? I will try to keep it concise…

After I did not make the LSU football in August of 2012, I sold all that I owned, donated the money to my sweet friend Kate (Check out her website & support her here: http://kategoeler.theworldrace.org), packed up my pups and moved back to my hometown–Atlanta.  It was bittersweet saying goodbye to the college town that captivated my heart, but I knew that God was calling me back to Georgia. And I knew that I’d always have a home away from home in the beautiful bayou.

I moved into our new house in Vinings and found myself dizzied with joy as I finally had the opportunity to spend daily time with my magnificent mom and hilarious sister.  I had forgotten how much I loved their regular company.  Through every one of the adversities and hardships our family had endured through the past 4 years, I had always been 500 miles away.  Now I had the opportunity to hug my sister, kiss my sweet mom whenever I pleased, and relish in the small daily splendors of “family”.  My heart overflowed.

I took time to settle, rekindle old friendships, and build new relationships with so many wonderful people.  I found a new church home in Passion City Church and have loved learning and growing under Louie Giglio. There are few people in this world who I believe are truly anointed communicators. Not only is Louie one of those people, he is also a beautiful example of a humble, wise, and God-fearing leader who wants nothing more than to make Jesus known. It’s been an absolute joy seeing the church-body at Passion City move in response to God’s overwhelming presence at PCC. (Plus, it doesn’t hurt to praise and worship with Chris Tomlin’s band every week!)

I started my own business–BOLDLIFE,llc–and began navigating the many obstacles of building a solid professional platform, and associating with the right people.  BOLDLIFE is a managing and marketing entity that handles all of my professional endeavors.  The largest of which being professional speaking.  I have been blessed to have the opportunity to travel the country speaking and sharing my heart with businesses, churches, youth groups, athletic teams, young leaders, and more! I have bounced from Georgia to Alabama to Colorado to Florida to Louisiana–requests have poured in and God has been so faithful in seeing to it that I have steady work and a wide reach.  2013 is booking up quickly and I am in the process of building a full website, starting a non-profit organization, and continuing to be sensitive to God’s will and direction in how He wants to use me and how I can honor Him with my days.  It is my heart to inspire, empower, and encourage this generation to live BOLDLY for the Gospel.

I have also been working some with ESPN.  While we are in the brainstorming phase of what exactly my role may look like with the network–whether we may pursue a continuation of the “Meaux Vs.” series, or structure my involvement in a different way– it has been a fun adventure visiting their headquarters in Bristol, seeing how their systems operate, and getting an opportunity to shake hands and have conversation with some influential people in the sports media world.  I have had the privilege of appearing on ESPNU’s college-geared show, UNITE, several times in the past few months.  And while I have always been a guest in the past, I am thrilled to announce that they have hired me to co-host two episodes this coming week (Monday, Feb. 4th and Tuesday, Feb. 5th). I look forward to learning and growing through the experience. I hope you’ll tune in!

It has not been easy following God’s calling in my life.  There are so many times that I–a creature that craves organization and structure–have found myself drenched in tears, frustrated, tired, and desperately bargaining with God to just show me the 5-year plan. Sometimes I wish He would just lay out what my finances are going to look like, what course I’m going to take, and the detailed checklist of what He wants me to do.  It’s hard waking up each day and trusting that He is orchestrating a bigger picture.  Yet every time I doubt His presence and His provision in my life, He never fails to gently remind me that He has a perfect plan.

Case in point: the early December phone call.

As some of you may remember, last year I had the special opportunity of sharing my testimony as a part of Next Step Ministry’s video series.  (If you haven’t seen the video, you can view it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=7ptcSmKIihA ) Next Step is an organization passionate about getting kids and teens involved in missions work.  They have several locations around the U.S. that they host mission trips to throughout the year.  Each week-long mission trip hosts nightly gatherings in which a video is shown as a part of the program.  My testimony happened to be one piece of the video puzzle last year, and I was thrilled to learn that thousands of kids were impacted by God’s brilliant message of hope through my messy, broken words.

I was also thrilled when Next Step reached out AGAIN and asked me to be a part of their 2013 video series.  My thrill turned to intrigue when they continued on to explain that this year’s video series was going to be slightly different and that I would be woven through each video in the series, rather than just one. And my intrigue turned to shock when they said it was because this year’s video was documentary-style. And that the documentary was going to be shot in Uganda. And Tanzania. And, oh yeah, on the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro–19,341 feet above sea level.

(My inner Tom Sawyer was giddy!)

I’m proud to announce that I will be partnering with the Next Step Ministry team as a contributor to their 2013 video series. We will be leaving February 14th and traveling first to Uganda. While there, we will be highlighting the work done by several missionaries and ministries in the cities of Kampala and Jinja.  This includes Fields of Life (http://www.fieldsoflife.com) , Sole Hope (http://www.solehope.com) , Light Gives Heat (http://www.lightgivesheat.org) , Charity Water (http://www.charitywater.org) , and New York Times Best-Selling Author Katie Davis’ Amazima Ministry (http://amazima.org). I would love if you would take the time to click each of these links and learn a little bit more about the heart of these amazing ministries.  I am so excited to have the opportunity to spend time serving with these organizations and learning more about the nation, their needs, and how these missionaries are impacting people’s lives as the hands and feet of Christ.

After a week in Uganda we will hop a flight to Tanzania and prepare to climb Kili.  This will not only serve as a beautiful portion of the documentary–interwoven into each video within the series–it will also be a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual test of endurance and fortitude.  Preparation and training for the climb has already been taxing, and I have no doubt that the 8-day endeavor will be one of the most challenging and exhausting feats any of us have ever attempted. (I’m not quite sure weight-lifting with a bunch of football meatheads is anywhere near as overwhelming as facing Mother Nature’s grandeur and finding a way to navigate terrain, climate, energy, and will. But don’t tell the big strong boys I said that…ha!)

And so I find myself here. Two weeks away from embarking on a journey I’ve always dreamed of taking. I find myself in the grip of a King who reminds me, in tiny ways and in MASSIVE ways, that He is ordering the days of my life. I find myself recklessly following the footsteps of my Lord with an eager heart and an open mind.  I find myself challenged, sustained, anxious, and eased.  I have no idea what the Lord has in store for my heart during this time, but I cannot wait to find out.  And I cannot wait to share the journey with YOU.

Would you like to join me? Your support would mean more to me than I can express.  Above all else, I would appreciate your prayers.  I am seeking, whole-heartedly, God’s purpose for my life. I trust that He is guiding me and using me as He sees fit and that, through my ministry, lives are being touched by Him.  I am just a vessel, and I want to remain a vessel that is unobstructed, flexible, and pliable to His will. I would appreciate your prayers that He continue to shape He into the woman He has designed me to be–no matter what that calls from my life.

If you feel led to support my ministry in any other capacity–whether it be through written encouragement or financial contribution–I would be honored to connect with you.  I am working to raise funds to cover my expenses for the trip (medical expenses for specialized vaccines, appropriate clothing and required climbing gear), as well as funds to allocate to the various ministries we are connecting with. If this sounds like a way you may feel led to bless the work God is doing through my journey, I would love to hear from you.  Please don’t hesitate to email me at:

moisomspeak@yahoo.com

I hope that is a sufficient recap of the past 6 months for my wonderful family, faithful friends, and fantastic followers. Thank you for your constant love and your loyal readership. I am so grateful for YOU!

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Let It Fly

A wonderful feature piece written by Grantland.com and ESPN.com writer, Jordan Conn.

In other words, my story through the lens of another…

LET IT FLY

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…