Have you ever fallen down really hard? Maybe your mom poured that liquid in a brown bottle on your scraped-up knee? Or maybe you stubbed your toe? Now, what does all of that have in common?
All of those examples are about being hurt. I am a very injury prone person, so I know a thing or two about being hurt. But sometimes there is a greater hurt than physical pain. Whether it’s a breakup or maybe people at school or work are rude to you, eventually one day life is going to slap us all in the face.
This was the day that changed my life forever. A quick little backstory: Going into my sophomore year of high school my best friend and I committed to training for basketball everyday, and that is exactly what we did. We worked out, we played pickup games, and we practiced our skills. We both made the varsity summer league team, and we both performed very well. We were both told that we would most likely make our school’s varsity team as well.
11/13/19 was a normal Wednesday at WHS. The only twist, it was the day we would find out who made the team. The athletics period came and Logan and I were working out. They called me in and told me I would just be a “practice player”. A practice player meant I didn’t get to play in the games, but I got to run suicides, do drills whenever they let me, and watch the team from the stands. I was shocked and couldn’t believe it. After the period I was sitting in class just thinking to myself, “I know I should be on this team. I’m a good player.”
All of a sudden, I was called out of that class to go home. Confused, I got in the car with my dad. His face was white as a ghost. We drove over to the elementary school where he told me to stay in this car because I would be driving it home. My baby sister got in the car, and she asked where we were going. As soon as she asked that I saw my mother and father walk out of the building. My mother was crying and my father was holding her. Maggie thankfully didn’t see that. I immediately went into big brother mode and drove to where she couldn’t see my mother crying. That hour drive home was the longest drive of my life. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what it was. On top of that I had to act like everything was ok because of Maggie being in the car. We finally arrived at the house and my dad broke the news. My sweet MiMi had passed away.
I was devastated. I had just seen my grandmother two weeks before. Thankfully, I got one of her amazing hugs and got to hear her say “Mavo” one last time.
In one day I was told I wasn’t good enough to make the team and my MiMi had passed away. I was angry with God, and I asked over and over,“How could you do this to me?”
One night I put my Bible up, and I moved my Bible app on my phone to where I could no longer see it. I still went to church, but I never paid attention. I stopped praying and reading my bible. I cut off connection with God. I stopped hanging out with my friends as much, and I pushed everyone I loved and cared about away. I remember there was one night I looked in the mirror and was disgusted. I had grown to hate myself, and I no longer believed in myself. I had officially hit rock bottom.
After my sophomore year I moved to Hardin-Jefferson, and I decided I was going to try out for the basketball team. On paper I didn’t stand a chance to make the team. HJ is a prestigious basketball program with multiple state championships, state ranked in 4A, and they make the playoffs every year. So if I couldn’t make the team at a smaller school how could I make it here? I tried out and not only did I make it, but I had the best season ever. None of it would have been possible without Coach Paul Sims. Coach Sims brought me out of the dark place I was in, and when he showed me that he believed in me and that he had confidence that I could produce at a high level for his basketball team, I started to believe in myself again. I started to love myself and life again. For Coach Sims I am forever grateful, but don’t ever call him Paul because he will make you run suicides for it.
While I did start to enjoy my life again I still had so much anger and hurt towards God. I also had no relationship with him. The summer going into my senior year I went to church camp, but I didn’t learn a thing. I just went to hang out with my friends. Then, on November 9, 2021 HJ was playing against my old school in basketball. With seven minutes to go in the game I finally got to check in. As I was walking on to the court I remember seeing the clock and seeing 7 minutes to go and thinking to myself, “Huh, MiMi was born on March 7th.” I brushed it off and started to focus on the game. I proceeded to have one of the best games I had ever played. On our last offensive possession I caught the ball at the top of the three point line and I shot and swished it. As soon as it went through I saw the clock and time froze for me. There was seven seconds left on the clock, again my MiMi was born on March 7th. Then I heard thirteen in my head. I realized that I had scored thirteen points, and I immediately thought back to 11/13/19. In my head I was thinking, “11/13/19. Holy cow! I scored thirteen points, thirteen, thirteen.” Then out of nowhere for the first time in two years I felt God’s presence. All of the pain, suffering, and anger it all just went away. It truly was the biggest weight lifted off of my chest and shoulders. Reality came back and a player for my former school shot. I grabbed the rebound as time expired, and for a split second as I held the ball I thought, “Thank you.” I was swarmed by my teammates. We were all jumping up and down and celebrating for the game we had just played. When we got back to the school I opened up my bible app for the first time in two years. I randomly selected a verse and it was Hebrews 13:8 which says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Fast forward to today I read my bible and I pray everyday, and my relationship with God is great!
I realized that God never abandoned me like I thought he did. The incredible thing is he never has, and he never will. I wish I knew that back then so I didn’t have to go through everything I went through alone. But now that I know what I know, I can help people realize that they don’t have to go through tough times alone. I am hoping that by people reading this they realize that no matter how big the problem is, whether it’s someone passing away, bills, relationships, or work God will never leave your side. He will help you get through it. God never abandoned me, and he never will abandon you!