How I Became Grateful For Broken Feet

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." - James 1:2-4

I am so grateful I broke my foot! Not just once, but twice. Hard to believe, but as I type this I really am. 

Counter intuitive, right? Let me give you some background. I was recruited to play soccer at the University of Montana. My freshman year God had blessed me and protected me so that my transition into college was a smooth one. I had the opportunity to play and start as a freshman, was voted as Newcomer of the Year, found a church I loved, was awarded an increase in scholarship, and had been blessed with wonderful teammates and friends. Everything was going so well...

I left my freshman season feeling motivated to continue my training and to prepare for, hopefully, an even better sophomore season. But my first day back to training, I broke my foot. My trainer and doctor explained that I was going to need to red-shirt my sophomore season. I stubbornly clung to the hope that I could come back in time to play the last half of that season. Every doctor’s appointment was a letdown and the chances of me getting to play dwindled. Over that semester I became more and more discouraged and depressed.

I felt like I had lost purpose once I couldn’t play soccer and participate with my team.

Having never been injured before, this was uncharted territory for me. My whole life I had identified myself as a soccer player. I found value in that. I found much of my value and purpose in my success as an athlete and, when that was taken away, I was left lost and empty.

During that time, the only thing that brought me comfort was my growing relationship with Jesus. It was only Him that could bring me out of the discouragement of my circumstance. Only Jesus could encourage me.

God used my injury to show me that He was calling me to a greater purpose.

I recognized that God gave me my abilities and passion to serve His Kingdom and to give Him glory, not myself. I grew tremendously and figured that my injury was soon to be behind me.

However, at the end of my red shirt season, I ended up breaking my foot again! I needed surgery, but this time around was completely different. When, as a college athlete, you have your eyes fixed on the Lord and His greater purpose, you no longer worry about how many minutes you play nor individual statistics and awards. My purpose became more about loving and encouraging my teammates. My focus shifted to being a light and example to others, modeling a strong work ethic and positive attitude, despite my circumstances. I found myself sharing the Gospel and using the platform God had given me to show His love to the world. In this time, I felt that I had more purpose than ever! 


In turn, I found freedom from being defined by my performance as an athlete. I found freedom in knowing that I had purpose, despite my circumstances. I developed a deeper relationship with Jesus and found such great joy and peace in my adversity. And that is why I am twice grateful for my broken foot.


Jenna Castillo

I am a former soccer play from Newport Harbor High and the University of Montana. I am currently working towards getting my Masters of Divinity in Pastoral Counseling and am about to start an internship through my church in Montana. I have a heart for young women and encouraging them in their passions and relationships with Jesus.