Have you ever had that moment in your life where you think, “How did I get here?” That moment came for me when I was 25 and getting ready to fly to Florida to try out for the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) to become a diva – a glamorous wrestler in the women’s division. Less than two weeks before I left, I found out I was pregnant. I was two and a half months pregnant and without a husband. On top of that, the father was trying to convince me to have an abortion. I went from a virgin to a single mom in about 4 months’ time.
How did I get here?
Fast forward to now – five years later – where I’m an author, world record holder, TEDx speaker and on my way to set another world record this spring. Again I ask the question – How did I get here? I want to share my story with you and the lessons I have learned over the past five years.
As a young girl, my life was pretty good. I was class president and captain of my sports’ teams. I played varsity volleyball, soccer, and track all four years of high school and loved it. I desired to live my life for God – to be my best and do my best for Him. I loved being a Christian and living for Jesus, even though I would get teased by some people. I didn’t care because living for Jesus was worth it. But, my exit from high school was the beginning of a shift in my life. It’s when I decided I would decide what was best for my life, rather than trust that God knew what was best for me.
My dream was to play professional soccer, so I only applied to one college – Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA. I said, “if I get in, I’ll go, and if not, I’ll pursue a professional career in soccer”. I got in to Westmont College and it was a complete disaster. I ended up transferring to Cal State Fullerton and then again to Cal State Bakersfield. To this day, I still don’t have a college degree. I thought I knew what would bring purpose to my life. I thought, “If I found success in these areas, I would be someone and I would have purpose in my life.”
You see, a new pattern in my life began to form – I would make plans, decide what I wanted to do and then pray for God’s approval of my plan. Not only did this affect my career, but this is also what lead me to becoming sexually active. I would wonder why God wasn’t sending me a “good guy” – a guy that would wait for me or treat me respectfully. So I decided to take things into my own hands and continue to fall back on that old pattern. I can handle things myself, I would think to myself. We all know where that got me…
Becoming pregnant was my wake-up call, to say the least. It was in this season of my life when I realized that I had to surrender my life to God. My plans were not working – I had lost WWE, was not able to play soccer professionally, and I was pregnant! All I could do is rely on God.
As with all things, God works things out for our good and His glory. But, it’s not without sorrow and disappointment as well. I wept and grieved when my old dreams died, but as those dreams faded away, the Lord presented me with new opportunities. He placed new dreams in my heart. Through this, I saw his faithfulness and provision in my life. I became an author and this new passion allowed me to step into the speaking arena to share my story with others. Then, another opportunity came up to set a world record playing soccer at the highest altitude – on Mt. Kilimanjaro. When I returned from this adventure, I was nominated to be a TEDx speaker. I didn’t ask for any of these things, but The Lord continued to bless me abundantly!
Looking back, I realize that over the past 10+ years, many things in my life did not turn out how I planned and I had to die to some of my dreams. My dreams of college and professional soccer died, and my vision of my ideal family went away when I became a single mom. And the reality is that the death or loss of something can bring great pain, sorrow and fear. But, it simply means that something is ending. And each ending is a chance for a new beginning. My identity as a soccer player may have died, but with each “death”, I actually gained. I gained my life, my purpose, freedom and my identity in Christ. In trying to save and control my life, I lost it and couldn’t even recognize who I had become. God allowed me to die to things, so I could truly live.
Take courage if you feel as though you’re “dying” right now or if you are feeling like certain dreams or desires in your life are “dying”. Remember – the darkest nights come right before the dawn and God is using all things to draw you to Him. He works all things together for the good of those who believe. (Romans 8:28)
My encouragement to you today is to get lost. Turn up the music and get lost in praise. Shut everything else out and get lost in prayer. Forget your own desires and plans and get lost in His adventure for you. Whatever you do – get lost in Him – so that you may be found once more.
Jasmine is on a mission to encourage, heal and empower! She is a former professional soccer player, world record holder, author, motivational speaker and mother. Jasmine uses her stories and knowledge to speak into lives all over the world and is getting ready to set another world record with Equal Playing Field this spring.