In my pre-teen years, I was obsessed with gymnastics. For someone who only had lessons for one 1 ½ hour class a week, I dedicated nearly all my time, energy, and dreams to this cause. I read magazines, checked out every book in the library (over and over and over), cart-wheeled and handsprang incessantly with my best friend in the yard, dreamed of the Olympics, schemed for how to earn enough money to compete, formed a team with the neighbors, and loved to watch famous gymnasts. My hero was Nadia Comaneci, a gymnast from Romania who received the first ever perfect 10.0 in 1976 Olympics in Montreal. I played Nadia’s Theme on the piano every day. I adored her coach. I read both her autobiographies twice, and as an 11-year-old, mom let me write my book report about her story. She even made me a leotard just like Nadia’s. It was white with red, yellow, and blue stripes down the sides. Even though I didn’t have anything that resembled her warm-up suit, I was incredibly happy.
As a 13-year-old, I started seeing what it really meant to be follower of Jesus. It was pretty simple: follow Jesus. I knew God didn’t want me to pursue gymnastics, but it was everything to me, and that was the problem. After seeing other peers loving Jesus with all their hearts, I decided to leave it all for Him. The next morning, I told my mom I was quitting gymnastics, and I felt the greatest joy I have ever known. It was the first decision I made to choose God’s way over mine, and I believe it marks the real beginning of my journey with Jesus.
From there, I started letting God lead everything. I learned about doing hard things, which led to competitive speech and debate, which gave me necessary skills I needed to staff with TeenPact, which is where I met Jimmy, who God used to lead me to Dandelion School. And Dandelion School during this semester, there were several times when I looked back over my journey with God, and wondered what had been the point of all my investment in gymnastics. Had it been a time completely wasted? Surely not.
But when I returned home this week, I discovered something amazing (to me, at least). Mom and I both noticed the colors of the Dandelion School uniform I had bought. I ran upstairs and pulled out that small, faded leotard mom had made me eight years ago. It took my breath away, and I hope you can see why.
I wanted to win gold medals. But now I know that the reward of loving Jesus and others is so much greater and eternal. I wanted to be a champion. But now I know that because of Jesus, I am one.
This is a small, simple story. But what I’ve seen and what I hope you learn is that God wastes nothing. He is intentional in everything, and truly works all things together for the good of those who love Him. When I cared more about Nadia than about His will, He already knew I would go to Dandelion School. The colors could have had nothing to do with each other, but they do. And I believe this is just the beginning.
Whatever you’re going through now, remember that God works for His glory and His purpose. He says in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” If you are a follower of Jesus, you have been called according to His purpose, and He will work all things together for good. I believe that, even when I can’t see, and I pray you will know it as well.