When I was four and a half, I started my very first gymnastics class. I still vaguely remember myself watching the 1996 Olympics on the little TV in my parent’s room dreaming and dreaming about one day becoming an Olympian. I truly believe that ever since I started gymnastics, that was my ultimate dream…even when I was just a little girl.
Four years later, I was an addict to the sport. I literally couldn’t stop. From handstands, to cartwheels, to walking on the edge of the sidewalk pretending it was a balance beam, everything in my life revolved around gymnastics. It was practically my oxygen…I felt like I couldn’t live without it.
Another four years later, I’m in the gym almost 8 hours a day. It became my full-time job at the age of 12. I honestly would have done ANYTHING to be an Olympian. I didn’t care how many rips, bruises, scars, or tears it would take to get there. I didn’t care if my body hurt. I just didn’t care. I was determined to win over any obstacle that would get in the way of my dream. My ultimate dream.
Two years later, I was forced to quit the only thing that meant the world to me. I felt lost and betrayed by the sport. I had been in the gym pretty much my entire life, and now it felt like I didn’t know who I was anymore. I couldn’t identify myself without gymnastics. It felt like an impossible task that I would never overcome.
Slowly but surely, I made it. Everyday got better and better. I found myself in things that I had no idea made me happy. They felt like hidden gems that God had placed in my heart for me to seek and find. It was the coolest experience.
By the age of 18, I had overcome five surgeries — one for my elbow, two for my hip, and two for my knee. By the grace of God, I am fully healed. I can jump, run on concrete, dance, etc. I am so incredibly thankful.
Gymnastics was not a mistake. If I had the chance, I’d do it over again in a heartbeat. I believe it shaped and molded me into who I am today, and I am so incredibly thankful for it. But for right now, in THIS moment, I KNOW who I am and what I’m supposed to do with my life. It is seriously the coolest feeling I have ever known, and I cannot wait to passionately live it out.
All that to say, I finally have a brand new ultimate dream. And honestly, it makes me 100 times more excited than being an Olympian. Being an Olympic level athlete can only happen once, but freeing the brokenhearted from their chains can happen every single day of my life. God has placed a fire inside me to spark hope in people’s lives for their personal dreams. I want to encourage everyone I talk to to passionately go after what God has placed in their hearts. I know this is what God has placed in my heart, and I think it’s finally time to let it out.