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Amanda Denton, McNeese State, Soccer

by carmine on April 30, 2013


 

 

I was born and raised in the small town of Baytown, Texas.  Growing up I wasn’t taught much about Christianity or God. My family and I went to church every once in a while, but we definitely weren’t Christians. I have a sister who is 8 years older than me and she played every sport possible growing up, so of course I wanted to be just like her. Thankfully, I was pretty athletic so most sports just came naturally to me.  I played t-ball, soccer, basketball, I was on the swim team, and I even gave cheer leading a try for a couple of years. 

When I was in the first grade, my elementary school held a vision and hearing test for all students. I passed the hearing test with flying colors, but I didn’t do so hot when it came to the vision test. I could see perfectly out of my right eye, but absolutely nothing out of my left eye. Like any freaked out parents would do, my mom and dad took me to every doctor they could think of to figure out why.  After having tons of tests run on me, they concluded that I wasn’t born with enough optic fibers in my left eye to send the message of what I should be seeing to my brain in order to create a picture for me to see. Apparently, we are supposed to have about 2 billion of these optic fibers in each eye and I only have a couple hundred thousand in my left eye. Here’s the craziest part, every other single part of my left eye works perfectly, if you were to look me in the eyes you would never be able to tell that all I see is a bunch of black dots on my left side. It sounds pretty cool, but back then I hated it. The doctors and my parents decided it wasn’t safe for me to play sports that included a ball (basically all of the sports I liked) because if I were to ever get hit in my right eye I could possibly become 100% blind. This was the start of me playing the”Why Me?” game.  If there was a God, why did he make me like this, why did he allow this to happen to me? 

After months of disobeying my parents, my stubbornness paid off. They realized I loved sports and agreed to let me play.  Life was great and I was enjoying every second of it.  The summer going into my 8th grade year everything changed when my parents decided to get a divorce. I was completely blindsided (pun intended. That same summer my sister got a scholarship to play soccer and had to report to college to start preseason, which left me with no one to help me through that difficult time. Once again, I found myself asking, why me?  If there was a God, and he’s supposedly so awesome, why would he let this happen? I was a good kid, I did good in school, never got in trouble, I was doing good in sports..why me? If God existed I wanted absolutely nothing to do with him. 

  In high school, I fell into the stereotypical high school scene. I started escaping my reality of a broken home and finding what I thought was happiness in parties, alcohol, boys, and most of all sports. I ran as far away from God as possible.  My junior year in high school has turned out to be the most important year of my life so far. I began to get recruited from universities all over the country and it looked like my dream was starting to become a reality. On November 2, 2010 (yes, I still remember the date) At my club soccer practice I fractured my left hip. Thankfully, I didn’t need surgery to repair it, but this injury would take 3 months to fully recover. The biggest tournament for recruiting of the year was in January and it looked like I wouldn’t be able to play. Once again, why me? What did I do to deserve this? I started my rehab determined to get back. There was no way I was gonna let this stop me from getting a scholarship. Today I can say with confidence, that by the grace of God I was able to complete my rehab and be 100% healed in 2 months. I was able to play in the tournament which led to me having a scholarship.

Around that same time my mom started dating a man, who is now my step dad. He was heavily involved in our local church, he was a devout Christian, and he slowly started rubbing off on my mom. She began going to church every Sunday and of course she drug me along with her.  Before I knew it she signed me up for the youth camp that summer.  That week changed my life forever.  At the camp I found myself surrounded by people full of joy, life, and happiness. I so desperately wanted to feel those things again.  I was tired of being angry at God, I was tired of asking “Why me?”, I just wanted to be happy again.  The last night of camp the speaker talked about coming home. How God desires us to come home into His arms. It finally clicked. For so long I had been searching for a place I belonged. The fact that God actually wanted me, the fact that he didn’t care how messed up I was, the fact that he wanted me exactly the way I was blew my mind. For years I had cursed him, I didn’t want anything to do with him, I hated him, yet He still loved, wanted, and desired me… I was sold. I can’t even explain how I felt that night because it was so amazing, but that night, Thursday, June 24, 2010, I gave my life to Christ. 

Since then, my life has been drastically different. I can now look back at my life and know 100% that Romans 8:28, “in ALL things God works everything together for our good” is true. The fact that every other part of my left eye works perfectly except for a couple of missing fibers isn’t a coincidence, God perfectly designed me that way. (Oh and I don’t know of many other college athletes that are blind in one eye..that’s pretty awesome) The fact that if I would have broken my hip a couple of centimeters higher would’ve meant me having to get surgery wasn’t me getting lucky, God planned that. And the fact that even though my parents divorce has forever left a scar on my life, I know that if that wouldn’t have happened I probably never would’ve come to know Christ.

Today, I am a sophomore and play Division One soccer at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. God has won over my heart.

James 1:2-4 is one of my favorite verses,  “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”.

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