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Amanda Matsumoto, Softball

by carmine on April 1, 2013

“I’m a Christian”. At least that’s what I told people. However unless I told you, you would never know. I went to a Christian school starting in kindergarten, but that didn’t impact me at all. I acted one way in church and covered up being a Christian in front of my friends. I prayed every night, but only to get things I wanted. There’s more to being a Christian then not doing drugs, not having sex, not cussing, etc. It’s about building a relationship with Christ, but to me being a Christian was just a word. It never meant anything to me. It was just another label I owned, shuffled along athlete, softball player, fast, Hawaiian, Asian, etc. I was an athlete who just happened to be a Christian.

 Fast forward to freshman year of high school. It was my first year out of a christian school and into the public school system. Most people who come from a christian school are usually labeled “Jesus Freak” I didn’t want that. I also was very insecure of the fact that I am Hawaiian and Asian. I didn’t want to be stereotyped in that way either. So, I turned to sports. Freshman and Sophomore year was centered around me building a name for myself through softball, trying to live up to people’s expectations of me, making sure that people knew that first and foremost, I was an athlete.

My junior year of high school was a rough one. I barely even had time for myself, let alone Christ. My dream since I was little was to play Division 1 softball. So after coming off a very successful sophomore season, I thought for sure my dream was going to be coming true. But in November of my junior year I was sitting with many Division 2 and 3 offers but not a single D1 offer. If you know anything about softball recruiting, the scenario I was in was not very assuring. In December, I went on a visit and to a softball camp of my dream college. At the camp, the coach ripped on me, said everything I did was wrong, and I would NEVER play Division 1 softball. I was heartbroken. I wanted this so bad. This was supposed to be the plan for my life. Other people expected this out of me. I was so mad at the world, mad at God. Why would he put me through this? I had worked so hard all my life for this game and to be told I was not good enough absolutely killed me. What did God want for me? Why wouldn’t he allow my dream to come true? I was angry, but I was also humbled.

The next weekend at church, the sermon had mentioned Jeremiah 29:11- “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. I soon started praying more and putting my trust in the Lord.  Soon after, I started getting more looks by colleges.  After much prayer and reflection, a few months later. I committed to Charleston Southern University, a small Division 1 school in South Carolina. I realized this had been the Lord’s plans for me, to play at a Christian School. Never in a million years would I have imagined I would end up there. I realized that up to this point I had it all wrong. I may have plans, but God’s plans are bigger than anything I could ever dream of.

So that’s it? Living your life as a christian means everything will run smoothly, your path will be easy, life is perfect. Wrong. Senior year of high school, I thought everything was going great and I finally had control of my life. I started reverting back to the old me; over confident and taking softball for granted. That’s when God came in again to remind me he was the one in charge. I found out I would need surgery to remove a bone from my foot that had been bothering me for awhile. I was scared for my future. Would I ever get to play again? While I was out with this injury I recognized how much time I wasn’t spending with God and I didn’t fully trust him with his plan for me. I realized that God gave me a talent and if I wasn’t using it for the right purpose of glorifying him, he could easily take that away. I am happy to say, that this past November, I signed with Charleston Southern University and the surgery was successful. God has truly blessed me.

I don’t want to be known as an athlete who just happens to be a Christian. I want to be known as a Christian first and foremost, who just happens to be an athlete. I no longer think of being Christian as just as word or label. It’s a way of living. As an athlete, people look up to you and you have the ability to inspire them. By my actions, I want others to be able to say, she’s living for the Lord. He’s done so much for me, and I hope I can inspire people to get to know him too.

Ever since I started playing for HIM, it’s been a lot more rewarding and has made me a lot more happier. I no longer feel the pressure to meet people’s expectations, no longer feel as if I have to impress anybody. I play for an audience of one.  No matter what I do, I do for him. I trust him with my plan and know he will never leave me. There’s a difference between BELIEVING in God, and KNOWING God.  I am so happy to say, I’ve gotten to know him so much better. He’s my rock and my strength. He is my EVERYTHING. Without him, I would not be me. He is the reason I am the way I am, I’m going where I am going, and I live the way I live. I am truly thankful for him never giving up on me. God has a plan for each and every one of us, so don’t be discouraged if things don’t work out the way YOU want them to. They’ll work out the way GOD wants them to.  I hope my testimony inspires you. Dream Big and Never Give Up. Trust in God, he won’t lead you astray, I promise. Thank you for reading my testimony!

Proverbs 16:9  We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.

God Bless,

Amanda Matsumoto

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