Caitlin Ogletree, University of Houston, Volleyball

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by carmine on June 29, 2012

 

Caitlin Ogletree
University of Houston
Montgomery, Texas

 


 

I grew up considering myself a Christian. I went to church on Sunday’s. I was polite to people. Southern manners always applied to me; yes ma’am and yes sir every where I went. I never drank or smoked and I found so much pleasure in helping out others. My mother raised me as a single parent since I was one years old along with my older brother and sister. My life was what you could say chaotic. I always managed to walk into public places smiling and acting like I never had a worry in the world. Our family’s week days consisted of school, practices, and fast food. We were always on the go. Every other weekend my dad would come get us from our house to spend the weekend with him. I dreaded the weekends. My dad was remarried and extremely verbally abusive. He had an unfaithful relationship with my mother and it was hard for me accepting what he did to my mother. He never paid a dime of child support or came to any of our school events or games. I figured he printed out our schedules because he would show up on parent nights whenever somehow every year all the way out through high school. It was hard for me to not have a father by my side. I didn’t feel loved. I didn’t feel beautiful. I didn’t feel wanted. If my own father didn’t want to be around me or love me, why would any other guy want to? Behind all of the hidden smiles andlaughs I was hurting. Nobody but God knew, and I was still yet to turn to Him.

In high school I was labeled as “the volleyball star”. I started as a freshman and made a name for myself around the nation, being selected as one of the nations top 50 players in my class. Guys started to step into my life that were wanting to date me. I never felt comfortable letting guys into my life, it was really hard for me to trust them whenever it came to an actual “dating” situation. I would always shove guys out of my life that wanted to be more than friends because I was scared of having to go through what my mother did. I was the most confident girl in the world when I stepped into school or on the court. I didn’t let age affect leadership. The coaches always expected me to finish first in any conditioning and to be constantly communicating with my teammates. Whenever I stepped off the court and out of the school hallways though every worldly problem seemed to cross my head. 

There would be late nights where I would just sit there and question what God was doing to me and why I wasn’t strong enough to handle it. My sophomore year at a Wednesday night church service, I was saved.

After the night of getting saved, Christ became more familiar to me. I hit a rut though while entering the next season of volleyball. I made volleyball my main focus. It was my junior year in high school when I tore my mcl and meniscus. I kept on playing on it until I realized I couldn’t fit into my jeans one night because my leg was so swollen. I was so hesitant walking into the trainer room because playoffs were right around the corner and we had a great shot at going to state. He sent me to the doctor right away, where he had told me the news. I was DEVASTATED. I felt as if God had just ripped something out of my hands that I’ve had a full grip of for years. I figured I was going to be out of playoffs until the doctor told me I could put off the surgery until after the playoffs. He made no promises that I could play in the playoffs but he would do the best he could to prepare me for them- they were in two weeks. I was only allowed to practice thirty minutes a day. I felt pretty lost with myself. I wasn’t satisfied. I was missing something.

Through my pain and struggles I decided to pick up the Bible and I remember reading Joshua 1:9. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Isn’t it crazy how much you can dedicate yourself to a practice for hours yet you can’t dedicate ANY of your time to the Man who made it possible? It all hit me. I wasn’t the same person since my injury. I now was not only saved, but I started to have a relationship with Christ. I realized I was just believer of Christ but my life was not for Him. I was a selfish Christian. I came to God whenever I wanted to and left His arm hanging out there for me to grab a hold of every day. The Lord kept on telling me not to fear in so many ways. He even told the doctor to tell me I was going to be able to play in the playoffs! I was STOKED and knowing my teammates were excited made me feel appreciated. I remember thanking God in front of them. We ended up losing in the regional finals. Something unusual after the loss happened. I felt grateful. I felt so blessed that God had given me an opportunity to be a symbol of strength and a light for Him. Continuing my volleyball career as a Child of God, I was blessed with a full scholarship to the University of Houston to play volleyball.

 Entering college was a slight change for me. I was coming into a big city. I wouldn’t know everyone. I probably wouldn’t play. Also, I didn’t think I would meet enough Christians to keep me accountable. You see, God never makes it easy. Our body is always tempted to do the fleshly thing. However, it’s crazy how the Holy Spirit starts taking over your life whenever you ask it to constantly. Starting as a freshman at the university really humbled me because I always had God putting me back in my place. You see, I felt so unworthy of Gods love. He is God! He is the creator of this Earth. I would sin yet He would take me back. I wanted to love like that. Right when I would take my eyes off of the eternal prize, He would make me look a fool. I needed that. As a sophomore in college now, my relationship with Christ is growing. I WANTED that. I have realized that I have an impact on people anywhere I go, especially as a college athlete. God has taught me to use Him for EVERYTHING that I do. Every day is an opportunity to serve the Lord. I have a loving Father whose love is greater than anything and I cannot wait till the day I meet Him. He tells me I am beautifully and fearfully made. My Father wants all of me at all times. He is a jealous Father. I am blessed beyond words and I am proud to say that without God, I AM NOTHING.

-Photos courtesy of Caitlin Ogletree-

                                

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