Post image for David Harley, Football/Track, University of Saint Mary

David Harley, Football/Track, University of Saint Mary

by carmine on May 21, 2013

My name is David Harley I am a junior at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, KS. I play football and run track at Saint Mary. I am a double major in Pastoral Ministry and Biology. The greatest gift God has ever given me was the gift of faith. I was blessed to have been raised in a very strong Christian Catholic family. My mother chose to home school all five of us Harley children (I have two older half-sisters from my mother’s first marriage). My Father worked for IBM and made more than enough money to support the family. My parent’s dreams were becoming a reality, until my life took a drastic turn.

In 1997 my mother began to develop what doctors are now calling late onset muscular dystrophy. My mother’s disease was first noticed when she had issues walking upstairs and has to this day continued to worsen to the point in which she now has a home health aide to help her get in and out of bed and complete daily tasks. Just as this was happening my father began to go through renal (kidney) failure. Because of the severity of their health issues neither of my parents could work and my family’s financial situation began to go downhill. My mother was no longer able to home school us because of her continued doctors’ visits for her then unknown disease. As the years went on things only got worse for my family, my mother’s health continued to decline and my father was sick constantly. Until one day we received the news that my father would be able to receive a kidney transplant. Our family was ecstatic upon hearing the news but just as fast as my father received the transplant he rejected the kidney and became even sicker than he was before.

At this time my family’s financial issues were to the point that we were in danger of losing our house. With nowhere else to turn we turned to our church for support. They held a fundraiser and by the grace of God we were able to pay off our home’s mortgage. Over the next few years my family survived on social security disability and the generosity of others in our church and our community. The food shelf would often donate our Thanksgiving meal. In 2007 my mother’s health had gotten to the point where she needed to move to a warmer climate which was much easier on her muscles. My mother, little brother, and I moved down to Georgia before the fall of my freshman year.

Upon moving to Georgia I was confronted by Christians who constantly asked if I was saved or if I had a personal relationship with Christ. I couldn’t really answer these questions at first. I mean I went to church and I was a good person so I figured I knew enough. After these people, who seemed quite bold at first, had asked me these questions I began to ask these questions to myself. I continued to pray and search for answers. My sophomore year of high school I went to Nicaragua on a mission trip and I learned what true love looked like. I had never seen happier children and families in the mist of such suffering. Those people had Christ’s love in them and I knew that that was what I needed. Ever since that mission trip my personal relationship with Christ has continued to grow. After reflecting on the trip I thought to myself “I could be that example of Christ’s love to others in the mist of my struggles.”

This new found relationship with Christ gave new meaning to my everyday life. When I moved to Georgia I began to home school again.  By this time my mother’s physical limitations were becoming really significant.  She could still drive and walk with a walker but I was able to help her a lot by being with her everyday and helping out with things like the laundry and shopping for grocery.  She needed help getting in and out of the car and on and off her scooter. I was happy to be able to help out because I had the love of Christ within me. My mother’s faith never waived through all of her health issues and I have learned so much about Christ from her. She is an unbelievable woman! 

Ever since high school I have used every platform I have ever been given to give all the honor and glory to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. These platforms have been mainly athletic. As my relationship with Jesus Christ has grown my understanding of the struggles and trials I have gone through has changed. I no longer ask God why but rather how can I use experience as one of growth. Through all his trials and because of his family’s example of the love of Christ my father was able to find faith.  In my opinion my family was able to convert one lost sheep (Luke 15:6-7) and this made all of our struggles worth it.  Although my parent’s health has continued to be a daily struggle for my family I know that God has a plan for them and for me. I was blessed enough as a home school football player to receive a football scholarship from the University of Saint Mary which has allowed me to attend a college and live my dream of playing college football despite my family’s financial issues. Through it all I have learned to grow from the experience and give glory to God because in the end it is Thy will not my will that matters. This past year I have been blessed with the opportunity to minister to high school students as the Youth Minister St. Francis de Sales Church in Lasing, KS and I will continue this ministry through my college career. I am continuing to trust in His plan. 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.”

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