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Genna Peterson, East Tennessee St University, Soccer

by carmine on December 31, 2012

Genna Peterson
East Tennessee St University
Cincinnati Lady Saints
Loveland, OH


 

 

I was born August 18, 1990 to Tim and Debi Petersen. I have an older brother and sister. I graduated from East Tennessee State University in May of 2012 where I played soccer for four years. I am currently playing for the Cincinnati Lady Saints semi-pro soccer team in Cincinnati, OH. 

 Everyone has a story. Whether it’s long, short, happy, sad, difficult, or easy; God has had an affect on your life whether you believe it or not. God wants you to use your story of brokenness and imperfection to praise HIM and spread the Gospel. And oh how imperfect and broken I was when God came into my life. 

 The story God has blessed me with…

Growing up my life revolved around sports. If I wasn’t playing them competitively with my sister, who is only 14 months older than me, I was watching my older brother play. We grew up in a Christian home, always praying before meals, before bed, and going to church every Sunday. I thought by doing all that it made me a Christian. We got baptized in 2011, but I didn’t feel a difference in my life. I didn’t know exactly what I was doing or what it meant. In other words I wasn’t ready. 

 Being 14 months apart from my sister we spent a lot of time together. She was my best friend and I was her shadow. I wanted to do everything she did and have what she had. I was so blessed God gave me someone like her to look up to. She loved going to church where as I mainly doodled on the program or fell asleep on dad’s arm. She also went to student venture throughout middle school and high school. I felt inclined to join her because it’s what she did and what I thought my parents wanted. I just hoped they had food!

 My mistake started when I was young trying to be exactly like my sister. In the process I lost myself, but because of it I excelled in sports. Her and I were so competitive that I would practice whenever I had the chance. I had to be the best.

 Freshman year in high school I made the varsity team and thought I was walking on water. Soccer was a very important part of my life. I put in the countless hours of sweat, lifting, and conditioning. Training to be the best. I accomplished this on my own, right?

 Thinking that way made me a very independent person. I didn’t want to lean on anyone for help and never needed a guy beside me. I was that way up until my sister left for college and I was in my last year of high school.  After a while I started drinking a little bit just so I could fit in. Later that same year I not only lost my virginity, but my self-worth and independence. I now had to have a guy by my side.

 I ended up living my dream by getting a scholarship to East Tennessee State University to play soccer. Once again I felt like I was walking on water. Drinking, going out to clubs, and hearing guys say I was pretty is what I needed. If I didn’t hear it from them I didn’t believe it. My first relationship there turned into a physical one. When that ended I looked for another guy to fill the hole in my heart that the other two left. After everything I did I always ended up alone. Nothing in my life was constant besides soccer.

 Soccer was my escape. Whenever I stepped onto the field I was home. I didn’t have to worry about school or my daily problems I faced. I was free on that field. I was accepted. Then soccer started to frustrate me. I began to mess up on the field and soon there was no escape. I didn’t know whom to turn to or where.

My junior year I went to FCA Advance which is a retreat for all athletes believers or not. It changed my life…so I thought. After about a month I re-accepted Christ into my life I was back to where I was before I had left.

 I didn’t feel good enough for anyone. Every guy I started to like left me for another girl that, in my head, was “better.” Soccer was the only thing that made me feel good enough. I knew God was always with me, but I didn’t allow Him to help.

 Going into my senior year of college my mom told me to quit worrying about boys and focus on soccer and academics. Year after year I ignored her advice, but this year I took it. I gave up dating all together, went to FCA every Monday night, the Well every Wednesday night, and to church Sunday whenever we weren’t traveling. I started to pray before I stepped onto the field, during the game for strength to make it through, and thanking Him as I stepped off for protecting me and giving me the chance to play the game I love.

 I had the best season of my career. All the glory goes to God.

 As soon as our dry season ended I was back to the party scene. The time came to go on FCA Advance so I went again. A girl who had been in my huddle last year turned out to be my huddle leader! One night I opened up and told her my whole story. She prayed with me and by the grace of God I forgave all the guys who hurt me in the past. She started reading parts in the Bible that made me realize I was made in Gods image. Everything about me was perfect. Just because it wasn’t what society thought, it’s what God wanted.  She read Psalm 139:14 “I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” Isaiah 43:1 “I have summoned you by name, you are mine,” and Luke 12:7 “the very hairs on your head are all numbered, don’t be afraid you are worth more than many sparrows.”  I began to understand that I mattered. He not only cared about me, but also loved me. I am worthy of a man dying on a cross. He was tortured. He was tortured for me.

Once I understood that it felt like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and my heart, and God was finally able to come in. That night I let Him in. Completely, fully, 100% let Him in.

 I gave my life fully over to Christ on June 8, 2012. I thought I wasn’t good enough for anyone, but Jesus died for me. There is no greater love than that. He is with me everywhere I go; on the field, at work, in the car, and when I’m with my friends. He is the only constant in my life. Now I have a whole new purpose for playing soccer. It’s not only for my team’s success, but more importantly, it is to give Him glory and use my abilities to share the gospel. In all you do, work at it with all my heart as if you were working for the Lord (Colossians 23:3). 

 I now know if I make a mistake, His blood washes it away. He doesn’t call perfect people. He calls imperfect people and makes them perfect. My life might not be perfect in my eyes, but it’s perfect in His.

 He will always give me challenges and difficult times in my life, but overcoming them depends on my faith and trust in Him. If I look to Him to lead me down the path He has for me, everything I do will be for His purpose. In His eyes I will never fail. That’s the difference in who I was and who I am now. Before I was looking to society to accept me and lead my life. Now I look up. He knows what I’m going to do each day, next year, and even ten years from now. I gave Him my heart and He has my complete trust so I don’t have to worry. Everything is in His hands. He will protect me and give me the love I have been searching for. Unconditional, unfailing, agape love. 

 

                 

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