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Kendra Spresser, Kansas State, Women’s Basketball

by carmine on June 4, 2013



          My name is Kendra Spresser, and I am a senior women’s basketball player at Kansas State University.  I am from a small town in Hoxie, Ks where I grew up on a farm in an amazing Christian family.  God has blessed me ten fold, and it is hard to describe the joys He has placed in my life and upon my heart.  Although I gave my life and heart to Jesus at a young age, it hasn’t always been an easy road, nor a perfect Christian walk.  Even though I have been a person of faith throughout my life, I struggled with the concept of control and operating on my own strength.  I had the strength to get through things, I could control my circumstances, I could… I could.  I think so many of us have a preconceived notion of what this “Christian walk” should be like, and it took me becoming a complete mess to understand that God could use me the most in that weakened state with my full reliance on Him.  After a new and different realization of just how broken we are as sinners, I didn’t mind being broken because in that recognition, we give Him every piece of ourselves.   

            It wasn’t until I reached the level of collegiate basketball that God put me through a test that would soften my heart and open my eyes; understanding that I could do nothing upon my own measures. I endured such a grueling mental and physical four years that I realized God was using my sport to get to my heart.  It wasn’t about basketball anymore, it was about such a deep, intimate relationship with Christ where my heart was on fire for Him.  I had to become so physically weak that some days all I did was pray during practice, not sure of how I was going to take the next step with the pain I was feeling or overcome being broken down by the verbal extremity of some of the coaches.  God gave me the avenue of sports not only to glorify Himself, but to teach me lessons that were necessary for my growth. 

            My road through college basketball has been one of God’s perfect timing and reliance.  I was able to play my freshman year semi-healthy at Seward County in Liberal, Kansas.  However, after that I experienced injury after injury.  I had hip surgery from tearing my labrum 4 years prior at state track, degenerative discs in my back, torn ACL and meniscus 3 weeks after my hip recovery, and finally re-tore my meniscus before my senior season.  These injuries spanned over two and a half years, leaving me at a point where I had to walk away from the game at the end of my sophomore year.  I ended up transferring to Kansas State where I became a normal student my entire junior year.  I couldn’t understand God’s path for me.  Playing basketball had been my avenue for sharing who I was in Christ for several years; what was I going to do without the one sport that defined me?  That was the ultimate question that changed so much for me.  I had a sport on a pedestal.  I couldn’t define just who I was in Christ without basketball.  The entire time I was hurt I was able to spend time seeing my worth and value in all that I was outside of my sport.  My priorities changed, knocking basketball of that pedestal, and devoting all those hours I would have been in the gym to reading and studying His word.  He not only took over that pedestal, He overwhelmed me with this new joy that no injury, no coach, no failure could take from me.  I walked with God on new terms, on His complete terms; mentally and physically understanding that every second of every minute of each day was in His hands.    

            After a long recovery period I finally picked up a basketball for the first time in March of my junior year with an entire new outlook.  I would go to the Rec a lot where I was blessed by Christ introducing me to some amazing women from Manhattan Christian College who played basketball there.  Those girls, along with others encouraged me to walk on at Kstate.  I continued to pray about it, and my old coach from Seward put in a phone call to Kstate.  One week later they came to the rec and watched me play a pickup game; signing me to play for Kstate just 3 days later.  I was going to get to play for my Division 1 dream school after not playing for the last 2 and a half years, and not picking up a basketball in over a year.  They needed a shooting guard, and I was it.  I couldn’t believe God’s perfect timing; I stood in awe realizing how incredible His power is and smiling at His unconditional love and plan even when I didn’t understand it.  He knew all along, He was just waiting for me to catch up.

            I had one more surgery on my knee in the summer after tearing my meniscus again, which made me rely on God every single minute of every practice knowing that being bone on bone there would be no way my body could handle the five and six hour workouts.  I went from sitting on my couch for the last two years, to being a starter for Kansas State this past season of my senior year.  I played differently this last season, knowing that my talent is a gift from God, but my heart and who I am in Him is His true glory.  I used to look at trials differently, hoping that I wouldn’t have to experience such pitfalls.  Now, I want Him to bring me anything that brings Him glory.

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