Written by: Hannah Springer
I’ve known of the Lord my whole life, I grew up with prayer before dinner and church on Sundays. I was acquainted with Scripture and knew enough of God. Throughout high school, I did just enough to stay in youth groups and feel close to the Lord, but I was still holding tight to the comfort of the world. I clung to any label thrown my way: a good swimmer, a girlfriend, popular, etc. Each label built the foundation that I stood upon leading me into my years of college. Jesus was what I preached, yet my identity is what I stood upon.
My labels were holding me up just fine early in college, swimming was going well at the collegiate level, I was still dating my high school boyfriend, and I seemed to be making good friends. Though the warning alarms were ringing for my relationship, it was part of who I was, I couldn’t let it go. My sophomore year, the Lord broke the foundation under my feet, leaving me with nothing to grab onto except Him.
The summer heading into my sophomore year of college, I found out I had a torn labrum in my hip. In my determination and grit, I kept swimming through the pain in order to finish my season and get surgery at the end of it. What seemed to be bravery and strength from the outside was actually pride and insecurity deep in my heart. I didn’t let go of swimming because it was who I was, not just what I did. My highschool boyfriend dropped the bomb on me after over 2 years of dating that he was done. In a blink, my world turned upside down. The heartbreak overpowered me and I couldn’t press past my physical pain of my torn hip any longer. Opting out of swimming the rest of my sophomore year, I had surgery 2 months after a huge breakup.
All I was fell away. I was alone and without what I knew best. I would love to say at this point in the story, I fell on my knees and surrendered to the Lord. That simply is not the case; I turned to quick fixes to heal my God-sized hole in my heart. Chasing fleeing joys of the world, I lied to my friends, turned my back on those I loved, and made mistake after mistake. The instability of the world left me dark, broken, and even more alone.
Recovering from this season was a journey; I had to be okay alone. I learned to go on dates just with Jesus, spend Friday nights reading by myself, and find who God made me to be. A season of finding my passions launched me into independence and dignity. I finally stepped foot into a Proverbs 31:25 - “she is clothed in strength and dignity” - type of woman and it felt so good. It was like putting on your favorite pair of jeans, you walk with a new confidence.
My journey has been anything from perfect, and the mistakes I’ve made still seem to come back to bite me. Yet, I have found a redeeming Father that sits with me patiently at the well to tell me I am loved, forgiven, chosen, and valued. I found who I am with nothing else, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. Even with getting swimming back and a new, sweet boyfriend, I now don’t lean on them to tell me who I am. A woman of Christ knows who she is regardless of what the world tells her. I am able to hold my head high as a beloved daughter of the true King. “She is clothed with strength and dignity, she laughs without fear of the future” (Proverbs 31:25).
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