About one year ago, I was trying out for the University of Georgia cheerleading squad. Ever since I was little, my dream for the future always included going to Georgia and being a UGA cheerleader. I had worked my whole life for this weekend, and I wanted it more than anything. After making it through finals last year, I got a letter in the mail telling me that it was not my year, but I should try again. In complete honesty, I was devastated. But what I couldn’t see then was that God had a better plan.
That summer I was given the opportunity to go to the Dominican Republic with Hebron Baptist Church. This was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I played games with children in the villages, I got to use my Spanish to help everyone communicate, I visited an orphanage that had some very amazing little girls, and best of all, I witnessed some of God’s amazing works firsthand. It was during this trip that I realized this was all a part of God’s plan. He wanted me in the Dominican all along.
When this school year began, I came in as a lonely freshman. Just to let you know, the University of Georgia can be a pretty intimidating place! I went from MCHS, where my teachers knew my name, I had a friend to talk to any time I stepped in the hall, I had something to do every day after school (be it cheerleading, track, baseball games, clubs, ect.), and I knew exactly where everything was. I was comfortable. But boy was I out of my element here!
Don’t get me wrong, this is exactly what I wanted. I had always dreamed of being at UGA, but I never knew how big of a change it would be. I knew my roommate, and I knew my best friends were only a couple dorms away, but we all had to adjust. We had different schedules, so we couldn’t go everywhere together like I had hoped. I began searching -alone and uncomfortable- for a campus ministry to get involved in, and I settled down with the BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministries). I really enjoyed their style of worship and the great messages that were preached.
Eventually, I got involved in a small group through the BCM. These girls have been such a huge blessing in my life this year. We all grew close and became best friends. I don’t know what I would do without them- and that’s a good thing because I’m living with three of them next year! I have also been chosen to lead a small group for this coming year, and I cannot wait! I firmly believe that this was all a part of God’s plan as well. He wanted me to have time to get comfortable and involved here at UGA. He wanted me to make these friends and find this ministry to belong in.
So now for the ultimate blessing… after not making the cheerleading squad last year, I knew that I wanted to try out again. I worked hard all year long to improve my tumbling and stay in shape. I wanted this more than anything, and I wasn’t ready to give up on my dream. This weekend was it! Tryouts again! And this time I was ready! I had been praying about all of this and working so hard. The weekend unfolded and everything went really well. And when they posted the team, my name was on it! I cannot explain how happy and excited I was! Tears were rolling down my face as I hugged my family, friends, and new teammates. I am blessed beyond belief. This is my new mission field. I can now get involved with FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) as I was in high school. And I can be a light and encouragement in Christ for the rest of my team. I could not be more excited to see what God has planned for me!
I have learned so much through all of this. “Have faith in your dreams. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” –Gail Devers. And I have also learned that God always has a plan and purpose for everything He does. It may not be what you want at the time, and it may not be what you think is best for yourself. But God knows exactly what He is doing, and God is good-ALL THE TIME! “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” –Jeremiah 29:11
Me and Mackenzie Stokes... Mill Creek High School grads on to cheer for UGA! The first two from MCHS! :)