Part 3 of 3: COMMENCEMENT- Faith
Jesus said… “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you”
– Matthew 17:20
Have you ever held a mustard seed? It’s literally the size of a period at the end of a sentence. Coach Innocent gave me one while in Calabar, and it really convicted me. Just holding it made me realize that God requires a simple and committed heart, one that does not waver or doubt. It made me question–if faith this small can move mountains… how much doubt do I really have?
My faith is not shaken. I can say with 100% confidence that God allowed my injury in order to better prepare me for something bigger, and something better that He has planned for my future. I know how my leg felt the morning of the 1st round of trials. I was without a doubt, miraculously healed. I went to the warm up field and got through my entire warm up routine without pain. I even did my sprinting drills (which the day before seemed so impossible). The only reason I got into the blocks to start my race was because God, in his infinite power, had removed the pain from my leg! 🙂
I started the race in lane 7 and was able to push out of the blocks and get out hard without any problems. I got through the 1st 200 with ease. Leading into the second turn, I felt a building tightness in the same left hamstring… the first thing I thought was “Get behind me Satan!”. I’m pretty sure I probably said those words out loud mid race lol. The awesome thing about it, was at the exact moment when I said that, the building tightness stopped growing!! However, it didn’t go away. It was a weird feeling, because my mind and my body were divided. Mentally, I was healed, strong and going to finish the race.. Physically I was having an outer body experience, I was in an almost paralyzed state, almost numb to the pain. This was the Olympic trials, this was the race I had envisioned and dreamt of so many times…quitting was not an option.
I finished the race in the slowest time I’ve run all year! But I finished the race with absolutely NO regrets. I knew without a doubt that for some reason, God intended for me to run that race… Why else would He have removed the pain long enough for me to get into the starting blocks? My gut assured me that God had a plan that was greater than what I could currently see and understand.
I knew that 2012 would be a huge year! Not only as an Olympic year, but I knew it would be a year of change….
God has been so faithful this year!
Not only did He lead my journey in moving to Atlanta to train with the Nigerian Team, He allowed me to be favored amongst the Athletic Federation of Nigeria, and provided me with a future that I never saw coming.
I went into this year believing it would be my last year running track. Although I am only 23, I have been running track for the last 17 years! I’ve been blessed beyond measure, and gifted with speed that has given me amazing opportunities and success. But as my mother always reminded me– “To whom much is give, much is expected”. I grew up running the 100, 200 and 400. I hated training and competing in the 400 as a child ( why would I want to volunteer for lactic acid and buttock at 8 years old?). So I dropped the 400 once I got to high school and focused solely on the short sprints. It was during high school that I was presented with opportunities of running on an international level. My collegiate career was marred with injuries that kept me from sprinting. After a few quad injuries, I opted to quit the short sprints, and train for the dreaded 400m my senior year of college. That decision was essentially what God used to open the doors of training professionally and running for Nigeria.
There are no mistakes…
There are no coincidences..
We are all a sum of our experiences
I am FINALLY beginning to understand that. Something God revealed to me while in Nigeria was that there is no part of my life that was in vain. There is no part of my history that will not affect my future. In order for me to be healthy enough to run a 400 professionally, I also have to be healthy enough to run the 100 and 200! Sprinting is not in my past, it is a part of who God made me to be…. It seems like the last 5 years, I forgot that . I took it for granted.
I say all this because even though I would have loved to have run a PR this year and made the Olympic Team in London, I know that God’s plan is and has always been perfect. The minute I started to think that all the work I have put in was in vain, this passage was definitely a good reminder of what God requires of me.
The Servant of The LORD
(From: Isaiah 49)
Before I was born the Lord called me;
from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.
He made my mouth like a sharpened sword,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me…
He said to me, “You are my servant…
in whom I will display my splendor. ”
But I said, “I have labored in vain;
I have spent my strength for nothing at all….
but I am honored in the eyes of the Lord
and my God has been my strength —
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant …
I will also make you a light for the people,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth”.
Initially I thought my professional career started in 2010 when I first received the vision of running the 400m for Nigeria, and using the stage of track as a platform to minister and share Christ’s message with others.
I’m beginning to see the bigger picture. I’m beginning to see that since day one, God designed me to be exactly who I am today- for a much bigger purpose. There are so many things in my life that have lined up in such a perfect way.
As far as training on the track, I can honestly say I gave 100%. I put in work on the track! I was a professional at every practice, every competition, and every time I stepped on a track. But off the track, things were different. I didn’t take my muscular strengthening and flexibility as seriously as I should have. That’s going to change…
I’m back in Los Angeles and feeling empowered. My plan is to rehab not only my injured hamstring, but my entire body and mind, and then come back stronger than ever before. Nothing is off limits, 100m, 200m, and 400m are all my playground.
Something I learned while competing in Nigeria was that while I’m not sure where He’s taking me, one thing I do know… this is exactly where I belong. The beginning of this journey was NOT in 2010, but rather in 1988 when He allowed me to be born in Lagos. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as “being sure of what you hope for, and certain of what you do not see”!
My faith is stronger now than it has ever been! God has always been there, and continues to be there for me. He has opened so many doors of opportunity with this Nigerian team. I couldn’t even begin to list all the ways He blessed me and continues to bless me in this journey. But one thing I will say, if you have any doubts, if there is anything holding you back from believing God is real, and has an amazing and unique purpose for your life and mine… hit me up privately and I will be more than happy to share more with you one on one.
One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11-13- “For I know the plans I have for you” says the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future..Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
I always thought it was interesting that they referred to graduation ceremonies as commencement. After working for four or more years to get your diploma, I would say you’re done, finished, accomplished…. but I apparently it is just the beginning. It’s as if all that you have invested in, and the seeds you have planted can now begin to show, and manifest.
That’s the best way for me to describe how I currently feel.
This is my commencement ceremony. My journey doesn’t end here.. it’s just the beginning….