I went to church while growing up, but we still had our struggles as usual. I knew about God but didn’t necessarily know Him intimately. I knew more about what was right and wrong. My mother and I moved to Charlotte, N.C., for a year when I was 11, then to Atlanta, Ga. For the first time, we were on our own together and had to figure out our own way. We ended up using this time to seek God, find a church and decide that God was important to us.
But it was a lonely time as well.
When my mom got laid off from the job for which we had moved, then had to work nights for a while, that produced the perfect storm for us to have to depend on the guidance and stability that God provided. It was in those years that I started to trust the Lord and experience a relationship with Him as my heavenly Father.
We joined a great church in Atlanta during my middle school years that inspired my commitment to my faith. I could see the Holy Spirit moving in the church and it made me desire God even more. In those next years, I continued to develop in my relationship with God and in my understanding of His Word.
When I arrived at UConn, I was already a solid believer, seriously walking with the Lord. But it was during college that I got to expand that relationship to include other people. I began to learn how to talk with others about my story and my faith, while also experiencing community with other Christians on campus.
While at Connecticut, I met a former basketball player who was doing ministry there. A small group of us started meeting with her to study the Bible. I started embracing God’s promptings to continue to grow in sharing my faith.
Before college, I’d never really looked for opportunities to talk to others about God in my personal life. It was uncomfortable and unfamiliar to me. But she worked with me and I began talking to my friends and teammates. By my senior year, I was leading a small group for my team. It was a great time of development and adventure for me.
The summer after my freshman year, I attended AIA’s Ultimate Training Camp. That was a life-changing experience! It was a great time to interact with other believers, and it was an eye-opening time for me.
Sometimes if you don’t have that community of believers around you, you can begin to think, “It’s just you and me, God.” Seeing other athletes trying to follow the Lord was very encouraging to me, and having those resources there challenged us all to grow more.
The next two summers, I went back to the camp as an intern, trying to soak up as much of that environment as I could.
It’s been a great journey living and seeing the Lord's perfect timing unfold, and I’m still growing. In the big picture, God is going to do what He wants to in my life, and He’s lined my course and given me so many ridiculous opportunities.
Looking back on the last 14 years, we couldn’t have timed it better than He did. All those amazing teams I played for, keeping me healthy—I know it’s His provision blessing my life and my family. I’ve also tried to work as hard as I can, taking the gifts He’s given me and living fully in it all. I’ve tried to be an example of someone with a great work ethic that enjoys the journey at the same time.
I’m grateful to have had the platform of an elite student-athlete and professional basketball player, and I want to do His will with my life. He’s put me on great teams with great people. God has used me in ways I don’t even know, and I’m still learning how God wants to use me now.
(This story was previously published on Beyond The Ultimate)