When I found out I was getting inducted this year; there were a lot of emotions – joy, pride, nostalgia. MNU was and is a big part of my life. Yes, it’s the name on both my bachelors and masters diplomas. But it is more than that. It was the place I grew from girl to woman. The place that became my home when I left my parents house. The place that gave me relationships I will cherish my entire life. The place that gave me the building blocks for opportunities that took me across the globe. The place where I met my husband – shout out to Coach Wardlaw for recruiting cute international soccer players with sexy accents.
For a while, I was a real punk in college; but eventually I figure out life. Since then, I have prayed for opportunities to speak Gods name; for opportunities to tell others about a man called Jesus who changed my life. It says in Matthew chapter 5 verse 16 “Let your light so shine before men that they will see your good deeds and give glory to your father who is in heaven!” The verses just prior to that talk practically about how when people have a light, they don’t hide it. In fact, they shouldn’t hide it. They should put it on a candle stand so people can see it and can benefit from it.
Sports is my candle stand. The abilities God gave me to play sports is my light. If I used that light simply to bring glory to myself or my university – I see that to be a total waste. In my years at MNU, I was blessed with a team and coaches who shared my vision. When I stepped onto the floor, I did so with teammates who wanted more than wins and championships. They wanted to see God’s name lifted high. That people would watch us and see something different. All the wins and championships were simply a bonus – a bonus we all enjoyed.
But during those years, it was hard to tell if we were accomplishing our goal. People would compliment us a lot. People would tell us things like “Y’all are so fun to watch!” “You guys look flawlessly unified!” “There is something special about this team!” But it was always parents, friends and fans who watched us every week and knew our hearts who would say it.
It wasn’t until years when I was on a professional tour in Maribor Slovenia when a man approached me in the gym. “What is Phil 2:3-4?” Confused, I elegantly responded, “huh?” “Your shirt. Phil 2:3-4 is written on the back of your shirt. Who’s Phil?” After some mumbling and racking my brain, I finally was able to quote the Bible verse which had been the center of our program. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” His response shocked me, “oh it’s like a bible thing? wait a minute, mnu volleyball… I’ve heard of that! The small Jesus school. I heard there is something different about you. I heard you even pray with the other team after games – win or loss.” In that moment, half way across the world; overcoming language barriers and belief systems; I knew we had done something right. We had lifted high the name of Jesus and people had noticed.
MNU may be small. It may be considered insignificant to a lot of people. But the good news is – we serve a very big and significant God. I believe that He can and does use even the smallest and insignificant things to bring glory to His name.
If I tried to list all of the people I could thank; we would be here all day. So I’ll spare you. But I will say thank you to my husband, my parents and my family for all of the love and support. Thank you to MNU as a whole; for creating an environment of growth and learning. Coaches like Kristin Steele and Whitney Rodden; teammates like Megan Hayes, Denise Dix and Konner McIntire; faculty, staff, and professors – thank you! I challenge you to continue seeking God’s face and His will for MNU. We possess the key to this life and I promise you the world is watching!
Thank you – it’s an honor!