Growing up I walked the fence on being a Christian. I went to church and I loved the Lord but didn’t have a daily walk with Him. I knew Jesus had died for my sins and I knew He was the answer to any situation I was facing, but didn’t know who I was in Him.
You can say my sweet mother has been a huge spiritual influence in my life and a living example of Christ’s love. It wasn’t until a tragedy struck that I fully devoted my life to Him. My mother always says sometimes God can take bad situations and turn them into something good. Here’s how he’s worked in my life.
My brother was 3 years older than me and growing up I thought he was the greatest person that ever lived. I looked up to him in everything; he seemed to be exceptional in all he did. His true passion was soccer and our family lived and breathed it since I was 7 years old. His freshman year playing soccer he almost lost his leg to an injury. This injury was devastating in our family’s lives. He was in a wheelchair for a while, then on crutches and had multiple surgeries in a 10-year span. He lost sight of the important things in his life and started abusing his pain pills. The doctors gave him more and more and it seemed he got further and further away… June 13, 2010 he lost the battle to addiction at the age of 29.
How could I go on without my favorite person? Nothing was fun unless he was involved. Life was hard. I lived in NY at the time and that phone call haunts me still to this day.
After returning home from NY, I needed God more than ever. Having a newborn baby, lack of sleep and revisiting my parent’s house where his smell was no longer present was difficult. I remember crying out to God and surrendering to Him. I couldn’t do this life any longer without Him. I remember looking up and reciting Jeremiah 29:11, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” In one of the lowest times in my life, I felt an overwhelming peace and I knew He was there.
The Lord guided my steps and led me to compete in my very first pageant of Mrs. Oklahoma in 2014. Being a college soccer player, pageants weren’t in my vocabulary. But who knows, God can prepare you for things you’d never expect, right? I then competed in Mrs. America and asked God to help me do my best, and if it was His will for me to win that I would be at peace with it.
Since winning Mrs. Oklahoma and Mrs. America 2015 God has helped me devote my time to Prescription Drug Abuse and has opened the door to help others out there struggling. I’ve learned we have to be His hands and feet in this world. He has blessed my life more than I deserve. Follow Him and He will give you hope and a future brighter than you can imagine.