I stood at home plate, shaking, fearful that I would strike out. I worried that my coach would yell at me, my teammates would be disappointed, and the fans would judge. Overtime, my high school softball coach created mental toughness in me on the softball field, but off of the field I continued to worry and fear about the nuances of life. Despite attending church regularly, I went through much of my childhood and early adult life worrying about life and what others thought of me.
Church was something we did as a family every Sunday. I liked church, but I worried that it was not enough. I worried that I wouldn’t go to heaven. I worried that God didn’t hear my prayers.
I began to realize that my worries weren’t warranted when my Dad had a heart attack at age 45. On the way to the hospital, I worried that my Mom would be a mess. To my surprise my Mom demonstrated calm within the storm. She stood tall, spoke calmly, and never shed a tear. She knew deep in her heart that everything would be okay. I later realized that her strength came from Jesus and I began to wonder how I could experience that personal relationship with Jesus and reduce my own worry.
Approaching the end of my Master’s degree, I had a plan for my future career. But, one day my adviser made a suggestion that I continue my education and complete a doctorate. With the encouragement of my adviser and boyfriend (now husband) I made the move to Florida and entered a doctoral program. This move was not without worries, I still worried a lot, but when I got to the University of Florida I began to meet people that brought out good in me, who talked to me about God, who prayed for me, who made me think about what it means to know Jesus personally, and people who made me think about life and my worries differently.
Though I can’t pinpoint when I became sure of my relationship with Jesus, somewhere during grad school. Little by little, as if layers of my hardened heart were being peeled away like an onion, my worries about the mundane started to fade. Of course, I still worried, but I was more aware and quick to ask God to set my worries at bay. During this time, other changes started within me. I began to feel a need to be more gracious toward people and to let go of grudges and anger.
As I reflect back on my journey thus far, I know that God has beautifully illustrated my life. He taught me to trust him with my worries. I now know that I don’t need to worry because God is my heavenly father and I am his child.
Isaiah 41:10 – So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Sewing, crafting, hiking, gardening, sports
My undergrad alma mater
The Ohio State University
My worst subject in school
If I weren't a professor, I would
Any Debbie Macomber book...they're feel good and sappy =)
Nobody knows I
Danced in the 2001 Citrus Bowl Halftime show
Understanding consumers opinion of agricultural issues (GMO's, gene editing, cultured meat, local food to name a few) and how those opinions can be influenced by communication
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