Sunday, January 17, 2016

Fulp- You Are Still Our Star! Shine Bright!

Fulp- You Are Still Our Star! Shine Bright!

You still are.



I read those words, and I am floored. I am nearly brought to tears in front of a gym full of watching eyes.

You still are.

………………………………

I walked back onto the court following halftime of our game against Syracuse. My eyes were heavy from lack of sleep, and my mind was racing with all sorts of thoughts.

I had just gotten back from an amazing weekend of fellowship and growth in Christ with our Servant Team from Athletes in Action. My eyes were heavy from wonderfully deep late night chats, and my mind was filled with awe-struck thoughts at just how great our God is. To those watching eyes, my face may not have spoken of these wonderful emotions, the lack of sleep was really getting to me, but man did I feel good!

I rode this emotional high into the gym as we geared up for a tough second half battle. My eyes naturally scanned the arena. Nothing too exciting caught my attention until I looked behind our bench. Then, my heart nearly stopped.

Fulp- You Are Still Our Star! Shine Bright!

A little girls basketball team from Shoals, my beloved hometown, and Pilot had come to watch the game. One of those girls happened to be a dear family friend’s daughter. She held that sign for me as she stood in front of her mom with a big smile on her face.

I didn’t know what to do. We don’t talk to fans until after the game, but these girls and their families had come to this game to not only support the Deacs, but to also still support me. One of my coaches handed me his phone to snag a picture of the girls, and I let them know I would talk to them after the game.

As I sat on the bench for that second half, I could barely hold back the tears.

You still are.

………………………..

As a local kid, earning a scholarship to play basketball at Wake Forest was truly a dream come true. It was a privilege to suit up in the Black and Gold and represent everyone from Shoals. I didn’t get to suit up for too long though. God had much different plans in store for me, plans I now see filled with love and grace even when the going got tough.

I was medically released after only playing my first season and two games my second season. I dealt with a lot of concussion issues, and my doctors and I agreed that God had much bigger plans in store in my future. It simply wasn’t worth risking the next 40 years of my life to play for the next 2.

Now, I must be totally honest, this journey has not been easy. At first, being away from the game I loved wasn’t so bad. Let’s face it, pre-season conditioning is not always fun. Then, the season hit. My teammates suited up for photo shoots, practices, and eventually games, while I put on dress clothes or team issued sweats and lived life as more of a “regular” student.

It hit me hard after the first few games. My career is over. I miss running up and down the floor in practice. I miss pulling that jersey out of my locker and suiting up in front of local fans. I miss the road trips. I even miss conditioning. I miss it all.

Despite the sadness and even the regrets of taking it for granted, I am so thankful for this experience. God has really done surgery on my heart during my time in college, and for that I am so thankful. God has surrounded me with loving, caring people that constantly point me to the cross. Because of that, I knew, and still know, that God has a much bigger purpose for me.

I am still His.

…………………………….

Still. Today, that word has special significance for me. Just by those girls being at our game, I felt loved. They still love me, and they still look up to me. Sometimes, we all need a little affirmation, and these girls did that for me. So, to them, I say thank you.

More than that, I say thank You to God. If these girls still love me and support me at my game even when I can no longer play, how much more does our loving Father still love us?

God’s love is just absolutely crazy. He still loves us. He loves us despite our brokenness, despite our shortcomings, and despite our mess. He still loves us.

Rest in Him and in His crazy love friends. God’s got you no matter what you may face. And always remember to shine bright.

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.” Philippians 2:14-16


Cling to the Father and His Word. Shine Bright!

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