the truth in the struggle.

Hello! I haven't posted anything for almost three weeks now. I apologize for that. If you continue reading, you'll see that the past three weeks have been anything but easy. I want to share with you my struggle and the truth that has come from it - hence the title. :) I want to reflect on my passion and tie that in with what I've been experiencing.

It would be an understatement to say that track is my life. Or at least, I like to see it that way. During the school year, my team practices 6 days of the week and I love it - the days fly by and practices encompass an unreal team atmosphere with a loving coach who is passionate about what he does. My teammates radiate fun and show me what it is like to be an elite athlete.

I remember my very first track meet. The Jack Brow - which is conveniently this upcoming weekend here in Kelowna. I had never done anything track related before and my dad entered me in a run, a jump and a throw. In the long jump I was disqualified because I couldn't make it past the end section of track that separates the 1 metre board from the sand. I threw shot put for a bronze medal and ran a solid 18 second 100 metre race for an 8th place ribbon. I fell in love. I knew this was what I wanted to do.

So, for the past twelve summers I have filled my Monday and Wednesday nights with practices, and my weekends with meets, ranging from the island to Kamloops to the solid heat of my hometown. I haven't ever known any other sport as well as I have known track. I know the rules, the regulations, the news updates, and the famous athletes. Track was my world.

Growing up, the key part of track and field was having fun. Some parts were difficult and some parts were easy, but we always made sure we had fun. I adored going to the track. I had friends that I could connect with and compete with. I could chase boys around and squirt water at them. We were a track family. With this fun, I still loved to compete. I never won anything, and I never particularly excelled at any one event - I just wanted to have fun. I wanted to jump because it made me feel good and I could challenge myself.

When I hit grade 12, a lot of things changed. I would also say that it had started before then. Track slowly evolved from this event where lanky little Katie could run and jump because of the joy God had given her to weekend meets where the first thing I did when I entered the track was scope out my competition. Check out the other girls to see what new track clothes they were wearing or who they were hanging out with. Track became a competition, but not one that was held on the track. A competition of the mind, where secretly we swore we didn't care what we looked like and complained about the girls who wore makeup to compete, but honestly struggled inside to make sure we looked okay and that people noticed us. I signed to a university team, after doubting that anyone would want a 145 pound "high-jumper" and someone who could barely make it over 2 metres in pole vault. I had never weight lifted in my life, never ran tempo circuits, never considered myself to be very good.

That struggle has changed a lot since attending university. There is a pressure within the track and field world to look and perform a certain way according to an event. Sprinters are strong and have big legs. Long distance runners are lean and skinny. Pole vaulters are a medium-sized build...blahblahblah. I sometimes think, "which event would suit my body type?" and proceed to dig around in the bucket of track events trying to see what I could come up with. Maybe, I could be a pole vaulter! Or, maybe my destiny lies in multi-events because I'm sure not skinny enough to be a sprinter or a long distance runner.

So, for those girls out there who are secretly dying inside because they don't believe they are good enough or great enough for a team or "track-worthy" because your body does not align with what record holders say, I am here to stand a testament to that. I am not setting records, I am not coming first in every single meet, but I am living under a Father who knows my hurts and my needs and knows what I try hard to do and is with me every step of the way. When did track become such a fiesty battle of self-destruction? When can we return to the fun and the joy of doing it because God gave us a passion for running and jumping and being outside and glorifying Him?

In trying return to the joy that I had when I was a kid, these past 10 months and counting have been the hardest days in my life, but also the ones that have given me most joy. God has provided that joy through the struggle. Chronologically, I was diagnosed with multiple gallstones in mid-December of 2014, an apparent result of having taken previous medication. After emergency room visits, ultrasounds, blood tests and doctor visits, I was informed that my only option was to have my gallbladder surgically removed. I currently sit on a list. As well, school this year and other conditions created stress, and stress=sick for Katie. Sick meant missing a bit of school here and there, but also pumping my body of antibiotics, codeine and Tylenol, trying to rid myself of any pain I was experiencing. I returned to Kelowna, glad to have made it through the school year. I underwent wisdom teeth surgery, and again flooded my body with drugs that our bodies are just not meant to handle at high concentrations. I talked about in an earlier blog post about being grateful for my health...which lasted a very short time. My stomach is up and down constantly and I sleep like a bear in hibernation. Currently, I stand taking naturopathic medicines, praying that God would heal my body and trying to flush my organs of all of the nastiness that I have put into it over these past few months. I apologize if this is all too much information, but I desire to be honest and share what life looks like right now.

Being this sick has crushed me. I don't say all of this for you to take pity on me or thing that I am trying to shove all of my problems on you. I learned last year that sport cannot take over our lives. My coach constantly reminds me, "Katie, why do you do track? Why do you do high jump? Why do you pole vault?" I do it because I want to glorify God. It's hard to give it up to Him when you return home from work every day feeling like a slug and craving a good nights sleep. I'm not injured, I'm sick. I want to do what I love to do, and I can't. It has been killing me.

So, in this reflection, I KNOW that I am not alone. I KNOW that God is with me. In the shower just moments ago, I looked at my hands as water was running over them. Refreshing and renewing water that wiped away the tears I had cried earlier from stomach cramps at my meet. The mascara that dripped down my cheeks. The dirt under my finger nails. The pain of all these things that have happened to me - gone. The frustration of meets gone bad (which has become the norm lately). My hands, callused and dirty, were a reminder that God has us in this struggle. I say it often, and I will continue to say it, but I have a good good Father who knows me where I am at and understands this season of my life.

This season is unlike any other. I often feel as though people in my life are not treated as they should be because I am not as I should be. I am often depressed, irritable, needy, emotional, grumpy, critical, and a plain out disturbance. But, these people are in my life where they are to help me in this journey. They aren't crutches, but encouragers, prayer-warriors, guiders, and loving people who believe in me.

Thanks for reading and being one of those encouragers.