The Lord has taught me many things throughout my nine years of being an athlete. But if I had to use one word to sum up my experience, it would be “faithful”.
Growing up, my size as a child led to frequent bullying by peers.
However, I eventually realised that I could use my size to my advantage and demonstrate to others who I truly am.
Therefore, in primary school I participated in Track & Field with Throws (Shot-put) as my CCA.
I got into rigorous training and competition.
I took every tournament seriously and only had one goal in mind: to win the title of champion.
Eventually, I gained recognition within the throws scene and obtained successful admission to my dream school – Cedar Girls’ Secondary School — via Direct School Admission (DSA).
I entered my new school with self-assurance and a strong sense that God had my back.
However, I soon encountered some unforeseen circumstances which were out of my control.
I had batch mates who often teased me for being “too good” and a coach who often discouraged me. I felt lost and afraid.
Thankfully, I had my youth group at New Creation Church at the time in 2019. I will always be grateful for these Kingdom friends I’m surrounded with.
One of my leaders heard me out when I was worried and gave me a verse to meditate on in Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”.
That really helped me.
Later that year, I was selected to be part of the school team to represent my school for National School Games (NSG).
I questioned my abilities because I was the team’s youngest member and the only thrower competing in both the shot-put and discus.
Despite my worries, I was reminded of the verse which my leader had given me. So before every throw, I recited this verse knowing that I was in God’s arms.
I eventually emerged third runner-up for both events.
With a heart full of gratitude, I thanked the Lord for giving me the grace to bring me through both competitions. I knew that my strength came from Him.
Around that time, a fellow sister from my church gave me the opportunity to serve in the Lord’s house.
While I was delighted to be given the opportunity to serve at the time, I had no idea how my time spent serving would eventually have such a significant impact on my throwing career in the long run.
I was able to know many people outside of my circle by serving in the Lord’s house.
I had the chance to share my testimony with them about how the Lord has been faithful to me.
I learnt about preaching and was even invited to be on a panel discussion that explored the value of befriending others.
However, COVID-19 hit me hard.
All my training venues were out of bounds and churches moved their services online. As a result, I missed two National School Games and I felt distant from the Lord.
“If God so loved me and He died for me, where is he?” I would ask myself.
But in my lowest moment, the Lord began to turn my graves into gardens.
He provided for me a coach, Coach Wan, who was willing to guide me even though our coaching could only done through online means and wherever else possible.
In addition to that, God provided opportunities for me to be able to serve online. I was able to pray for my friends through online praying rooms and had the chance to host Kahoot! games over Zoom.
This restored the training, community and fellowship that I needed.
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When 2022 came around, competitions and physical church resumed.
I was motivated to sign up for smaller competitions to prepare myself for the annual National School Games.
The Lord was faithful, and under great training with my coach I won every competition I participated.
Eventually, I started training hard for Nationals knowing that it would be my last shot in the B Division (Secondary School).
The aim was clear for my coach and I: we wanted to break the National School Games record (12.75m) for my division.
I will strengthen you and help you
The big day arrived. I walked to the pit strong and confident, holding my journal book in one hand and my water bottle in the other.
After the practice throws, came the real game. I was determined to break the record.
My first throwing attempt was rough and I slipped my shot. Knowing that I had five more attempts left, I gave it my all.
However, my next two attempts were not successful as well and I was placed fourth after three throws.
I felt defeated and hopeless. I was praying that the Lord would give me a break as the competition was going too fast for me.
Then, out of the blue, the lighting alert went off.
Finally, I had this moment for me to reflect on myself.
I prayed and worshipped. I asked God for peace and for His guiding hand to be with me for the rest of my competitions.
The lightning alert stopped and the competition resumed. Surprisingly, I went back to the throwing ring not feeling anxious but at rest.
I heard these few words in my heart in a slow but steady manner: “I am with you always”.
I felt my hand squeeze tighter as I threw my fifth throw. In that moment, I knew that it was the Lord.
That throw I had was my winning throw and I threw a distance of 11.45m to emerge champion.
At the end of day, despite not breaking the national record, I had a precious and memorable encounter with the Lord who showed me that He is always greater.
I am also thankful for having served with Kingdom friends.
My spiritual community has helped me develop firm foundations of faith and also shaped me into who I am today.
When an athlete has a heart full of gratitude and faith during a competition, he or she will come to realise that every competition is a platform for God’s glory and that every season is covered with His fingerprints.
As such, I want to encourage you to keep on praying to God.
In doing so, rather than being afraid of the future, we will be raised on up eagle’s wings and be able to find rest in His sweet presence!
- When was the last time you knew for a fact that the Lord had strengthened you and helped you?
- Where in your life could you use peace, strength or grace?
- Take ten minutes to be with the Lord. Ask Him for what you need!