The Way of an Eagle
by Bob Darden,
P. J. Richardson,
I was raised in a church environment; we went to church all the time. My parents were involved in the same church for thirty to forty years and my brother and his wife are Christians. My brother and sister and I are close, and we're getting closer every year. I was never really forced to go to church - it was just part of my everyday life.
My parents are great; they supported me growing up and throughout my whole career. I was busy in sports and a lot of other activities while growing up. I never twiddled my thumbs and thought, Now what am I going to do today? I was always a very active child and I had a great childhood imagination growing up.
God got His hand on me even while I was young, probably somewhere in my early teens. I can remember lying awake at night thinking about death. Not many kids that age think or worry about death. It's not a part of their conversation. I couldn't accept the fact that once you die, that's it, life is ended. So thinking about death initially got me thinking more abstractly, thinking of eternity, thinking about what's after life here on earth. It bothered me to think that after we die that there might not be anything to look forward to, that there might not be anything else beyond what we see here in the present. So, in the beginning, I think I was more afraid of what happens after we die. Not necessarily what's going to happen to me, but what's going to happen in a general sense.
But even at that age, I think that God was planting a seed in my heart. I don't think I really committed myself to the Lord at that point. It was just the first steps of the process. I believe that it had a lot to do with my seeking after the Lord, getting closer to Him, and seeking fellowship with other Christians.
Still, I always read the Bible, and I enjoyed going to church and hearing the sermons. So it was never like: "I don't want to hear that stuff!"
I think I just grew in the Lord over the years. My brother and his wife had a big part in it. They never pressured me or sat me down and talked to me saying, "Do you believe in Jesus Christ?" It was just a matter of people coming into my life, planting seeds along the way.
Elsewhere, there were people praying for me. Eventually, when I went off to college at Michigan State, I went to FCA meetings and started getting involved.
I finally trusted the Lord on December 16, 1984. It was just a matter of everything coming together. I'm so thankful that it happened then, because I graduated that year. I was going off on the mini-tours to play and getting my career going. It was my first time traveling alone and experiencing life without parents and without college teammates or friends. I think that accepting the Lord that year was all a part of His plan. It helped me know that this was going to be a new start not only of a new career, but a new start with Him.
I discovered as everyone else has, that life was not easy. It has its great moments and it has its down moments and crying times. If I were without my faith out here on the Tour, I could really get caught up in the fame and the money and the performance. You still get caught up in that, even being a Christian, because it is such a worldly based, performance-oriented sport.
But my faith has not only helped me grow as a person out here, it has helped me reach out and go beyond myself and take my eyes off of myself. It has helped me say, "Okay, God's given me this talent. He's blessed me just by letting me be out here. So how can I bless others with what I've been given? How can I turn it around and try to balance that with my time and my efforts for charity and sharing who I am?"
So many people look at the scoreboard or look in the paper, and all they see is a number. They know us by what we shoot. I've got more of a life than just playing golf. This happens to be what I do by way of a job.
And the more I can get involved outside of Tour activities, the more it helps me! It helps me stretch my faith and my personality; it helps me to get a better idea of who I am. Who am I really as a person? Not as a golfer that's my job, that's my occupation. But who am I as a person? What am I made of? What are my characteristics? How does God fit into the mold of my life?
Well, He's very important to me. I'm seeing as I'm out here more and more, God's faithfulness. He continues to be even more faithful, year after year. And I'm realizing that if I don't put God first, not only will my golf game suffer, but all areas of my life will suffer.
When I first started playing out here, I definitely ingrained myself in golf. I practiced constantly so I could make it to the top and be accepted out here.
But now I could leave golf behind and probably be content doing something else, whatever that may be.
I know that my relationship with the Lord is defiantly moving up a notch and that has allowed me to be more involved in what He wants me to do. I'm not afraid to take risks now outside the golf arena. I'm not afraid to get interviewed, go to FCA camps, or do television and radio shows and talk about my faith, because that's who I am. I mean, if Christ really is in me, that's who I am. That's who He is making me to be. I believe that every day He is conforming each one of us more and more into His image. And that should be our goal to be more like Him every day in everything we do.
People know who the Christians are out here. And the more I open up about who I am and what I'm struggling with and the things that are going on in my life, the more I find that others are also struggling in the same areas out here. They're struggling with the performance, with the money, with how people think about them, with relationships, and all that kind of stuff.
So my faith has allowed me to just be myself, and consequently people have started trusting me. If they're going through a tough time, I hope they feel they could come and talk to me or come and talk with some of the other Christians out here.
I know some people have different views about the Christians on the Tour: that we're cliquish, that we're the "God Squad." But when people are going through a tough time, where do they turn? They turn to God.
In the end, it's not a matter of how many people we can win for Christ out here; it's just letting God's Spirit and His light shine through us and letting us be who we are in Jesus. That's what's going to draw others. If they're looking at all, they're going to be drawn to that.
When all of this is over, I hope I will have made a difference in one or two people's lives hopefully more than that. When it's all said and done, people will say, "Yeah, Barb, she won a few tournaments, but more importantly, she walked her life as Christ would have walked."
If you would like to know more about Jesus and what He can do for you, just click the button on the left side of your screen to change your life