LaVonna Martin Floreal

When I made my first United States Olympic team, in 1988, I had a feeling that is indescribable. It was so exciting. In 1992, when I qualified for the Barcelona Olympics, I was even more grateful knowing it was nothing less than a miracle from God.

I had entered the 1991-92 season with a setback that should have given me reason not to stay focused on my Olympic goals. Though I thought everything was alright with my life - because I read my Bible and went to church, I found myself trying to justify that certain things I was doing weren't wrong. For example, at one point I was living with my boyfriend, and I knew that was wrong. But I was happy, my track was going well and I had finished college. Nothing bad seemed to be happening.

In truth, my poor choices were based on a desperate need to find someone or something that could meet my deepest needs. However, instead of filling my void, I kept finding myself in situations that seemed to only intensify the emptiness in my heart.

The results of my decisions caused me to almost miss out on the very thing I had worked long and hard for-a chance at winning an Olympic medal. Fortunately, just before the 1992 Olympic Trials, something happened that served as a wakeup call for me. This trial caused me to realize that I wasn't living my life as God commanded, so I was reaping what I was sowing. People don't always believe it. But it's true: you reap what you sow, good or bad.

I realized I needed to set my hopes in God. He, alone, is worthy of my trust and my life. When I placed my trust in him, by receiving Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I discovered the one relationship that will never fail me. My confidence is in the Lord now.

I was fortunate that I had the chance to compete in two Olympic games and to stand on the victory platform in Barcelona and have a silver medal placed around my neck. That moment, is a time I will never forget.

However, now with God at the center of my life, I no longer rely on those types of experiences to define my identity and value. Track used to be the most important thing in my life. It remained significant after I started walking with God, but it was no longer the number one thing. When it was taken away from me for a short time in 1992 I wanted to die. Inviting God into my life caused me to realize track or other forms of success doesn't me the person I am - Jesus does.

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