It is an honor to restart the FPU women’s
tennis program. In an amazing first year we received All-Academic team honors,
PacWest Conference Freshman of the Year and four All-Conference awards, the Intercollegiate
Tennis Association Community Service Award and went undefeated at home!
As I reflect on my first year, I am
reminded how far God has carried me and my family from where we were nearly 15 years
ago. In 2005, I received my first sudden cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead.
Miraculously, I was brought back to life. As a result of sudden cardiac arrests,
I suffered memory loss, numerous surgeries and was not able to work, play
sports or drive for seven years. I am constantly reminded of God’s love
for me as I walk around the FPU campus and see the verse from Matthew 19:26,
“…with God all things are possible.”
I could have gone into a depression
and lost all hope, and to be honest there was a period where I did. But true
hope changes the whole perspective of our lives, and whoever has accepted the
call from Jesus Christ can put their eternal hope into action by following their
dreams and making a difference. Psalm 62:5 says, “Find rest, O my soul, in God
alone; my hope comes from him.” God will give us hope that will empower us to
radically change lives.
God could do what the cardiologists
told me neither they nor I could do. He allowed me to relearn my lost memories,
gave me the stability to drive and granted me the opportunity to pour into the
next generation as a collegiate tennis coach.
It is a special opportunity to build
an athletic program from the ground up, and I recruit students committed to
growth beyond adversity. To instill the appropriate team culture, we make decisions
every day to emphasize what is right and to immediately correct what is wrong.
Through my testimony, I relate with these women about the pressures and trials
that happen throughout life. Not everything will go as we plan it. How do we
respond? As I remind them how far God has brought me, I assure them he will do
the same for them.
I believe God allows us to achieve
goals, but it is a sign of faith when our dreams are larger than our
reasoning. Positive thinking is not the same as faith in God. The Bible says in
2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and
of love, and of a sound mind.” If we choose to operate in God’s will, nothing
can stop us as we move toward the things he prepared for us.
Through these past nearly 15 years, God has taught me multitudes of lessons. Let me impart just a few of them as we receive anxious new students walking around campus not knowing where they need to go, and returning students looking to rekindle friendships.
Time to Get Out of the Waiting Room
I felt imprisoned in my own home, unable
to work, do sports, drive or pursue my passion for intercultural studies. Not
only do I have a B.A. and M.A. in the subject, but I’m Dutch born and raised,
of Indonesian decent and married to an American—it’s literally my life. God
taught me I was in his waiting room as he molded and prepared me to be his
servant. Now I understand! Many of us go through this waiting period…how did
you experience yours?
to Live Again
God gave me a second chance in life, physically and spiritually. What are we
going to do with our second chances this school year?
Time for Coffee
most of us love coffee or tea. My coffee time is for friends, reflection, relaxation,
quiet mornings, etc. As you drink your coffee or tea, maybe there is a
colleague or student you can invite to join you, so he or she can be
Time for Change
created nature to go through necessary changes in order to rejuvenate for
further growth. I went through my winter in the waiting room as God stripped me
of my leaves and prepared me for the harvest to come. But I cannot remain in
the winter, otherwise God cannot use me. Sweet is the spring nectar after a
long winter! Do you allow yourself to go through changes as God leads?
Time to Pray
Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Never stop praying.” (NLT). Do you have a set time to
pray, or do you pray throughout the day? I encourage you to pray for specific
students you meet in the first few weeks of this semester.
we start the new year in FPU’s 75th celebration, can we wake up each
day like Winnie the Pooh?
“What day is it?” asked Pooh.
“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day,” said Pooh.
When we go through difficult days,
four things become evident: clarity, confirmation, commitment
and character. Having positivity, faith in Christ and a big dream can
help FPU’s future. Let’s start this new academic year with this mindset as we celebrate
75 years of God’s faithfulness!
Finally, I must end with a tennis
analogy. FPU is called to engage the cultures and serve the cities. This begins
with LOVE. We must LOVE those around us in order to engage them. We must SERVE
others to emulate Jesus as he SERVED us. If you LOVE others you will SERVE them,
that is an ACE worthy of God’s victory!