Finally, how did your life as an athlete shape your faith? Did your experiences as a gymnast teach you important lessons, or strengthen your character or deepen your soul?
Being an athlete definitely strengthened my faith. I often found myself in stressful situations where I absolutely had to turn to someone else, to a Higher Power for guidance and encouragement. I don't know if I will ever be as devout as my mother is; she has the most complete and ultimate devotion that anyone can have. I observed my mother's faith, and it taught me how to carry myself. When times were tough, I could always rely on my faith. It gave me strength and courage and a sense of protection.
Through the good and the bad-the great experiences and the hardships -- I've learned the importance of faith.
Faith has taught me how to endure challenges and rest assured that better times are ahead. I've also come to realize the meaning of "everything happens for a reason." When things don't work out as I'd planned or hoped, I've come to understand that perhaps I need a challenge to prepare me to be best suited for "the next level" of fulfillment.
Compared to how I saw things as a young athlete, today I have a deeper appreciation for the things that really matter -- my health, the health of my children, the value of a loving husband, and my life experiences. These constant reminders of the goodness of life help me pick myself up when faced with challenges, and this attitude has given me the confidence to believe that life is simply going to get better. Yes, there will be difficulties, disappointments, and sadness, but these experiences allow us to appreciate all the blessings that are all around us. They wake us up to the all of the goodness that we often overlook.
Faith has taken so much stress out of my life, because I know there is a grand plan, and I'm not afraid to believe that my best years are ahead of me. I'm looking forward to seeing my children grow up , I'm looking forward to my bond with my husband becoming more enriched, and I'm looking forward to learning from new life experiences.