A year ago this month, I was in a powerlifting championship in Virginia and won in my age and weight class. I was lifting the heaviest I’ve ever lifted before. At that time I was able to deadlift 187.2 lbs, bench 80 lbs and squat 115 lbs with a body weight of 114, and fighting my spastic left side all the way.
Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. ~1 Corinthians 26-27
In November I wrenched my back and had to rest it and go to the chiropractor twice a week to get it back to normal. As soon as I got cleared to lift again I broke my left hand. I was out of commission for another three weeks. I got the cast off and found my little finger laying on my ring finger. While in the cast, a muscle spasm pulled the little finger out of place. The only thing that could be done was surgery. Doctors had to re-break my hand, put my pinky back into place, then put a metal plate in and insert four screws. I had my surgery February 6th of this year. I’m still in PT and OT but was told I only have to go once a week.
I’m getting stronger and increasing my range of motion nicely. A few weeks ago I was cleared to start lifting again. I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to grab the bar well enough to lift, but so far so good! I’m starting from day one with very light weights. That’s ok, at least I’m able to lift again. I’m so grateful for that and grateful that it wasn’t my right hand. It could have been much worse.
Although I don’t sit around feeling sorry for myself saying why me, I do believe all this happened for a reason. I’m not sure what that reason is, but obviously part of it was God wanted me to slow down quite a bit. I do know this; this whole thing has caused me to be even more determined to even be better than I was before. Even more determined to work around my physical limitations than I ever was. I push harder in everything that I do now and not just in powerlifting.I may or may not be the same again, but life does go on and so will I.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer ~Romans 12:22
As many of you know, this year has proven to be an explosion of unforeseen events. Well, to rock my world again, I had to have surgery on my hand on February 6th.
In January I broke my left hand walking upstairs. The otherwise routine break was complicated when my hand muscles spasmed while in the cast and pulled my pinky bone out of place. As a result, the break didn’t heal correctly. When the cast was removed, my eyes bugged out of my head! My pinky had rotated outward and was laying on my ring finger. My doctor, a hand specialist from Munich, Germany, said, “Well that s not good!” It’s a good thing he is cute and has an accent because at that moment I was in no mood.
He preceded to tell me I needed surgery to re-break my hand and put on a plate with four screws. I looked at him like a deer in headlights and preceded to ball my eyes out. The first thing I questioned after I processed the information was, will I be able to lift again? I was assured that I will be able to, but it would be a long, hard road.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. ~Galatians 6:9
I will be in a splint for four months, but I can take it off to shower and do my physical therapy. I began physical therapy about a week ago. I endure an hour of excruciating exercises twice a day that makes my wrist and hand throb for hours after. A few days ago I made a loose fist for the first time. The swelling won’t be down until months from now. I worked so hard to get to where I was strength-wise, not only on my left side but my entire body, and now it’s gone. I’m way worse than before I broke my hand. I know that sounds pitiful, but although I am depressed and angry, I am not a quitter and won’t stop until I get back to competition shape. It’s going to be a long time though.
My arm from elbow to finger is stiff and weak, but there is nothing I can do about it beyond having patience and applying myself to my physical therapy. Maybe that’s the lesson in all of this. Be patient—which I definitely am not—and don’t quit. I will never give up, and give all the glory to my Lord and Savior.
This past weekend I competed in the 100% RAW American Challenge National Championships in Zion Crossroads, Virginia.
I took First Place in squat, bench and deadlift for my weight and age group. The winning squat was 80 lbs, bench, 72 lbs and deadlift was 185 lbs. I weighed in at 113 lbs.
Although I won I learned a lot about the technical aspects of powerlifting. I made all my lifts but three were not counted because of technical mistakes. I can point to why I made the mistakes on the discounted lift. On every lift that didn’t count the mistake took place directly after a split second of doubt entered my mind. It was my first full competition preforming all three lifts: squat, bench and deadlift. It takes a lot out of you and I probably was not 100% mentally prepared.
Lay your hands on him; remember the battle—you will not do it again! ! ~Job 41:8
I’ve learned there is no room for any self-doubt. Next time I’m going to have to go into competition KNOWING I can do the lift and stop thinking about it while preforming it. Also, I have to work a harder on building strength and stamina.
I am glad I made the mistakes that I did (although not in the moment) because I learned a lot about what I have to work on and therefore improve myself. I am grateful to God who put me on this path. I had no idea that I would be in this place a year and a half ago. Thank you to my husband, Ryan, for driving me to and from competitions, thank you to all my coaches who are incredible, and to all my teammates who help motivate and encourage me.
He bit, he reared… he scared the living horse-hockey out of me. But my riding instructor, mind you, the one not atop the two tons of ornery horseflesh, told me I was fully capable of riding him. Thanks for the vote of confidence there, but tell that to the voices in my head screaming I was one spoke short of a round spur for ever going near Al…
There’s something I wish I knew long ago: view yourself through God’s eyes. It will change how you see yourself and shape the decisions made throughout life. I’ve struggled, and continue to struggle, with the unending negative chatter in my head. The voices saying, “You can’t… you’re not good enough… how are you going to do…?” We have to step back, take a deep breath and ask ourselves, is that God talking? Would God ever say nasty things like that to us? No, he wouldn’t! We must raise His voice louder than the negative chatter.
God says: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.”– 2 Corinthians. 5:17 ; “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” – Matthew 5:4 ; and finally, “You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” Thessalonians 5:5 We are new beings in Him. We are light bearing children of God himself that cannot be snuffed out. We belong to Him and Him alone.
Al, on the other hand, belonged to Al. That horse never changed. But I did.
In the next few weeks I’ll break down some situations when I limited myself because I wasn’t looking at myself through God’s eyes. When you don’t see yourself like He does, your self worth lacks as well as your self-confidence. Doing so impacts your life in ways you may not think it would.
Here’s one illustration: grades. Looking back, I realize my grades suffered because of how I felt about myself. I had B’s and C’s… a D here and there. I know now if I had better self-confidence I’d have done better in school. I was too busy being afraid of what teachers and other kids thought of me that it impeded my learning. I’d call it “performance anxiety on steroids.”
Back to Al. Horses can sense “performance anxiety on steroids.” It makes them ornery.
This confidence battle happened throughout my school years. I was in an agonizing, vicious cycle inside my head. I’d try to get really good grades so teachers and students would see me as “normal,” but time and again I’d bomb on the tests. So the teaches and other kids knew I wasn’t as good as they were. The grades spoke loud and clear. It was an emotional, living hell.
Don’t get me wrong, I got through school just fine and I went to college etc., but how I saw and felt about myself made a huge impact on what college I got into, where I wanted to go, and in what I wanted to major. I ended up going to Centenary College in Hackettstown, NJ (now a University). In 1989 Centenary was a small college with 300 student residents. My class was the first co-ed class to ever graduate—a 54 to one female to male ratio. I didn’t want to go to a huge school far from home because I wasn’t comfortable with the idea. I thought I’d get swallowed up! My decision making process in all aspects of my life was base upon what the cold, unforgiving world thought of me and how I felt about myself. I didn’t try as hard as I could have because I was worried about failure. What would people think of me? They’d pity me.
Now on a side note: I’m so, so glad I went to Centenary because I met some of my closest and dearest friends there. Even when you limit yourself God, is there with you. He has a plan and He will help you change your perspective and thinking. Through that, you will change your performance. I ended up taking private lessons on Al while at college. That individualized attention helped to focus my perspective, much like powerlifting does for me now. Al was still going to be jerk, and those weights are still going to outweigh me, but when I changed how I saw, and now see, myself it calms the chatter in my head. I become the one in control.
So the lesson of the day is don’t limit yourself, and always view the reflection in the mirror through God’s eyes. If you don’t do these things you won’t reach your full potential.
Who knows? You might win the Nobel Peace prize for bringing the liberals and conservatives together.