When I was six years old I gave my life to Christ. When I did, I said to Him, “If you need somebody to go somewhere for You, and You don’t have anyone to send, send me. I’ll go!”
I started related thinking, “Maybe this is where He wants me to go — to use my athletics. But how do you do that? How do you bring glory to God through sports? How do you help people understand you’re doing this for Jesus without wearing some neon sign and looking ridiculous?” I really began to seek the Lord then. I remember coming across Psalm 139:14 which says, “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
All the sudden I realized, “OK, I worship God just by being what He made me! He’s made me an athlete and that’s what He expects me to be.” So my dynamics changed in my training and in what I could do. When I was finally able to win the gold medal, set a new record, become the first female athlete to win a gold medal for the United States, and break all kinds of accolades, it was all centered on the reason I was doing this — because I’ve been born, I’ve been created, and this is what God has given to me to praise Him on the earth with. My goal became more than gold. This was just my platform to me to share Jesus with the world.
This has opened up many doors for me, not only to take but also to give. Now as a chaplain at the Olympic Games, I’m able to give, to serve, and to understand where they are sitting because I’ve sat there. I’ve experienced what they are experiencing and now I can worship the Lord in an even greater way by impacting others to know that they too were created in the workmanship of Jesus Christ to glorify the Lord.
—Madeline Manning-Mims, USA Olympic runner