When I was in middle school in Farmington Hills, Michigan, I turned to track because I knew it was a way out of a difficult home life. I knew if I trained hard enough and ran as well as I could, I could earn a scholarship and be able to leave home.
I grew up going to church. I believed enough to know that God is the one who could ultimately make my dreams come true. I started journaling, telling God my thoughts, opening my heart to Him. I was paying attention in church, and I was going through the motions like praying before I ran and not cursing as much as I had been before. But I wasn’t connected to Christ at that point. I never had a real relationship with God. The thought that God wanted to connect with me never entered my mind.
That changed during my junior year of high school. My next-door neighbor invited me to attend a Christmas play at her church. It was beautiful and it touched me emotionally but it did more than that, God used that play to touch my spirit. Everything clicked, and I realized that God wanted to have a personal relationship with me. That was the whole point of Christmas and Jesus coming to the Earth. I knew at that moment I wanted a relationship; I knew He wanted to connect with me. That night I told God, “I want to do life with You. I don’t know what that looks like, but I want to live with You.”
There have been lots of ups and downs in my track career and there will always be, but God is teaching me to trust Him. He wants me to trust Him with everything in my life, including my training. He wants me to give Him all my hopes and dreams and to trust Him to make those come true for me.
I won Big Ten championships in high jump, long jump, pentathlon and heptathlon. I also finished third in the NCAA Outdoor Track Championships twice and finished second in the 2008 indoor national meet. I also know track and field is simply a tool God can use to bring glory to Himself, and I am an instrument in drawing others to God’s redemptive purposes.
God has talented me in track and field so I can share the message of Jesus Christ. I get the opportunity to show people the gospel when I compete. God is bigger and more important than running around some random track.
I want people to know that whoever you are and whatever your circumstances are, Jesus Christ wants to have an intimate personal relationship with you.
—Bettie Wade, USA Olympic track and field competitor