Stephanie Brown Trafton

Stephanie Brown Trafton
Thrower

I had a very weak faith growing up. It was not until I finished college that I stopped running from God.

I had a great deal of success in sports and had a great relationship with my boyfriend, but I still felt like I had climbed the ladder of success only to find out the prize didn’t mean much. The prize I had won wasn’t lasting or eternal. It didn’t seem to have any purpose. I started searching for purpose and God kept knocking. After a lot of reading and praying, God put it on my heart to put my faith and trust in Him.

I had always been taught that reality was only what could be seen, heard or touched. Acting on faith was a big step for me. I asked God to help me in my unbelief and He started working in my life in ways that I could no longer ignore. The more steps I took in His direction, the clearer the path became until I finally found that this prize, His love, was the ultimate eternal gift. I knew I had found purpose most of us seek.

[But as I looked toward the Olympics,] even though I had everything to look forward to, I had a feeling that something was just not there during practice. I was working hard, yet something was holding me back. My family and friends kept asking me if I was going to make the team, bring home a medal, and break the American record. I kept telling them, “Yeah, okay…” but I had a feeling that it was an impossible task. I really didn’t believe that I could win a medal or throw over 220 feet in the discus.

Then God put into my heart one of the most commonly used phrases by Christian athletes, one that I had been ignoring for a long time, “For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). One word jumped out at me: “CAN.”

I realize [now] that Christ has the ability to make the “impossible” possible in my life. I believe now that I can do the things He has placed in my path while looking to Him for strength. The outcome of my season is out of my direct control, but as long as I stay disciplined, I know “I CAN.” If it is God’s will, I will accomplish my goal of winning an Olympic medal.

Stephanie went on to win the gold medal in the 2008 Olympic Games on August 18th 2008.