Kendra’s Story

Our God, The Rescuer

Kendra Smith

happy_runner_kendra

In April of 2015, God showed up for the first time in my awareness. What I mean by this is I did not actively know and seek God, growing up in a home with Christian morals, but not attending church as a child. When I came to GVSU as a freshman, I had no intention of joining a Christian group, because that was out of my comfort zone to discuss religion and challenge the way I went about my life. I started attending an investigative bible study I was introduced to by friends my second semester. After making a crazy out-of-my-comfort-zone decision to go on a week-long retreat with the group, I asked for forgiveness for my life of sin and accepted Christ as my Savior.

Fast forward to 2016: joining Campus Ministry, getting baptized, going on my first two mission trips, all of which were great experiences that challenged my comfort zone. But God still wanted to push me further. I ran a 5k shortly after I became a Christian in 2015. I do not identify myself as a runner, but God had other plans. I was introduced to Team World Vision in March by running a 6k for Water. When the half marathon and marathon were announced at the Well, I knew I had to do it. I repeatedly thought of how crazy that was and how much I really don’t enjoy running. I tried to deny the call (even four weeks into my “trial period” of training) but once again, God had this plan for me and I knew I couldn’t keep denying it. So I signed up for the half marathon. Finding the motivation to run was hard, especially in the summer heat and when the school year started settling in, but I had a great support team. I got through the 5 months of training, the race quickly approaching and I got really excited (and nervous of course).

Then, one of the roughest weeks of my life hit. 20 minutes after taking a really bad midterm exam a week and a half before race day, I found out my healthy grandma had an asthma attack and unexpectedly passed away. It came out of nowhere and I was not prepared for the loss. In the days leading up to the funeral, I tried to distract myself and keep my normal routine, so I wouldn’t fall behind in school and work. Two days after I received the news, I was on my way home from work (actually waiting to turn onto GV’s campus off of Fillmore) when I was rear-ended by a Jeep Cherokee driver, distracted by her cellphone, going approximately 55 mph. I was driving my 1998 Volkswagen Beetle, which was totaled after taking such a hard impact from a standstill. My back window blew out and my seat broke from the impact of my body hitting it. Bystanders thought I flew out the back window of my car, because I ended up in a laying down position. My seatbelt saved me from that, but most importantly, God had a protecting hand over me. There is so much evidence why I should not have walked away from the accident, but I did, which I see as evidence of God’s power. After an evening spent in the ER with x-rays, testing, and baffling the doctors, all they could diagnose was whiplash in my neck and some bruising and swelling of my leg. By grace of God, they cleared me to run the half marathon, one week after the accident, if I rested my body leading up to the race.

With the stress and pain of losing my grandma, being without a car, and trying to heal my body, I found myself in a hard place. Throughout the training process, I prayed for the kiddos my fundraising would reach, and for the exact amount to reach my goal of $1310. After a tough week, I had grown discouraged with fundraising (only having about $400). I just wanted to break $500 and get the race over with. But our God, who had already performed a miracle by rescuing me (both from my life of sin and from the accident), had more up His sleeve.  Thursday before the race, I was sitting at work when a $300 donation came in. Then an anonymous $500. Soon after $50 came in…in just 3 hours $850 was raised!! By the end of the day, I went from wanting to give up to meeting my goal (and surpassing it during race weekend)! God had answered my prayers, when I had been impatient and questioning His power.

On the same day, my mom called about my totaled car. Dealing with the insurance company in the aftermath of the accident added more stress to the situation. We assumed the insurance company would lowball us on the value of my car, because of its age. Instead, the insurance company ended up giving us $850 more than what we wanted to get out of my car if we had sold it intact! I’m not sure of the significance receiving two $850 amounts in the same day was, but I know I was blown away by God’s power and control of the situation. God showed up in big ways when all I wanted to do was worry.

car

Running the race marked out for me despite the adversities I had faced was empowering. Running the half, knowing 30 kiddos will receive clean water for life because of my fundraising was a major victory. Being physically to run the race after the accident at a faster pace than anticipated was also a major victory. But these victories are not mine. God’s hand was over it all and it was a victory for the Kingdom!

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