Angels in the Outfield
This starts a series called “Through My Eyes” where athletes will be telling stories of lives changed from their perspective.
Destiny Kaus is a 4th year English student at the University of Regina. She plays for the softball team at the U of R and started getting involved with AIA two years ago. AIA has had a huge impact on Destiny’s life. In December of 2014 she gave her life to Christ. Destiny is passionate about her faith and helping others, including the girls on her softball team, find out the truth about who God is.
I first met Danae LeDrew in August 2014 when she joined the University of Regina Cougar women’s softball team. With both of us being outfielders and left-handed batters, we instantly bonded. However, due to personal reasons, I ended up taking the last half of our season and the rest of the fall semester off. But, when I returned for the winter semester, I reconnected with Danae, and our friendship grew.
In March, I invited my whole softball team to attend an AIA dinner where Olympians Leah Ferguson and Lyndon Rush shared their stories and spoke about how they incorporate faith into their sport. Danae was the only player on my team who responded to my invite and came to the dinner.
“I wanted to know more about these concepts, this organization, and Christ, and I couldn’t turn down the opportunity for some tasty food and engagement with other athletes, coaches, and people in the community,” Danae said.
After the dinner, I drove Danae home, listened to her many questions, tried to answer them as best I could, and freaked out a little inside when she suggested we go for coffee sometime to talk more about faith.
As much as I was excited for this opportunity to share the story of God’s grace in my life, chat with her about faith, and drink coffee (both of us love coffee…probably a little too much), I was also deeply terrified. For over a year, I had strong women mentors in AIA pour into my life and disciple me, but I had never discipled anyone. Nevertheless, with plenty of support from my AIA friends and the Holy Spirit, I invited Danae over to my place for coffee.
Thanks to the Holy Spirit working in us both, we had a very fruitful conversation. And, over the next few months, we continued to hang out and meet for coffee. This fall, Danae started coming to AIA and to our AIA girl’s Bible study.
“I felt that AIA was an answered prayer to me and a major blessing because I could surround myself weekly with supportive women, men, and athletes who are all believers and who help me grow in my relationship with Jesus. I feel loved, not judged, which is what I always feared.”
This quote from Danae melts my heart. We share similar stories in the sense that both of us often felt judged in Christian circles and feared this judgement when we started going to AIA. However, through the gracious, loving AIA staff on our campus, we felt Christ’s grace, love, and acceptance. It has been really amazing seeing Danae receive this grace and love from Christ and grow in her faith. Upon submitting her life to Christ, her view of sport and of herself in sport has changed.
“I realize now my journey to Christ obviously wasn’t alone,” Danae said. “He was with me all along bringing me closer to Him. He led me to the opportunities I have received here at U of R, both softball-wise and AIA-wise…So, submitting my life to Christ has helped me understand that I am not defined by being an athlete, but by loving and being loved by God.”
According to Danae, since joining AIA, she has also seen God at work in her life in some pretty incredible ways; she has felt his grace, learned to give grace to others, and leaned on God’s strength in difficult times. Her faith has also grown so much over these last few months. I’ve seen her grow in obedience to Christ, in her enthusiasm to dig into God’s Word, and in her openness to work towards finding her identity in Christ.
“My faith has grown immensely over these last few months, specifically in attempting to give up my control over things in life and turn to Him instead,” Danae said. “Fear, worry and anxiety are things I sometimes tend to struggle with, and my growing faith seems to help me overcome these gradually.”
Danae plans to attend National Training Camp in Edmonton this May to continue growing in her walk with Christ. Personally, I am so grateful to have Danae in my life as a best friend, teammate, and sister in Christ. Even today before church, she leaned over and said to me, “This might sound really lame, but I’ve really been trying to work on my prayer life.”
Not lame at all! In fact, her saying this encouraged me to look into my own heart and think to myself, “Yeahhhh I really need to work on my prayer life too.” Danae continues to challenge me, encourage me, and love me through my struggles. I am pumped to see how God continues to work in Danae’s life through the rest of this semester, through the summer, and through our fall softball season at the U of R. God is so good!
Photo Credit: Elma Kaus