This story appears in FCA Magazine’s September/October 2017 issue. Subscribe today!
Hometown: Normandy Park, Washington
• Great Northwest Athletic Conference Academic All-Conference (2015, 2016)
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” – Jeremiah 29:11
Shaina Mitchell grew up in a close-knit, Christian home, but she made her faith her own early on at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington. During her time there, God has manifested Himself in new ways. With prayer and humility, she’s surrendered her time on campus and the soccer pitch to Him. Now, the senior team captain is seeking what’s best for the team and God’s journey for her.
FCA: What have you learned while at Central Washington?
SM: I’ve learned how your faith is your own in relationship with God. My freshman year of college was definitely one of the biggest learning curves; going from a private Christian school to a public college was a totally different atmosphere. It was almost more overwhelming when soccer season died down, because then I had more time on my hands. I met other people, and it was like, “These people are good people, but they don’t believe what I believe and live a different type of life.” It tested me, and I had to figure out what type of life I wanted to live and what type of person I wanted to be.
FCA: How was your faith impacted during that time?
SM: During my freshman year, I got involved in FCA, which reopened my eyes to what I did want whenever I was confused or unsure of things. I have a big support system back home and would always call them and say, “I’m really struggling.” They would give me confidence and reassurance. Then I started discipleship with [FCA Area Representative] Nikole [McCollow], praying and talking to God. By the end of the year, I knew how to handle situations better without getting caught up in them at the same time. It’s all been a good learning curve for me and tested my faith, but it’s only made me stronger.
FCA: How has God shaped you both in and out of your sport?
SM: When I was a senior in high school, I didn’t really know if I was even going to go to college. I had to trust God with the plans He had for me. Even after my sophomore year of college, I was having a hard time finding my purpose at school and wasn’t enjoying soccer as much.
At one point I was having a very honest conversation with Nikole, and she gave me three different things to pray for: soccer, family and school. As soon as I did that, it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders, and everything fell into place. I had never felt more full and free. This last year has been such a great year for me, and I can only thank God for it because I know it’s all His doing.
FCA: What makes things richer for you now?
SM: Realizing my actions and who I am as a person. As an athlete, everyone’s watching. You’re representing more than just yourself; you’re representing your school, your team, your teammates. I’m also representing God and my family in the way I act and how I treat other people and the words I say. I just want to be the best me—for God and everyone else around me.
FCA: What would you say to someone struggling to understand a difficult situation?
SM: Keep your roots close—where you came from and what you’ve known. You need to have people you trust who can keep you accountable, because they’re the ones who know you best. Be honest and trust them, and rely on God. Without that support and reliance, you’re in such a hard place of not knowing anything and feeling lost. It’s going to be hard, but it will turn around. God will give you the strength to endure.
FCA Staff Quote:
“Shaina has been a part of our FCA ministry at CWU for four years and part of our student leadership team for the last three, serving the student-athletes on campus in various ways. She has been an encouragement to her team by showing them the light of Jesus through her heart to put others first. She has also been a big help sharing with some of the middle school and high school Huddles in the area.”
– Devin McCollow, FCA Area Representative
Kititas County, Washington
Photos courtesy of CWU Athletics