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Tumbling into Trust

Published on February 17, 2023

Shannon Farlow
Andie Hubbard thought her testimony was boring. She grew up going to church, surrounded by her family’s strong faith. She did all the “church stuff.”

“At camp you hear about all these incredible testimonies of someone having a dramatic coming-to-Christ moment,” Andie shared. “I had the most boring testimony. I’d known Jesus my whole life.”

Carolinas FCA Regional Director of Ministry Advancement Kelsi Pack first opened Andie’s mind to the idea that there is no such thing as a boring testimony.

As Andie was challenged to think of her testimony beyond her lifelong faith, she realized her “boring” testimony was full of so many God moments that helped shaped the person she is today.

Sometimes your plan is not the same as God’s.

Despite losing hearing in her left ear at age 2, Andie was an active child, traveling across the U.S. as a competitive gymnast. Gymnastics was her life for a long time, but in middle school, something changed. Her love for the sport diminished, and she decided to quit. Andie had always been a gymnast and without that sport in her life, fear crept in. She began asking: “Since gymnastics became who I was, who am I now?” Andie searched for answers. God was getting ready to show her that her identity was in Christ, not gymnastics (or any other sport).

AndieIn high school, Andie’s passion for sports led her to cheerleading and track. She was planning to run track in college until she received an out-of-the-blue email her junior year from Converse University's Head Acrobatics and tumbling Coach Keegan Johnson. Even though Andie hadn’t competed on the mat in several years, she connected with Coach Keegan. There was just one hurdle: Andie wanted to study deaf education, and there are only four colleges in the country with deaf education and only three of them have deaf studies, the specific major Andie wanted. After some quick research, Coach Keegan confirmed that Converse University offered deaf studies, and Andie took a leap back into tumbling. A God moment.

Soon into her freshman year, the shock of athletic competition on the team quickly caused Andie to struggle fitting in and longing for home. In October, she was sidelined with an injury and the stress of the new semester reached breaking point.

“I couldn’t figure out why God would bring me to this school, help me pay for it with a scholarship, bring me back into tumbling and my perfect major, and then take it away in a matter of months” Andie said. “I was angry and sad.”

Still struggling with the “why” of her injury, Andie reluctantly went to an FCA retreat that December. During one of the small group discussions, 
“My biggest mistake was thinking a testimony is only before being a Christian. It goes through your life. It comes in stages.”
-Andie Hubbard
everyone shared stories of injuries that plagued them during their freshmen years. Andie could relate. The time away shifted her perspective.

“I grew from that [injury] and learned how to not react and that you can’t control what happens,” she said.

Andie recovered from surgery, and was back to leading FCA Huddles, finding her fit. By the end of her junior year, everything was falling into place.

Andie was on track to graduate early after the fall semester of her senior year, but three days before moving back to school, she woke up to a spinning room that wouldn’t stop. A perfectly healthy college athlete the day before, now she couldn’t keep her balance or walk. Andie was forced to take a medical leave from school that semester.

After two months of extensive testing at Duke Medical Center, Andie’s nerves were unresponsive to every test, which meant her nerves were not sending signals to her brain. Andie was the youngest person on record to be diagnosed with bilateral vestibular hypofunction, a condition that causes impairments in cranial nerves and major functions of the inner ear organs, and she immediately began therapy to address her dizziness and balance.
tumbling team
Life had literally come to a halt, but Andie could feel that God was in control.

“I had to come to terms that for some reason, I wasn’t supposed to graduate early, and He needed me to be at school,” Andie said. “I was frustrated, but I never crossed a point of giving up. I kept thinking, ‘God has to have a plan to change my thinking and situation.’”

She longed to know God’s plan despite the difficulty. “I kept trusting that His reason would appear to me,” she explained. “It kept me strong. Of course, there were nights I’d cry myself to sleep, but I had to stay positive. There was a plan.”

After four months of therapy, Andie wasn’t doing back flips, but she could walk and run, which was a tremendous improvement. She returned to school in the spring to finish her senior year, where she was a student-mentor on her Acrobatics and Tumbling team.

“People would still ask me, ‘Are you sad you can’t tumble?’” she said. “The younger me would have said yes, thinking I had failed and missed out, but I look at things differently. God needed my life to stop for whatever reason, and I learned my identity is in Him, not in my mistakes, parents or grades.”

While coming into her own after a harrowing medical journey, Andie’s faith in God’s reasons and help solidified, but she still didn’t see how her “plain” testimony could make a difference.

But Kelsi saw otherwise.

“Andie is a beautiful example of approaching things head on in truth, but seasoning it with such grace that people wanted to talk to her about difficult things,” Kelsi said. “Her faith not only helped her navigategroup through multiple injuries during her college career, but it also set an example of how to lean on the Lord during trials and be an example, and now comforter, for those who experience the same. The joy of the Lord truly shines through her!”

Andie graduated from Converse University in May 2022 with a Deaf and Hard of Hearing degree and ASL minor. During her time at Converse, Andie and a group of students launched the campus’ first FCA Huddle after spending a year in discipleship, learning about FCA and laying the foundation for the ministry to grow on campus. Andie now lives out her testimony as at teacher of the hearing impaired for the Rowan-Salisbury School System in Salisbury, North Carolina.

Her regular life is far from regular, because it is her own and just as God designed it.

“If I hadn’t grown up with the struggles I had, I wouldn’t be in this major and I wouldn’t have the heart to help these kids live and thrive,” she said.

“Everything has helped shape me. As hard as it would be to go back into my story, I wouldn’t rewrite it.”

Dear Lord, keep our eyes and hearts open to your God moments so we don’t miss what You have planned for us. We know You can do exceedingly more than we ever ask or think, and we thank You for Your hand in our lives. We are grateful for testimonies such as Andie’s, and we ask You to help each of us make the most of every moment, big and small, that you have gifted us. Amen.

Get Involved
To learn more about Carolinas FCA and how you can get involved, visit www.carolinasfca.org. To get involved with FCA at Converse University, follow them on Instagram at @converse.fca. To get involved with FCA near you, visit fca.org


Photos courtesy of Andie Hubbard and Converse University