This story appears in FCA Magazine’s January/February 2018.
Gigi Marvin Born:
March 7 1987 Hometown:
• Two-time Olympic Silver Medalist (2010, 2014)
• Seven-time World Championship Medalist (2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2017 -- Gold; 2007, 2012 -- Silver)
• 2016 NWHL Defensive Player of the Year as member of the Boston Pride.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
Raised in Warroad, Minnesota, I didn’t really have a choice. Hockey was going to be a part of my life.
The tiny town on the northern edge of the country may only have 1,700-some people, but it bears the official trademarked nickname of “Hockeytown, USA.” So it comes as no surprise that my childhood was composed of skating and playing hockey all day, every day.
I still remember watching women play hockey in the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, and I dreamed I would be able to do the same one day.
I knew early on, though, that it wouldn’t be possible without the support of my family and friends. Fortunately, I was blessed to be part of a terrific family with the best parents who loved and cared for me and my younger brother. Sports were important to us, but I’m grateful that church was a non-negotiable aspect of our lives. My mom gave me my first Bible and she modeled to me the servant heart of Christ. My parents also helped me understand at a young age that God had given me this amazing talent to play hockey. It was so natural for me, and it was evident it was a gift from Him.
That God-given gift allowed me to experience success at every youth level, and it gave me the opportunity to play at the University of Minnesota, where my life and walk with the Lord was radically changed because of an invitation to an FCA Huddle my first day on campus. I’d known of FCA from high school, so I looked forward to going, but I didn’t realize how special my time there would be.
From the first Huddle I attended, I felt like the people there spoke life into who I was and who I could become in Christ. It gave me confidence and encouragement to keep going down the path God had already prepared and planned for me.
It was at FCA — and through a mentoring and discipling relationship with another athlete — that I truly learned the difference between religion and a relationship with the Lord. I learned to remove my performance mentality, striving to attain my salvation, and instead I allowed the Holy Spirit to live through me.
Remarkably, that all occurred in just my freshman year!
The following year, I became part of the leadership team at FCA, and the final three years of college were such a great experience for me.
Playing hockey there was fantastic too. I specifically remember my sophomore year, through different relationships and conversations I was having with believers and non-believers, I felt God tell me that I was at the University of Minnesota not for hockey, but for Him. That just solidified my heart. I felt Him say, “Gigi, you are here for Me. To grow in relationship with Me, and to share that with others. That’s why you’re here.”
My journey since that time has been one of faith and trust in the Lord to lead me where He wants me to be. By His grace, my childhood dream came true two times when I competed as a member of Team USA at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, winning the silver medal. Then, in 2014 at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, we won another silver medal.
But all the success and accolades I’ve experienced haven’t come without trials and setbacks. I’ve been cut from teams. I’ve faced injuries, position changes and uncertainties that, under my own power, I couldn’t have overcome. But God has used each of those points in my life to draw me closer to Him, to teach me what it means in Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
After the 2014 Games, I took a year off and enrolled in a discipleship training school. My experience there transformed my life once again, opening my heart up for who God is, who His people are, and what He’s called me specifically to do.
I’m back on the ice, proudly wearing the “USA” across my sweater and representing my country, but my mission is more than winning another medal or championship. It’s about sharing Christ and leading others to Him.
I know my worth is not found in what I can achieve in this game. Instead, my identity and value is only found in Christ, my Redeemer and Lord.
Photos courtesy of Brian Jenkins.