Our family lives a somewhat unconventional life.
Due to my husband’s career, we live in a new country for nine to ten months out of the year. Then, come May or June, we head back to Florida to enjoy a short summer in the States.
When people ask us what he does for a living that requires us to move so frequently, they commonly assume he’s in the military. However, my husband, Isaiah, is a professional basketball player in Europe.
Since 2008, we have lived in Italy, Turkey, France, Germany and Israel, among other countries, and since 2008, my husband has signed one-year contracts, which is why we move from year to year. That is, until, he signed a two-year contract in 2019.
Our family was thrilled! For me, a two-year contract meant stability for our two children, one of whom started kindergarten this year.
We prayed for this moment, and when it finally arrived, we couldn’t wait to seize the opportunity and praise God in the process.
Well, this opportunity was short-lived, because a mere two weeks into pre-season practice, my husband tore his ACL, undoubtedly one of the worst injuries a basketball player can face on the court.
“Laci, I think I really hurt myself at practice today,” my husband said as he limped into our room one evening after practice.
“Quit playing around,” I said to him, waving him off, assuming my husband was pulling my leg. After all, he is in his 12th professional season, and he has yet to experience an injury (praise be to God).
“No, I’m serious,” he said, fighting back the tears. “Something is wrong with my leg.”
I felt my stomach knot up and nausea swept through my body. When my husband hurts, I hurt, and there was nothing I could do to ease his pain.
We hadn’t even been in this new city for two weeks, my husband had yet to play an official game with his new team, and my daughter started school just three days prior to this injury, and there we were, wondering what was going to happen next.
The following day, my husband went to the doctor for an MRI, to which he received confirmation that he, indeed, tore his ACL and his meniscus, and he would be out for about six months, nearly the entire basketball season.
That evening, as we turned off the television to go to bed, I heard my husband quietly sobbing.
“I can’t believe this is happening,” he said as we laid in the dark, and I immediately felt the devastation in his voice.
I was speechless, and as he cried, I couldn’t help but cry, too. My husband’s dream finally came true, 12 long years later, and his dream came to screeching halt just two weeks later.
The next morning, my husband struggled to sit up in bed, but as he took the time to adjust his body, he turned to me and said, “Laci, I initially wondered, ‘why me,’ but now I wonder ‘why not me?’ This experience happened for a reason, and I’m not sure what that reason is, but this is my chance to glorify God, regardless of these circumstances.”
Once again, I was speechless, this time because my husband’s faith was awe-inspiring. Twenty-four short hours before Isaiah’s revelation, he was sobbing in bed, angry and confused as to why this transpired. Crying is a form of healing, though, and when Isaiah shed those tears, God unquestionably filled his spirit with comfort.
Since that dreaded practice, Isaiah has recorded his recovery journey for his social media followers to see. These moments are raw and real, from struggling to take a shower to his first time walking without his crutches to completing his first water workout.
This injury is an athlete’s worst nightmare. Not only does an injury of this magnitude put a dream on pause, but one’s livelihood is put in question, too, which is incredibly frightening for a husband and father doing his best to provide stability for his family.
During this time, there have been several temptations to focus on the bad—to complain, to question, to remain down and out, to feel outrage—but Isaiah quickly realized that focusing on the bad is more exhausting than battling the injury itself. More importantly, we know that everything in life is not good. Illnesses are not good. War is not good. Professional setbacks are not good. However, “in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
We give thanks for his situation. Not the torn ACL, per se, on a deeper level, we are thankful God gave us the spirit of gratitude and peace, that we believe in His glorious promise that all things work together for good. And so, we praise Him for the bad, too.
My husband has won many awards, set many records, won championships and accomplished many feats, but nothing has made me prouder than the faith and resilience he has shown through his injury. Thanks be to God, for the good and bad.