The Glorious Table is delighted to welcome All-American soccer player Mo Isom with an excerpt from her new book Wreck My Life: Journeying from Broken to Bold (Baker Books, 2016) about how when Jesus wrecks our lives, the results can be sacred rather than scarring.
I’m not sure how long I hung unconscious in the wreckage of my Jeep before I finally came to. I could feel the seat belt cutting into the skin on my neck as I realized I was hanging limp and heavy like a bruised rag doll. Warm blood drained from my mouth and seeped into my nose, choking me and causing me to gag. With each cough, I could feel more blood boil up from deep in my chest and a hot iron taste roll up behind my teeth. Desperate for breath, I squirmed and writhed, trying to relieve the pressure on my lungs. But I was pinned, strung from my seat belt and unable to wrap my head around the balance of a world turned upside down. Every move caused more pain, so at last I stopped and hung stationary, confused even further by the exhaustion that overwhelmed me.
There was nothing echoing through the rubble but silence—a deep, peaceful silence interrupted only by the coarse and rasping breaths wheezing from me. The air was still and calm but my mind was fogged and burning. I couldn’t see but I could feel. My head was pulsing and the back of my eyes were throbbing and my side was aching as I fought to breathe. I focused on what I could in my disoriented state, starting at my toes and moving each body part slowly and methodically. Ankles. Knees. Fingers. Wrists. One by one I moved each limb, blindly making sure I was all in one piece, taking a halfhearted inventory to discover the things that were hurting me. I was genuinely shocked when I realized nothing felt broken beyond repair—that my brain and my body were somehow still able to work in sync. A part of me expected to be paralyzed and I knew the intensity of the wreck should have had its way with my body. I should have been far worse than it seemed I was. The power and force of the moments before could have so easily ended my life. For a moment I hung there in disbelief.
Wreckage. It suddenly and radically meant something new and different to me. In a moment of complete and total vulnerability—surrounded by twisted steel and fractured glass—I had never felt more at ease. In a moment that should have warranted raw, unbridled fear I felt completely at peace. A peace that met my rebellious heart and suddenly surpassed all understanding. There my body hung, with tangled and messy destruction surrounding me, sustained by something far greater than my own strength. In that moment, I was given a parallel vision of my past and my circumstances—my past just as tangled and messy as the destruction currently around me, yet my life sustained by Someone who had far greater plans and purpose for me.
That moment of perspective left my mind spinning and my heart pounding and my soul open to receive. One year prior I had been emotionally wrecked by the sudden loss of my dad. Now I dangled, physically wrecked, broken to a place of true surrender and need. It wasn’t just the rush of relief to discover I was alive that began to deeply redefine things; it was the fact that in the midst of the chaos and the brokenness I heard something very odd. A still, small voice met my heart and simply breathed, Be still, and know that I am God (see Ps. 46:10).
And in that broken moment, God chose to reveal Himself to me. The still, small voice that had whispered to my heart became an overwhelming flood of revelation as the Spirit reached deep into my calloused heart and downloaded the depth of the gospel of Jesus Christ into me.
I. Love. You.
I have plans for you.
I have hope and purpose and life for you.
I created you. I sustain you. I will save you.
I died for you, My daughter. You are forgiven and free.
So choose now for yourself.
Your life, or Me?
I felt peace wash over me and the arms of the King wrap around me, and not one ounce of me could make sense of why a mighty God, whom I had so carelessly sought and run from before, was dwelling in the presence of a wandering rebel like me. My mind replayed the times I had denied Him. My heart shrunk away from the thoughts of how I’d forsaken Him. My shame trembled at the doubt I had in Him and the blame I cast on Him and the hypocrisy I carried out in His name. But in the same gasping breath, I felt the grace of His presence flood me. I felt forgiveness and freedom and an unrelenting peace. I saw a vision of the cross and the man who hung at Calvary. Jesus! In bloodied glory. Because of my sins He had hung on the cross, and because of His love, He chose to die for me.
The depth of the gospel penetrated me. Humility pierced through me. A sense of security overwhelmed me. Life breathed through my story. Those moments in that car—they were glory. Life-saving, heart-changing, illogical glory.
It was just the Spirit of the King and me. And even though I’d heard the gospel a thousand times over and moved through confirmation and “prayed the prayer of salvation” more times than I could count, in that moment my works were irrelevant. His works were heaven-sent. My slate was wiped clean and my story turned to a new page. My name was called out by a King who knew my stubborn heart needed the isolation of a personal encounter I couldn’t mute or rationalize. It was as if God knew my soul needed His undivided attention and His unbridled comfort and His personalized truth. It was as if He had willingly wrecked my life in order to save my life, and save my eternal story.
God is beautiful.
Mo Isom was an All-American goalkeeper for the Louisiana State University soccer team. She holds the LSU all-time goalkeeper record as well as the #3 SEC all-time shutout record. She trained with the US Women’s National program, was honored as National Player of the Week, has appeared on ESPN SportsCenter Top-10 Plays, and has been featured in Sports Illustrated and appeared on Ellen, ESPN, CBS, The 700 Club, and countless other platforms. Isom speaks nationally and internationally, and facilitates a faith-centered blog that has garnered millions of views to date. She and her husband, Jeremiah Aiken, live in Atlanta, Georgia.