Hello my name is Chanin Luz Naudin and I am a follower of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Within one year of following Him, He has transformed my heart more than I could’ve ever imagined. I went from someone who hated being alive to a person that can’t get enough out of life. I want to share my story not to highlight myself or to seek praise from others, but to reflect God’s glory. I know if it weren’t for Him I wouldn’t be where I am today.
There are many different angles I can take when it comes to sharing what God has done in my life, because Gods majesty is so far beyond comprehending. The version of my story I want to focus on is the path He took me on to play for Team Mexico. I want to begin this story at the University of Kansas, my time as a Jayhawk, since that was my pathway to Him.
I remember it all too clearly. It was my sophomore year against Baylor, 2-3 ball game, fifth inning, runners on, one out, I was on deck. I don’t remember ever taking a practice swing but I recall staring into space just trying to lower my heart rate. I was trying to breathe but couldn’t seem to get enough air. The stress of that year was weighing so heavy upon me that all I wanted to do was hide, from everything. The last thing I wanted was to be up to bat, with everyone’s eyes on me, hearing my teammates supporting me, but dreading every moment of it. I don’t recall the sequence of pitches but all I know was I struck out swinging, not touching the ball the entire at bat.
Walking back to the dugout I began panting. Breathing in and out so fast, I walked to the end of the dugout and went into the equipment shed to try and get a moment to myself. I closed my eyes and buried my face in my glove, wishing that everything could be over. That in a few days I wouldn’t have to face a person that assaulted me in a courtroom. That I wouldn’t have to defend my rights as a human being against a defense attorney. That I could just escape this life because I was exhausted from fighting. Though I still hadn’t caught my breath it was time for me to head back out on defense. That might’ve been the worst half inning of my life. I was hyperventilating the entire time. This was my first panic attack.
My sophomore season, though on paper it wasn’t bad, I knew that my level of play was compromised. The season before I earned All Big 12 honors and felt as if I was on top of the world, that nothing could stop me. I set goals to be All Big 12 each of my four years and I was going to work as hard as I could to make that a reality. Though I am known for my work ethic, that wasn’t enough for me to earn another accolade. I finished my softball career at KU with one honor (2nd Team All-Big 12), the award I earned my freshman year. So I should be upset right? I set goals that were in my reach and I didn’t achieve them. In the worlds view, I failed. But in all reality God had something greater in store for me.
There was one night in the summer after my sophomore year that I reached my breaking point. The court case was over, but I couldn’t seem to find closure to what had happened. I was numb to the world and wanted so desperately to feel joy again. After seeking all the things that are supposed to make me happy, I felt as if I had one thing keeping me alive; softball. I drove to Arrocha Ballpark late at night, hopped the fence, and began to take swings in the pitch-black darkness. I was sobbing uncontrollably and thought if I couldn’t hit that night, I was going to take my own life. This is when something supernatural took place.
Swing after swing, I seemed to be connecting with the ball perfectly. Almost in shock, I moved the tee… high, low, inside, outside. Every swing was flawless and I couldn’t mess up if I tried. That’s when I almost felt this calming presence come over me and it instantly silenced my cries. There is no way to adequately describe the feeling but something was telling me, “You are not done here yet, you have so much more in store.” I sat in silence for a while before I grabbed my bat, hopped the fence, and drove back home.
“God Himself revealed His mysterious plan to me.” Ephesians 3:3
Though it is so obvious to me now, it took a few months for me to process that it was God speaking to me that night. He called me in my darkest moment to be a light in this world. The moment where I felt completely worthless, He showed me that He is enough and He can restore my soul. Throughout the course of a year, with help from community and seeking His word, Jesus has given me this joy for life that I have never had before. His love has truly saved my life.
“God saved you by His grace when you believed.” Ephesians 2:8
I specifically remember my last tournament as a Jayhawk, the NCAA Regional in Columbia, Missouri. I was on deck, one out, runners on… sound familiar? This was one of the greatest encounters I have ever had with God. I had the biggest smile on my face, looked to the sky and began to thank Him for everything in my life. The opportunity to be alive for Him and play the game I love, and for the chance to make a difference in the game. I went up to bat with two outs in the top of the first, and no stress. I was content with life.
This game was the best I have ever played. He gave me this ability to shine because He knew my heart, and all I wanted to do was give Him glory. Ever since that game He has continually blessed me more than I thought was possible. He stayed true to His promise that there was more in store for me by giving me a chance to play international softball for Team Mexico. This summer I played in the World Cup in Irvine, California and the Canada Cup in Vancouver. The connections that I made with people throughout those two weeks are too many to count. All I know is that God has His hand on everything and will continue to do so as long as my focus is on Him.
The platform that I have recently gained through playing for Team Mexico has been unbelievable. It is almost as if people are interested in what I have to say, and I thank God for this opportunity to share what He has done. My story is that of redemption. How through Christ I am made new! The things of my past no longer hold me down and it is through Him that I am set free. There is nothing greater than the Fathers love for us!
“If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.” Matthew 10:39
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my testimony. The moment I fully surrendered my life to Jesus was when I first started living. I pray that you know how much God loves you and that you are called to be a part of His Kingdom. He has called me to be the Light of the Diamond… what are you called to be the light of?