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Running the race set before me

By Danielle Smith

Until the coronavirus arrived, the gym was one place where I lived out loud. I have a passion for fitness; it keeps me sane. Now the virus has left me at home more these days which is not the normal for me. I do have an overwhelming 18 credits I’m working toward this semester as a senior at Prairie View A&M University. 

But believe me when I tell you, I will be back in the gym real soon. I have my sights set on returning to my job in management at the Disney Store.  I loved the part-time position I had until the virus interfered. I am learning so much from being slow to speak and quick to listen and how to be a better leader. Working at the “most magical place in the world” inspires me to be the best version of myself. My ideas are heard, and I am valued and respected. Growing up, I didn’t always get that.

My biological mother put doing drugs ahead of being a mother. I was much younger than my two older siblings. They were adopted together, but not me. It hurt a bit, but God had other plans for me. No hard feelings to anyone because there was a ram in the bush.

I was in a few foster homes, and then in 2004 when I was about five, I was adopted. Before I was adopted my last foster mother made me a book with pictures and words about me so I can have some type of photographs of me when I was younger.

I yearned to see my brother and sister. And I was a curious kid – I still am. A phone number fell out of that book, and I dialed. Scared, I hung up. But my adoptive mother figured it out and told me the number I called was the house where my siblings lived. It wasn’t long before we all got together. I looked at my brother and sister and I could see myself in their smile. It filled in a hole in my past.

My search for my biological family has been a big part of my life – it was my way of finding myself. This is nothing against my parents. I eventually did find my biological mom and dad. I started a relationship with both, but it died off. I think it because it was only meant to fill in the void that I had for so long. God blessed me with the best parents I could ever ask for. Anyone can just give birth to a child, but it takes special people to be parents.

But there was one relationship I did need. And through all my searching and curiosity I found her – my very own granny. She is my bio father’s mother, and she has changed my life. I can call her right now or whenever I want. She spoils me. She is my blood, and all her prayers have protected me throughout the years. I love her unconditionally, and God placed her in my life at the best time.

I have come a long way. Just pushing myself – to study, to work out, to find a job that is meaningful – all this has taught me more about myself. I have a low tolerance for people who bully and do not respect what other people have to say. Because everyone deserves a chance to be heard. This is something that is very important to me!  

My all-time favorite scripture is Hebrew 12 1: “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” God has a bright future for me. I made it to senior year; I graduate in December. I know what I have accomplished. COVID-19 has thrown in a wrinkle, but it will all work out. I’m running my race to win. 

Working at the “most magical place in the world” inspires me to be the best version of myself. My ideas are heard, and I am valued and respected. Growing up, I didn’t always get that.

Visit our Tales of Strength & Love page for more stories like Danielle’s.

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