thatisbravesquared[Once a week, I am going to be sharing with you a brave story sent in from a reader. You can comment, respond, encourage. Want to submit your own story or a story of a brave friend of yours? Head to thatisbrave.com!]

This week’s #thatisbrave story comes from Diana. Her sister Talia’s story is amazing and such a hard choice to make. My heart hurts for her, but I also know how God uses the brave moments like this in our lives to change everything, doesn’t He? Her words and name are used with her permission.

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A month ago, I picked up the phone and heard my baby sister, Talia, burst into tears. She’d been away from home and off to freshman year of college for just two weeks, and something was already way wrong. (Cue older sister freaking out inside.)

“I’m just so frustrated,” she said between sobs. She began explaining the gut-wrenching decision she faced as to whether or not to quit the track team. Quit? I was shocked. My heart broke as she explained the situation.

During summer, the university had fired the track coach and hired a new coach to ramp up the intensity. Unfortunately, the intensity was extreme.

Talia had signed on only for the track season, but the coach demanded she attend mandatory practice six days per week for the entire school year. Two of those practices fell on Saturday and Sunday mornings each week.

Tals was literally faced with a choice between staying on the team–never being able to go home for the weekend and never once being able to attend the campus church–or giving up a huge opportunity.

To understand the magnitude of her pain, it helps to know what a huge role running plays in our family’s life. My entire family runs and all have had amazing successes. During her high school years, Talia was one of the top distance runners in the state. She couldn’t wait to become a Wisconsin Badger and take her running success to the collegiate level.

Yet here she was, questioning it all. I got teary-eyed as my 18 year-old sister maturely and passionately described how she couldn’t allow running to take over her life and take precedence over her faith and family. She had been so excited to be part of the team, but she couldn’t justify sacrificing the things she knew were true and long-lasting priorities. (Did I mention she’s only 18?) I was blown away by her conviction.

The choice Talia faced will be the first of many like that throughout her life. (She did decide to walk away from the team). Her decision probably seems crazy to some, but I admire my baby sister for her bravery. How often do I give lip service to things like faith, family, and my marriage, saying they’re the center of my life, but failing to live each day in a manner that reflects that? I know that choice she made will make a difference. Out of an entire team, she was the only one who spoke up that she wasn’t okay with missing church. I told Talia I have a feeling her decision will cause at least a couple people to stop and think. I wrote a post about it on my blog, and it had thousands of views within no time. Our family even heard that a pastor shared her story with his church on Sunday morning. I’m so proud of my sister and so amazed at how God has used her for his purpose!

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If you have any encouragement for Diana’s sister and her brave story, leave it below in the comments.

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