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Wounds - Lisa Hollingsworth

At seventeen, my athletic future as a runner was derailed with a knee injury that required surgery. It caused me to miss what I hoped would be a championship high school season and entry to my dream of being a collegiate athlete. My identity and my sanctuary were as a runner. I found myself lost, plucked out of the field, and blowing in the wind of uncertainty.

My freshman year in college, I found a new sport . . . out drinking everyone. I seemed to out lap all contenders. But there was no sanctuary. It left me empty inside and yearning for my former identity.


God gracefully introduced a friend who not only encouraged me through scripture (Jeremiah 29:11), but also invited me to cross train with the LSU swim team. Another friend invited me to a Campus Crusade event and more seeds of encouragement were planted. The fall of my sophomore year, I began to trust that God had a plan for me. I started to pray for His will not my own . . . for direction and purpose. That Spring, humbled and hopeful, I walked-on to the women’s track team. More encouragement . . . my coach, Mike Keogh, took me under his wing. As he later explained, he had a heart for kids trying to overcome injury.


Sometime later, I experienced physical symptoms that none of the trainers could resolve. Coach Keogh immediately sent me home to see a doctor. Within three-weeks, I was diagnosed with leukemia and given six months to live.


In the hospital, I remember praying and feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit . . . comfort and peace. I felt the warmth of His presence and His light shone within my soul. As I began treatment, perseverance and stamina were necessary for me to endure the side effects. The mental strength I needed was already there, and I began to rely on God as my source of power and strength. My 2-mile race had prepared a perfect parallel for the 2-year chemotherapy protocol.


Eight laps around the track mirrored the eight-week cycles of chemo, even to the last detail of week #8 being the most difficult. Just like the 8th lap of my race, I had to dig down deep and find mental and physical strength, but now I had a new Source upon Whom I could rely. He included Spiritual strength as a bonus.


My old identity as a runner has been replaced with my new identity as Daughter of the King. I am not a cancer survivor. I am a sin survivor. My sanctuary is Jesus Christ. My sufferings have been blessings. God has showed me that the human condition of sin is a terminal condition, but He provided the cure through His Son. “By His wounds we are healed.” My wounds help me understand His wounds.


But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5


Lisa and Chuck Hollingsworth knew of each other in high school. Her track coach was married to his basketball coach, and they take credit for being their cupids. Their true friendship began several weeks prior to Lisa's diagnosis and five years later they were married. They now have three grown children, a daughter-in-law, and two grandsons, and enjoy life on the Eastern Shore in Fairhope. They will celebrate thirty-five years of marriage in April.

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