Callie’s Story

“Life is messy and nothing really goes according to your plan. I’m learning to let go of the control I so desperately wanted and trust God’s plan for my life. I have clearly seen His hands orchestrating the events that have happened over the last few years. I’m learning to trust the open doors and walk faithfully through them even if I’m not sure what is on the other side.”

-Callie

Editor’s Note: I asked questions of people who I have seen live out a fabulous story – during times when they have answers and times when they don’t. These stories inspired me, and I think they will give you perspective, too!

When you were in college, what did you think your life would look like after graduation?

I’m a planner. I had college mapped out since before I graduated high school. I love control and I thought that if I could plan out college and graduate school, it would all fall into place. I feel like God looked at me and laughed … You know, like that Thomas Rhett song “Life Changes.” That song basically sums up my life.

I always loved school and saw myself getting my undergraduate degree in Kinesiology then going to nursing school and getting a second degree in nursing. However, during my junior year at Vanguard, I decided I really liked athletic training and working with sports injuries. I decided to switch my focus and apply to masters programs in athletic training. I always loved working with the high school aged athletes and saw myself as an athletic trainer in that setting. I had the privilege of doing some clinical hours at a private high school and realized how important it was for me to be able to blend my faith and my love for sports medicine.

My view of my personal life after college wasn’t as planned out as my career, but I knew I wanted to get married and start a family after I finished graduate school. I wanted to stay in California and settle down in the state that I always called home. I come from such an incredible family and I wanted to stay relatively close to them.  

Is that what happened after college, and if not, what did happen?

Yes and no …

During my final semester at Vanguard, I was accepted into graduate school at Chapman University and got engaged within about four weeks of each other. I was told by a few people that if I got married, I would most likely drop out of grad school. Like somehow becoming a wife was too much for me to handle … You see, I am the type of person who will get more motivated when someone tells me I can’t do something.

I planned a wedding during my first two semesters of graduate school and got married in January of 2017. It was a perfect day despite the insane storm that decided to grace Temecula Valley that entire weekend. I went back to school three days after my wedding and went on to complete my first year of school. It was hectic but hey, I proved everyone wrong. J

Little did I know God had something bigger in store for my new husband and me. Four months after we got married, I found myself taking a pregnancy test in our tiny studio apartment and within only 20 seconds of waiting … a big, fat positive showed up on the screen. To say I was terrified is an understatement. We weren’t planning on having a child for at least another year (see … back to the whole planning thing J).

I cried… a lot.

I still had three semesters of school to finish and here I was about to take on a whole new challenge. Once the initial shock wore off, I began to get excited about the new life I was forming. However, once we told the world, everyone thought it was their right to bombard us with advice we clearly did not ask for.

I can’t tell you how many people told me I needed to quit school to be a good mother to this baby. My circle of support shrunk. For the next nine months, I went to school, completed my clinical hours, and grew a baby.

In January 2018, nine days before our first anniversary, we welcomed a healthy baby girl to our family. Two months after having my daughter, I went back to school to complete my final semester of school.

Eleven days after finishing graduate school, I packed up my family and we moved to Colorado. We have been here a year now and are starting to feel settled. I currently am one of the athletic trainers for Valor Christian High School and absolutely love my job.

So yes, I had my plan of graduate school and working in the high school setting. However, I did not plan on all the twists and turns that happened along the way.

What are you learning right now?

Life is messy and nothing really goes according to your plan. I’m learning to let go of the control I so desperately wanted and trust God’s plan for my life. I have clearly seen His hands orchestrating the events that have happened over the last few years. I’m learning to trust the open doors and walk faithfully through them even if I’m not sure what is on the other side. Christine Cane said, “If you think you’ve blown God’s plan for your life, rest in this. You, my beautiful friend, are not that powerful.” God has me in the palm of His hand and no matter what happens, my story is still beautiful.

What do you love about your life right now?

I honestly love where I am at in life right now. I live in a beautiful town, have an amazing job, and a family I love. It definitely isn’t easy all the time and I find myself wanting to take a nap everyday but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Walk me through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today. What was the first thing you did? Next?

I feel like this is a hard one for me because where I am at right now has come from not planning and just “going with the flow”.

After getting into graduate school, I knew my next two years were set. My schooling was a six-semester program with didactic and clinical work. I would go to class in the morning then head to a clinical site after. My days were full but somehow I managed to juggle it all. I was always someone who followed the rules and put forth my best effort in class. What I began to realize was that I didn’t have to be perfect.

I remember a professor telling me that perfection isn’t needed and it is okay to get a “B” in a class. Mind you, I was the person who almost retook a class in undergrad because I got a B and not an A. Yep, I was one of those. However, slowly I began to realize how important having a personal life was outside of school. School was still important – I needed a B average to stay enrolled in the program, but I wasn’t spending all night doing homework or preparing for tests. I finally felt like I had the freedom to enjoy what was happening around me.

I needed to learn that lesson because I had no idea what was coming the following year. When I got pregnant, I had to make time for myself. I struggled with a lot of dizziness through my first 20 weeks of pregnancy. My body was telling me I needed to relax and I finally knew how.

When I was 36 weeks pregnant, we found out that our daughter was breech and my fluid levels were low. We had been planning for a natural birth but our sweet girl was most likely going to come via c-section. After a few weeks of hoping she would turn head down and trying different methods, she came into this world in an operating room overlooking the ocean. (She has been dramatic from the beginning. J)

After I had my daughter, I had a semester left of school. When she was 2 ½ months old I went back to class and finished up my clinical hours. I was able to walk at graduation with my class but technically finished all my hours over the summer.

My husband and I had been talking about moving to Colorado for a few years and after I had our daughter he started applying for jobs in Denver. A month before I finished school, he was offered a job in Denver. He moved to Colorado two weeks before me and our daughter. Eleven days after I finished my graduate program, I was on a plane and moving to a state I knew nothing about.

We lived with my in-laws for a few months while we were trying to get our feet on the ground. I chose to stay home with our daughter, which was a decision that left me feeling guilty about not contributing to paying the school debt I had acquired. Four months after we moved to Colorado, we moved again, about an hour and a half south to Castle Rock and have set roots here. We found a great church and both my husband and I have gotten new jobs in the last couple months. I work at a fantastic private Christian school in the area as an athletic trainer and it’s has been the perfect transition from being a stay-at-home mama to a working mom. I honestly thought I would be a stay-at-home mom until our daughter started school but the opportunity at my school opened up and I had to take it.

That brings us to today … We are still trying to get settled but I feel like we are getting closer. We got here by walking through doors that God opened and trusting Him when we couldn’t see what’s on the other side. Our “step-by-step” process has really just been walking in line with God and seeing his plan unfold.

What brings you joy/fills your soul?

The number one thing that brings me joy is being a mama. My daughter is the biggest blessing and an absolute joy. I love watching her explore the world and develop her personality. She is a spitfire and fiercely independent. She teaches me more about myself every day.

If a kid walked up to you asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to fail and pursue your passion with everything you have. Your dreams and goals are not too small. I was told multiple times by people close to me that I couldn’t complete what I set out to do, but here I am.

What do you wish everyone knew about being a mom, being a wife, and being an athletic trainer?

What I wish people knew about being a mom: It is the hardest and most rewarding job I will ever have. Mom guilt is real … I have felt guilty choosing to work and I have felt guilty staying home. Everyone will have an opinion on EVERYTHING you are doing but as long as you are doing the best you can, then that’s all that matters. I read a quote that hit me hard and it said, “The God who made the moon and the stars and the mountains and the oceans, the Creator who did all of those things believed that you and your baby were meant to be a pair. That doesn’t mean you’re going to be a perfect fit. That doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes. It DOES mean that you need not fear failure because you can’t fail at a job you were created to do.”

What I wish people knew about being a wife: Being a wife has drawn me closer to God. It became clear very quickly that joining two imperfect people without God at the center of the marriage results in a disaster. It takes strength I didn’t know I had to keep pressing closer when it could have been easier to shut down. It is beautiful and messy and rewarding.

What I wish people knew about being an athletic trainer: I honestly think I have the coolest job. I get front row seats to every sporting event on campus, I run with scissors, and I can make a fanny pack look cool.

I wish people knew that despite our title, we do not train athletes. We are medical professionals trained in the prevention, evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation of athletic injuries as well as the management of emergency situations. We are usually the first ones to show up and the last to leave. When you see an athletic trainer on the sidelines of a game you are probably only seeing about 10% of what they are actually doing. I might ice your knee one day and save your life the next.

How can people keep up with what you’re doing?

Instagram: @callieaharper

One thought on “Callie’s Story

Add yours

  1. Wow what a great story. I’m so very proud of you Callie. I haven’t seen you in a few years other than on FB. But God’s hand is ALL over your life and you inspire so many others with your determination.
    Deb M

    Like

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