“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
For the Purdue Boilermakers volleyball team, they saw a season that was like no other. A schedule that included no games in the fall and a full schedule slated for winter/spring, the Boilermakers team had to quickly learn to adapt and continue to compete each chance they got. As they adjusted, however, Purdue saw itself reaching the NCAA tournament and proving to be a true competitor before being defeated by the Kentucky Wildcats, who would go on to become NCAA champions. In the midst of the season, Purdue defensive specialist Maddie Schermerhorn was using her gifts to make an impact and inspire many.
A native of Ligonier, Indiana, Maddie says that her faith has always played an important role in her life. However, after a series of challenges throughout the 2020 year, she saw her faith strengthened more than ever before. After her dad contracted COVID, he began to experience serious symptoms and had many wondering if he would make it through. His condition deteriorated and many questioned whether or not he would be able to get past it. However, after a period of prayers and waiting, he soon began to heal. Maddie says, “My dad was in the hospital battling COVID for a month and God gave us a miracle of keeping him in our lives. We turned to God a lot during that time, and learned so much about him and his power.” Thankful for a healthy dad and family, Maddie had a renewed sense of gratitude for each day.
The distractions of a college campus in the midst of all of this also began to compete for Maddie’s attention. She says she continued to work towards making faith a priority. “Finding who I am allowed me to turn myself to God and focus on his plan that he has for me. I took so much from these experiences, and will embrace them for the rest of my life. A huge light came on in my life, and I had the honor of getting baptized October of 2020.” Since then, Maddie has continued growing in her faith and also runs an Instagram account with her sister sharing inspirational notes of wisdom and love. She is passionate about making sure she maximizes her gifts each day and is an inspiration to whoever she interacts with.
Since joining the Boilermakers volleyball team, Maddie says that the game has continued to teach her to rely on her faith even when things may not always go her way. “Faith influences my volleyball career because each day I remember that God has given me the abilities to compete for Him! He gives me so many opportunities every single day with strong, confident, and selfless mindsets! God is good all the time!” That mindset has allowed for Maddie to take the court with confidence and trust that regardless of the outcome, God is in control. Now looking towards the upcoming volleyball season, Maddie says she is continuing to focus on keeping God first in her life both on and off the court. She says, “God’s presence remains in the back of my mind every time I go through obstacles on and off the court. Putting my worries and doubts in his hands gives me the strength to compete and drive every single day. God’s love is unconditional!”
Although the past year did not bring with it the experiences that Maddie has anticipated, she is grateful for each part of it and the opportunity to take each day to grow. She says that she has learned how everyday is a blessing and presents the chance to better those around you. As she uses her gifts on the court to help lead Purdue to wins, she is also using those gifts to leave an impact on so many off the court too.
*Photos courtesy of Maddie Schermerhorn and Purdue Athletics