Testimony of Marisa Breathwaite: Refuse to Settle
Marisa Breathwaite does not settle.
Not on the athletic field, where she runs cross country and indoor track and is gearing up for her senior outdoor season.
Not in the classroom, tackling multiple AP classes that will lead her to the UNC-Chapel Hill campus this fall.
And certainly not in her faith, accepting Christ her freshman year at Currituck County High School in Barco, N.C., and quickly anchoring her beliefs in the promises of God, which brought her to lead the school's FCA Huddle.
Susan Buzzard, Currituck County's varsity swim coach and FCA Huddle Coach, was in attendance with one of her leaders at the youth event where Breathwaite invited Christ to be her savior. The next day while Buzzard discussed the previous night's events, Breathwaite kept surfacing to the conversation.
"We talked about the girls who accepted Christ and I said about Marisa, 'She really seems legitimate.' From day one she was on fire and very real with her faith."
When meeting regularly for Huddles became a bit of a challenge with an active athletic schedule during her sophomore year, Breathwaite rose to the occasion and began FCA Bible studies for her track team on the bus while on the road. As a junior she took initiative to organize weekly Huddles before school.
The busy schedule of her senior year now serves as a reminder to prioritize. Along with being the FCA Huddle Leader, she resides as president of the Student Government Organization, is involved in various other clubs, and leads the student cheering section at games.
"I struggle with being organized," she admitted, "but FCA helps me put God first. It makes me sit down and watch a video and plan our Huddle. It helps me grow as an individual."
Besides weekly Huddles and semester movie nights, CCHS participated in Fields of Faith in the fall. Held on a Saturday, the event consisted of worship, testimonies and a mega relay around the track. But the highlight, revealed Breathwaite, was the finale.
"The growth we saw in the prayer circle at the end was amazing. It was such a huge improvement from last year."
What Breathwaite most appreciates about the Huddle is the camaraderie and fellowship with classmates.
"I like it when people start talking," she said. "You can watch a video and ask questions about it and no one says anything, but when we discuss a video we're digging deep and they're telling us what they think the passages mean or what the video message means to them."
Throughout her high school and running career, Breathwaite gathered a following drawn to her easy manner and inner light.
"She's a positive influence," Buzzard noted. "Most of the girls in school look up to her- she's so good and real. Friends wanted to be with her so they went out for track and cross country."
Buzzard also disclosed the burden Breathwaite holds for her teammates.
"Since her sophomore year she's had a heart for the girls around her," Buzzard said. "She'd hear the locker room talk and all the issues and felt like she needed to help somehow, and took it on her to find a way to help. She's truly an all-around leader with passion. It's exciting to get to see her grow bolder and she does a great job of doing that with integrity."
Her integrity intensifies when talking about fellow teammates and their identity struggles. Breathwaite uses her platform as FCA Huddle Leader to remind girls of God's devotion and who He has created them to be.
"He made us just the way we are. Getting down on ourselves is an insult to God," Breathwaite confidently said.
Brimming with God's intimate design for her, she knows her place in this world.
"On a short answer essay on the UNC-Chapel Hill application they asked what my most valuable possession is. I wrote my worth, because it is."
The strength and confidence of her place in Christ propels Breathwaite to pursue a legacy that resonates within the daily battle of value.
"Be wary of what you surround yourself with," she advised. "The world is cruel and wants to bring you down. But God is the light in a dark world. Remember who's inside of you- Jesus."
With that assurance, it's easy to see why Breathwaite refuses to settle for anything but His best.
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