Faith-Filled Moms: A Difficult Road to Peace

This month I am kicking off a tribute to mothers! Each week leading up to Mother’s Day, I will be featuring a guest blogger to share a story of faith, and how each mother used their Playbook and believed the Word of God for their children’s future, despite the challenges they faced.

To kick us off, I invited my childhood friend Tamikia to share her story. I remember when Tamikia called me after her daughter Johnnah tore her ACL during a basketball game in her senior year. I remember calling my daughters in the room, and telling them what happened and the three of us praying together for Johnnah. I remember texting Tamikia and Johnnah scriptures of faith and encouragement during those weeks of uncertainty. Little did I know, five years later I would face my own challenging situation, and would need those same scriptures to help me get through.

Here’s their story… I pray it encourages you! ~Tonya

My daughter struggled with basketball in her early teens. I urged her to play the sport as she was 5’11” in the fifth grade. My goal was to teach her discipline, focus, hard work, give her a skill that would form bridges across any demographic, and ultimately afford her a collegiate scholarship.

She was discouraged from the very beginning as basketball was something she could not easily grasp, and she felt defeated after each workout. But she worked hard to become a student of the game, first tackling dribbling, then shooting, and playing defense, progressing as a formidable player. 

After seven years of working hard at her skills, along with undeterred determination, seasons of travel with AAU, middle and high school basketball, my daughter committed to a Division I college in the NCAA Northeast. We had just completed her final travel season of AAU with an Adidas-sponsored team. We were so proud of her accomplishments: Player of the Year, Most Valuable Player, Adidas Nationals Champion, countless local newspaper articles, and now a Division I commit.

She would cruise through her senior year, right? Or so we thought.

I had used all my vacation time the summer prior on the road with AAU travel as I was the team chaperone. When I couldn’t make her home high school games due to work commitments, my son would provide me updates via text.

One night in particular while still in the office, I anxiously awaited each play update. Early into the game, I received a call from my son. Every hair stood up straight on both arms. My son preferred texting over calling, so I was hesitant to even answer the phone. “She tore her ACL Mom.” I heard the anguish in his voice. I responded, “Don’t say that. Where is she now? What happened?” He continued, “A girl from the other team ran directly into her knee. She let out a scream I have never heard before. She is still on the floor, crying and holding her knee. Everyone is saying she tore her ACL.”

Fear took up residence in my mind. As I left work, all I could say was “God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind. Heal my baby, Lord. Please just let her be hurt and not injured.” I headed to her high school’s campus. I repeatedly called my son then my daughter, with no answer from either.

When I entered my daughter’s locker room, she just cried in my arms, her 6’3” frame leaning on me for support. During the car ride home, I listened to her recollection of the incident. We went to the local hospital that same night. She was given x-rays right away and an MRI two days later. The physician’s assistant reassured us that it may not be a serious injury as there was minimal swelling. We would have to wait to discuss the imaging with the doctor and determine the next steps. 

After the MRI, we received confirmation of an ACL, LCL, and meniscus tear that would require surgery and 6-9 months of rehabilitation. We cried as soon as we left the office. My daughter was frightened. She started to spill out all the questions that instantly consumed her mind. “Mom, what about my scholarship? Is my basketball career over?”

My father prayed for her, touching her knee, declaring healing, and we were determined to believe God’s report and not what others tried to speak over her knee. At church, we were in a series of healing and anointing, so my daughter constantly reminded me of these lessons, not accepting the diagnosis. She was adamant that she would finish her season, humbly asking for a second opinion, which subsequently confirmed the original diagnosis.

We proceeded to schedule her surgery for the following week. Her high school coach called to check on my daughter to see what the diagnosis was, and mentioned she was 48-points away from scoring 1,000 points in her high school career. After we hung up, my daughter said, “Mom, I have to play. I have to finish this season and my last accomplishment by scoring my 1,000-points.” 

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” Deuteronomy 30:19

Knowing her desire, we had to speak life. I knew as Believers we were given the power to speak to our bodies and command each part to function according to its created design by God. We were to lay hands on ourselves and speak, declaring the powerful promises from the Word of God.

We waited on the Lord and exercised our faith. As a supportive mother, I had to let my daughter forge ahead in her own faith fight. I would watch her rub her knee, speaking life into it by declaring the scriptures we studied and committed to memory. I would watch her pray and do her knee rehabilitative exercises as she stood on the hope of returning to close out her high school career and achieving her 1,000-points.

We decided to cancel the surgery over her college coach’s objection, as my daughter wanted one more opinion after standing in faith for her healing. We consulted a local health system’s Bone & Joint Institute. I requested a second MRI as it had been 3 weeks since her injury, followed by a great deal of faith, prayer, speaking life, and declaring healing. We had a reference point with the first MRI film but needed a second one to confirm what we believed God had completed. 

We faced challenges from our insurance to get the MRI approved since there was no medical action taken but eventually received the green light to proceed. MRI results in hand, we went straight to the surgeon for review. Upon comparison of MRI films, the first one showed clearly where the injury presented as the areas of tears were visibly dark grey. As the tissue was absent. When he placed the second film on the review light board, the areas were bright, glowing, highlighted even, as if they were present and there, all the time. We asked if he could explain the changes, and he could not.

He confirmed that her LCL was attached and healing. He concluded that there was still a tear in her ACL that would eventually require surgery. I asked him to include this in his updated report as I needed to provide it to her high school and college coaches.

We took the report back to her school’s doctor who then referred her to the school’s physical therapist. My daughter received extensive therapy and rehabilitation from him directly. He was astonished at her physical tests that confirmed the strength in her knee and concluded that she was strong enough to finish out her season without surgery, but with bracing. He donated an expensive Donjoy® knee brace ordered from California for her injured knee. Upon its arrival and fitting, he cleared her to play, much to the amazement of her teammates and the school’s athletic director.

Seven weeks after her injury, she stood in the middle of the court and accepted her commemoration ball for scoring 1,000-points. With a torn ACL, she met her goal and finished her high school career.

Johnnah underwent surgery a week after scoring her 1,000 points. The same faith she used to speak to her knee was now needed to deter depression and surmount the pain during her extensive rehab, which led to her return to play. My daughter played four seasons of Division 1 basketball and graduated in 2018 with her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Rider University.

Closing Challenge:

We all face negative reports that impact our lives and our view of our immediate present and future to come. Sometimes, we even rehearse the negative report received in our minds despite the thoughts God has concerning us. 

I challenge you to speak life into and over every situation no matter how grave it is. I charge you to believe God’s word, align your will with His and prepare for His best for you.  Once you believe His thoughts concerning you, His promises are affirmed, and your purpose will be paved with victory along your journey for all the glory belongs to Him.


Father we thank You that your promises are, “yes and amen” in our lives. We give You all the glory honor and praise knowing that every trial we face in our journey of faith in You, yields a greater level of faith, understanding and increased power of your Word that we speak over our every circumstance.

Help us to continue to hide your word in our hearts so not only may we not sin against You, but we can speak your word to every trial and situation that presents knowing victory awaits. We worship you in spirit and in truth King Jesus giving you great praise for the victory You won for us on the cross, in your matchless name we pray, Amen.

Tamikia Johnson

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Published by Tonya May Avent

Child of God. Wife of 20 years to basketball fanatic and coach. Mom to teenage daughters and amazing athletes. Tonya is an award-winning author whose writing has been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul and Guideposts magazine. Her first book, Using God’s Playbook for the Game of Life: 52 Scriptures Your Young Athlete Should Know Before Sending Them Off Into the World was released in October 2022.

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