The Tokyo Olympics is not a place for the weak or faint-hearted, it is a competition for the strongest and best athletes from every country.
South African Olympic swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker was in the news for setting a new Olympic record in women’s swimming, but before that she had shared her Christian faith on social media and said that she prayed to God to give her peace and an attitude of gratitude no matter the outcome.
The 24-year-old had butterflies in her stomach before competing but said she still found time to pray in a post on her Instagram page with over 24,400 followers.
“Father God, may Your will be done, may Your peace fill us up, may we praise You no matter what the outcome,” she wrote on her Instagram with the words “All Glory to God’ in the profile bio. “May we be empowered by Your strength to give our all and may we forever be in awe of Your goodness! Thank You for bringing us to this very moment.”
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Five days after that, Schoenmaker succeeded in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke on Wednesday and set a new Olympic record time of 2:19.16 in the preliminary round.
She stood first in the semi-final round Thursday, finishing with a time of 2:19.33. She won the 200-meter breaststroke final Thursday night, winning a gold medal and setting a new world record at 2:18.95. She beat the record set in 2013 by Denmark’s Rikke Moller Pedersen.
She also broke an Olympic record in the preliminary round in the 100-meter breaststroke, setting the time of 1:04.82. She won the silver in the 100-meter breaststroke final round.
All these achievements were possible because Schoenmaker trusted in her maker and He was working behind the scenes for her. She has not shied away from sharing about what God has done for her on Instagram after she accepted Jesus as her personal savior on Sept. 12, 2016 and got baptized too.
On the anniversary of her baptism in 2017, she expressed her faith in another Instagram post. “Today, a year ago, I made the best decision of my life, by accepting Jesus as my personal Savior, and that I am willing to commit my entire life in humble obedience and service to God (Acts 2:36-38),” she wrote.
She said she was happy to be baptized with two other women that day. “I got to do it with these two ladies who also wanted this amazing new life with God. GOD IS GOOD.” One of them was Cayla Saaiman, who said, “A day filled with so much meaning and memories that will never be forgotten…The best decision one can make…So thankful.”
Schoenmaker had earlier shared on Instagram on Aug. 16, 2020, how 2020 was “the year” to swim in the Olympics, and as part of her preparation, she time away from her studies to train. But later she realized it was not God’s plan.
“, the year I’ve been training for my whole swimming career, but what I realized is it was the year I planned, and not necessarily God’s planned year,” she explained. “We always get so caught up in making our plans and doing it our way, but is it in line with God’s plan/way?”
“THANK YOU, GOD,” she continued in the post. “… for making me realize that your plans for 2020 is bigger than just my plans and may I trust that you have greater things to come.”
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Apart from writing on social media about her faith, she has expressed her faith by wearing two caps the entire time: a green one representing South Africa and a second one with a blue Jesus Fish and “Soli Deo Gloria” (Latin for Glory to God Alone) printed on the side of it.