The WNBA’s Tynesha Lewis lives a life without secrets
By Susie Magill
Team: Charlotte Sting
Born: May 8, 1979
College: North Carolina State
-Four-time All-ACC selection at NC State
- Member of the U.S. National Select Team, 1998
Tynesha Lewis of the Charlotte Sting has been blessed. Not only is she gifted with an amazing athletic talent that she continues to use for God’s glory, but she’s also been forgiven. Now in her fifth season in the WNBA, Lewis has experienced the world’s temptations and received God’s redemptive grace along the way, through it all, learning the benefits of complete honesty.
Lewis first began speaking out for her faith as a member of the FCA Huddle leadership team at SouthWest Edgecombe High School (N.C.), and now, because of her WNBA platform, she is able to share her “valley” and “mountain top” experiences with youth around the country. Recently, Lewis took time off the court to talk with STV assistant editor Susie Magill about her life lessons and the secrets she has learned to share.
SM: You’ve been playing basketball since you were a kid. When did you realize that your talent was meant for more than just fun?
TL: It was weird, I’ve known it for a long time—that this gift was bigger than just basketball. God gave it to me to glorify Him.
SM: How are you able to glorify Him through basketball?
TL: I’ve been allowed to speak at school assemblies, and they might want me because I’m an athlete, but they can’t get me without Jesus. I can’t talk about Tynesha without mentioning the love of my life, my merciful Savior.
SM: At these assemblies, what encouragement do you give the students?
TL: Most of the time I talk about making positive life choices and the decisions of my life. I talk about the good and bad ones. I haven’t done everything right in my life, and I want people to know that if you believe and place God first, anything is possible. God knows there are lonely nights and a pillow full of tears, and He is there. He is still God.
|"I don’t believe in secrets, and if more people would tell their secrets, then maybe our youth wouldn’t make the mistakes we did." |
I also take a minute to speak directly to the girls. I see the lost girl I was in the eyes of these youth. I pray that they don’t make the same mistakes that I made. I don’t believe in secrets, and if more people would tell their secrets, then maybe our youth wouldn’t make the mistakes we did. I also tell them that there is a price for the dreams they want in their lives, but they don’t have to sacrifice or compromise who they are.
SM: What secrets do you share with them?
TL: That I’ve made the mistake of not loving myself enough to believe that I deserved better than what I was allowing. I settled for less than what God promised, in my career, my grades and relationships. Young people don’t understand the ties they make with people they’ll never see again by allowing them to become a part of them through sexual relationships. Regardless of how we define it, it is a tie that makes it difficult to see who the person really is because you are dealing in the flesh and not the Spirit.
SM: What is one thing you have learned about yourself from your mistakes?
TL: That I don’t know how to quit—in my walk with Christ, in my career and in my life. God never quit on me, even in my failures, bad decisions and disobedience. He never turned His back on me. So in my Christian walk, no matter what storms, pain or grief I face, I can’t quit on God. And in my career, no matter how many days I don’t want to get up, I realize that this walk is not about me, but about Him.
SM: How was being involved with FCA in high school and college instrumental in your life?
TL: Through FCA, I was able to see a multitude of people my age who were just as committed, if not more so, to their talks with Christ. It confirmed to me that it was okay to be a Christian in sports.
In 2003, Tynesha Lewis created the organization ITSDOABLE to help reach youth.
“I took on the task of trying to change the world alone,” said Lewis. “I not only found it heartbreaking, but found it lonely. I learned that there is strength in numbers, and God never intended for us to fight the war for our youth alone. So, ITSDOABLE, INC. was formed with the mission to educate youth, enabling them to make positive life choices.”
For more information about ITSDOABLE, log onto www.itsdoable.org.
FCA was very instrumental in my choice of college. When I met [N.C. State’s] Coach Yow, I heard about her involvement with FCA and her faith in Christ. That was the determining factor for me attending North Carolina State University.
SM: You helped lead the Lady Wolfpack to their first ever Women’s Final Four your freshman year. Talk a little about that experience.
TL: It was an amazing accomplishment. After I signed with State, I told Coach Yow and my teammates that we would take her to her first Final Four. Failure was not acceptable. The best feeling was the look in Coach Yow’s face when we won Regionals and knowing that I was a part of history.
SM: Tell me a little bit about being drafted into the WNBA.
TL: It is interesting how when you place God first, He opens up doors you never considered. Growing up, I knew I needed an education. That was my first priority. I didn’t even consider the WNBA until the latter part of my senior year. It was an honor to be drafted by the Houston Comets. It was definitely an eye-opener.
SM: How so?
TL: Leaving college, moving to a big city, having money in my pocket—it was easy to lose sight of what was important. I saw what the world could offer me. I was a girl with a pocket full of money and an emptiness that only God could fill.
SM: How are you able to keep everything in perspective and stay focused on God?
TL: I try to feed myself everyday, be it through the Word, a book or a church service. I’m careful about what I allow myself to listen to, both on the radio and in what surrounds me.
SM: How have you grown lately in your relationship with Christ?
TL: I recently fell in love with Jesus all over again. I don’t think, talk or pray the way I used to. At all costs, I want to know His will for my life.
I’ve been in places where I shouldn’t have survived. I’ve been attacked in the least-expected places and fought by people I never thought would attack me. But by the grace of God, I’m still here, andI’m still screaming from the valley, as well as the mountain top, that there is a God, and I’m still trusting Him.
*Lewis was recently traded from the Charlotte Sting to the Minnesota Lynx.