I’ve been praying and thinking about this season you’re in with your new soccer team. Sometimes I express myself better in writing, so I thought I would write to you (though I’m also grateful for the talks we’ve had about this). Some of what I say will be practical, some spiritual—take what the Holy Spirit directs you to take, and leave what doesn’t fit. Know that I say all of this out of love for you.
It breaks my heart to see you treated dismissively—and even a bit unfairly—by your new coach. It doesn’t make sense to you; it doesn’t make sense to me, and watching you lose confidence in yourself and lose joy for the game you love is, quite frankly, trying the self-control of my mommy-heart.🙂 But in the midst of this, I want you to remember a few important things (I am working on remembering them too):
- First, and most important, your value and worth is above all else rooted in being a beloved child of the living God, who bought you with the precious blood of his Son. No matter your circumstances, that will always be true. Do your best not to let this season define who you are.
- Second, you have a Savior who can identify with your every human experience (Heb 4.15), and who has said to his people over and over, “I am with you.” You are never alone in the things God has planned for you to face.
- Third, you are a player and person worthy of a coach’s time, and you’ve had many other coaches who have shown you that—that has been a means of God’s grace to you. Remember their encouraging words; be the player they say you are.
Knowing who you truly are, you can go forward in this unique season that God has placed you in. Because he loves you, you can love others. And that would be my charge to you—love others. Your soccer skills may not improve at all in this season—you may not get much coaching, and you may not get much playing time. But consider that God would have you learn something else from this season. Ask yourself, “How can I encourage the other girls on my team?” Instead of thinking about how much time you’re spending on the bench, think about cheering for the girls on the field, think about giving a high-five when the chance is there. Continue to be friendly and warm to the girls you’re getting to know. If you’ve been sidelined during a drill at practice, get a ball and start juggling, start up a little rondo with other girls in the same boat, or do some sit-ups while you’re waiting (maybe some others will join you).
You can love your coach in similar ways. Pay attention when she’s talking, and work hard to follow her instructions (I know you already do this). Move around, stay warm, and have a ball at your feet when you’re on the sidelines—send some signals that show you hope to go in. Play hard at games and practice, even when you feel it might be pointless to do so. I am so proud of you for respectfully asking your coach how you can improve and play more. If it seems right speak up again, but it also may be right to just know that she knows and trust God with what your coach decides to do with what you’ve expressed to her. The most loving thing you can do is pray for her. She is nursing a heart that is more broken than you or I can imagine with the loss of her fiancé. She needs our prayers.
I love this quote from the great preacher, Charles Spurgeon:
“It is easy to sing when we can read the notes by daylight; but he is the skillful singer who can sing when there is not a ray of light by which to read—who sings from his heart, and not from a book that he can see, because he has no means of reading, save from that inward book of his own living spirit, whence notes of gratitude pour forth in songs of praise.”
In this season, you are learning a little of what it means to “sing when there is not a ray of light”. Unfortunately, we live in a broken world, and this will not be last time you have to learn this lesson. But I am confident that God will help you find your own “inward book” and from that place you will give glory to him.