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Observations As A Soccer Mom

Andrew eats, breathes, and lives for soccer. He currently plays on both the Middle School and local recreation team, which means he plays soccer six days a week. Yes, we are crazy. Our soccer season is coming to a bittersweet end. I love watching my own “Messi” play, but I won’t miss the long practices, late nights, and meals out. I crave home cooked meals and routine. If we’re not careful it is easy to miss God’s voice amidst the chaos of life. God’s desire is for us to be in tune to His presence even in the ebb and flow the chaos that is our life. In my current season of life chaos is working part time, remembering who turn it is to car pool, traveling to soccer games, aiding in piano lessons, and figuring out “new math.” And housework…we won’t even go there! As a soccer mom, I’ve made several observations from the sidelines that I believe we can each incorporate into our everyday lives. TRAIN: My son’s soccer team practices four-days-a-week for 90 minutes each practice. The team typically has two, 60-minute games per week. Thus, his team has a 3:1 practice to game ratio, which means their team spends three times as much time practicing than playing. Practice. Practice. Practice. Anything worth doing right will take lots of practice. I am reminded that Nehemiah lead the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days. However, before he supervised the hammering of the first nail, he spent approximately 100 days in prayer. His prayer time exceeded his work time. A good thought to remember. CHANT:Game Day Baby, Game Day! Rrrruff!” is the chant the soccer teams yells to psych themselves up before a game. Standing outside the locker room, outside the travel bus, or across the field you can hear the team in unison chanting. Often times, I too will talk to myself in order to psych myself up to do what God has asked me to do. Self talk is not a sign of craziness. When the “Stinkin’ Thinkin'” rises up in my mind I will talk to myself to take these wrong thoughts captive and remind myself that with God’s help, I can do this! (2 Corinthians 10:5, Philippians 4:13) WATCHING THE COACH: The bench is a difficult place to sit. While the other teammates are on the field those on the bench are anxious to get a piece of the ball. With nervous excitement they wait. Adrenaline is pumping through their veins as the players volley their heads from the field to the coach. Each player eagerly awaiting a nod from the coach to signal it’s to get in the game. Meanwhile, they watch from the sidelines, chewing on sunflowers seeds and encouraging their teammates. It’s not easy to sit and wait. I too am in the waiting place. I am sitting on the edge of my seat, ready to go when God gives me the nod. BAD CALLS: Occasionally our team experienced some bad calls that caused us to question the referee’s judgment. Whether on the field, at work, or even in friendships, we will each experience unfair situations. When this happens we need to remember that being hot tempered will get you a yellow card from the referee. So be slow to anger, extend grace, and overlook the occasional faults. (James 1:19, Proverbs 14:29, 16:32, Ephesians 4:2, Colossians 3:13) WATCH OFFSIDES: Offsides is a tricky rule in soccer. The easiest way to explain the offsides rule is that your team can not have a player closer to the goal than the opposing team’s defender. Being offsides is an easy way to accidentally turn the ball over to the other team. Sometimes in our walk with the Lord, we too get offsides. I’ve been known to get excited over a situation and run ahead of the Lord, instead of waiting for his direction. Recently, my Sunday School teacher elaborated on the verse in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” A yoke is a wooden harness used on oxen to plow fields. If two oxen are yoked together they work in tandem. If one animal falls behind or rushes ahead of the other, the work will be hindered. The same holds true with us. We need to check our hearts to make sure we are not offsides with God. We should be walking step-by-step with the Lord, not lagging behind or rushing ahead. If we stay ‘yoked’ to God, we will hear Him whisper instructions as He guides our path. DIFFERENT POSITIONS: Earlier this week, Andrew was asked to play Goal Keeper. He normally plays the position of Forward, not Goalie. This change in position made him a nervous wreck. In my best Tony Horton (P90X trainer) voice I gruffed “Do your best and forget the rest.” The morning of the big game I caught sight of Andrew meticulously applying hair gel and reciting the writing on his bathroom mirror. “I can do all things in Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13. Once again God reminded me to seek Him when I’m called to do something out of my comfort zone. If God is calling you to do something He will equipped you for that position. God equips the called, He does not call the equipped. Why? Because he wants us to seek him for wisdom and guidance so that our faith grows as we learn to trust him. In the process He is glorified! REST AND REHYDRATE: I noticed after a player scores a goal the coach will sub in a new player. It took me a while to understand the coach’s logic. In my mind, I’m thinking if the kid just scored why pull him out? Then I realized the coach does this to give the player time to rest and rehydrate. This has happened to me. There have been times where I was doing what I was supposed to be doing only to be forced to sit out and rest. When this happens we need to take the cue from the coach and from the Lord and rest. It is during that time of resting and rehydrating our bodies that we can encourage others who are still on the field. Game Day Baby, Game Day! Rrrruff! ~April

“May you and I be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:12

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