In the fall of 2004 we were well into the process of “closing up” before we left the first time for the mission field. I remember being excited about selling everything, patient packing up and even saying goodbyes. Although it was tough, medicine I was so excited about what was ahead that it overwhelmed the majority of sad or negative emotions. One Saturday afternoon, however, a wave of panic hit me in the middle of one of Alex’s soccer games.
I had identified very well with the whole “soccer mom” label. I had the minivan with the soccer ball magnet on the back. I was the team mom, made the flag, brought the snacks, planned my Saturdays around Alex and Maggie’s games. It was a role I had loved since Alex was four years old. That late fall Saturday morning, I suddenly found myself overwhelmed with a need to cry. I felt near hyperventilation and although giving up everything else had been pretty easy, all things considered, it suddenly felt impossible to let go of this one detail – soccer Saturdays. I remember a conversation I had with one of our pastors who had been keeping tabs on our emotional stability through the process and through tears I blurted out “I don’t think I can give up being a soccer mom!” Ridiculous…I know. I believe the true reality was that I was realizing that my culture was about to change in a huge way. It was true, Saturdays would never be the same. The minivan would be gone. Many things about everyday life were about to change in a big way! Relieving my soccer mom duties became the straw that broke the camels back and suddenly I felt very unsure about everything, but of course, we pushed on with our plans.
|“The Burn” ~ the team where I realized life was about to turn upside down|
Over the years, Alex and Maggie have still been able to be involved in soccer, mostly at schools where there wasn’t a formal team, but they were still able to play with a group a couple times a week. During our time to fund raise in the States they joined teams and we relished in a few months of “normalcy”. Other than that short season, we became preoccupied with ministry, traveling and a million other things, so soccer Saturdays moved to the realm of things we used to love doing together.
However this year, after a long hiatus, soccer Saturdays are back! No, I’m not the team mom – they’re teenagers and no longer need “team moms” and the team experience here looks nothing like what it did in the States – not that it’s bad, just different, but a couple of weeks ago as I sat with a bunch of moms watching the kids play, I realized God had restored a joy in my heart that had left so long ago.
|Then and Now
Alex’s first soccer picture on the left and this season on the right.
Although the whole soccer Saturday loss truly wasn’t a devastating change in our lives, it felt like a giant warm hug to see God had restored something that was once so precious to me, even after I had stopped longing for it – and I love it! I love watching my kids in action. I love spending time getting to know parents and build relationships with people from all walks of life who share in the joy of watching their kids play – although I’m learning here I need to brush up on knowing all of the national and international teams and players. Everyone is very passionate about soccer here!
|Parents gather around a field to watch the boys play their match.|
It gives me great peace to know God knows the depths of my heart and cares about even the little things – and that it’s not just for me, but for my family and for you! Have you ever let go of something that God later returned to you?