Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Losing Year

Losing means in very smiley words "not winning."  I’m getting good at losing this year- I think it’s for a reason- to learn and be reminded that I need God’s strength. That my identity is not in what I do, but in how God works through me. It’s not about being on top, but it’s about the lessons learned along the journey! 

There have been so many things this year where I have to had to bend my knees and release my control and abide in God. To “lose”. To walk in His leadings and do what He is calling me to without receiving the human recognition that my prideful heart longs for. 

The loss of a leadership position, but instead God has given me the natural ability to keep leading without a “title”.  The loss of undefeated season and championship win in coaching soccer, but far better than any win as a coach I experienced the joy of seeing my team learn so many amazing life lessons as well as growing closer together as a team. The loss of my dear grandpa. This one hurts deeply as I grieve still, but in the grieving God has drawn me closer to His heart. The loss of my half marathon. This one I physically lost to my own self standings compared to my other races, but somehow this race was one of my favorite races as I struggled to cross the finish line. The loss of learning my ministry here with mentoring high school girls’ instead the Lord has placed it upon my heart to keep pursuing some of them even after I am gone. Knowing that soon I will experience the loss of being present in Lucy's life, but continually being reminded that the Lord provides for our every need. That He has Lucy in the palm of His hands and that He has the perfect plan for her. The loss of being in the same place as my family away from family, but knowing that God has forever marked them on my heart and there will always be room at the table with them. The loss of another year teaching, but knowing that beyond a doubt God has plans for me in this new season of YWAM in New Zealand. 

You see it’s a losing year for me. It’s a year where I have had to learn to embrace the losses because in the end I am learning that all that matters is my heart’s attitude and what God is teaching me in the process. 

It’s been tough facing so many losses this year. For awhile it brought me under and I felt like I was drowning in it, but slowly my feet have started finding the ground and knowing that this season can’t last forever, but my hope in God can brings me closer to the shore. 

{God, thank you for being the only thing that my heart truly wants to “win” in. That even in the losses I can see the lessons. I pray through every loss that I would grow closer to you. To see you in everyone of them. To rest in you and embrace losses and the wins!} 

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increase strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not be faint. “ 
Isaiah 40:28-31

Of course there were a few wins this year as well. Winning Seoul Conquest for the third time in a row and having a fun day exploring with high schoolers. Wining Coach of the Year and loving every minute of coaching the past three seasons. Winning some awesome friendships this year that I am so thankful for. I would have never made it through the year without them. I guess life is all about the wins and losses and the journey through them. 

 {God, thank you for working in me and using the losses and wins in my life to point myself towards you! May I continue to wait (abide) in you for renew strength as I finish this season and enter into a new one} 

Love, Daniella 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Joy in Coaching

Every spring for the past three years God has blessed with a little joy. A joy of coaching a high school girl’s soccer team. Never would I have guessed when I was playing sports in high school that I would someday be the coach. I never consider myself a very good player in any sports I played, but I liked the idea of sports, working together as a team, working out,  and being like my siblings (who are SUPER good at sports. With all that said I am just a huge sports fan in general and watching all sorts of different kinds of sports is one of my favorite things to do!!! (which reminds me I need to get my tickets for a Korean baseball game soon so I can watch a game before I say good-bye to my season in Korea!) But it’s true I have coached for the past three years and have loved it! 

That’s why tears are so close these days as I write this post thinking about my team for the past three years. I have LOVED coaching not because the first two years my team went undefeated and were the champions of our division  or because I got Coach of the Year award this year. No, it’s because of  my TEAM. My team of girls even as it changed over the three years. These girls taught me SO much. God used them to grow me and show me how much He loves me and believes in me. 

A couple of Fridays ago our school had our annual Sport’s Banquet and did I ever feel so honored by my players and athlete director. My sweet team gave me a beautiful banquet of red roses and a huge red heart with notes from them.  My athlete director honored me with Coach of the Year. It was truly humbly. This award is not about me, but it’s all about what God did through me in coaching and my team of girls who believed in me as their coach. I am so thankful that I had an opportunity to talk to my team about our season and what I thought as a coach. I was able to honor my players. I also took the opportunity to give my final words to all ICS athletes as you know my season here in Korea is coming to end. I am very excited about what is next, but it’s little things like coaching soccer that make it hard to leave. The girls on my team have won a place in my heart. It was not an easy season, but fought hard together through every obstacle on and off the field! 

Receiving my award

And these are the words that I spoke to my team: This year we had to overcome many obstacles; not enough players, injuries, our first lost in the past 3 seasons, refs who were not always in our favor and a terrible tournament schedule. We faced disappointments and fears as a team. 

Many have been asking and wondering how can you still love this soccer season even though it was filled with disappointment in terms of scores and rank compared to the  other past two seasons. 

Well let me take a few moments to tell you: 

First, every season is a new season. A new team. New goals and dynamics. It’s important to remember that comparison is the thief of joy. We shouldn’t compare seasons but we should embrace the season we are in with open minds and hearts to learn from it so that we can grow. (And this totally apples to everyday life as well). 

Second,  as a coach I saw my team as true conquerors and champions. We built muscle. We built character. We grew stronger. We grew bolder. We pushed up. We pushed limits. We sweated. We laughed. We achieved. Together. This Season. As a team.
My Captain this year and little Evelyn

These ladies fought hard despite our circumstances we faced as a team. Like I always told the girls before and after each game “If you give it your all a win will feel deserved and a loss won’t hold regret.” Well, those of you who were at tournament can testify that these ladies gave it their all as they fought through 3 games basically back to back (that’s 4 1/2 hours of soccer straight) to claim third place proudly. 

Yes, we can claim third place proudly because we overcame disappointment and pulled together as a team even when we face a huge disappointment of losing the first game in tournament. We had a choice to make… either to put each other down and give up for the rest of the day or come together as a team and conqueror all the rest of our games. And man did these ladies crush the other teams! 

The greatest joy of being a coach to these ladies the past three season hasn’t been the wins or even the losses this year, but it has been seeing how God used soccer to teach us all lessons… life lessons:

Lady Conquerors- I hope and pray that you will hold onto these lessons as you go through out life: 

-Remember One kind word can change someone day. Kindness changes everything.  It warmed my heart as a coach to hear you ladies speaking truth to one another, building one another up and cheering one another on in both the awesome moments and also in the moments when someone felt like they failed. 

Dressed up for our school Spring Fling Dance 
Which leads me to the next lesson… 

-We learned that it always better to work together as team. Remember ladies there is no letter “i” in team, but there is an “e” for we! :) We don’t score a goal for ourselves or defend a ball for ourselves, but when we have the right heart and do it for our team it makes a bigger difference and keep our eyes off ourselves. 

-Life is tough, but so are you, Lady Conquerors

-We also had to face many fears throughout the season both individually and as whole on and off the field, but I want you to remember: You were never created to live depressed, defeated, guilty, condemned, ashamed or unworthy. You were created to be victorious.  
You can only crush your fears with truth. 

  • Our bodies are created to honor and glorify God that even includes what we eat and how we take care of our body! 
  • Like Mia Hamm said  [We learned that] “It is more difficult to stay on top than to get there.”
Dig-deep was our motto! 
  • Dig deep, ladies!
-Ephesians 5:20 says “In all things give thanks.” You ladies have pure hearts in thankfulness… even in overcoming obstacles you looked for the things to be thankful for. We even recorded a song after tournament with all the “soccer” things we were thankful for to our God! Having thankful hearts always gives you a better perspective on life. 

-Lastly, we continued to learn what it means to glorify God through playing soccer through the way we respected our team, the other teams and the refs. Sometimes this was hard, but we did it! 

As you can tell it has been a pure JOY for me to coach you ladies this season as well as the previous two seasons. More than you know it has been a blessing to my life and I have grown and learn so much through it. Thank you for loving on me and believing in me as you coach as well as your respect. I am truly going to miss coaching you all. It is something that will always have a little piece of my heart. Thank you! 

And because this is my last year I want leave a challenge for all future seasons, players and coaches: 

Being a Christian athlete doesn’t mean praying for your team to win. God doesn’t give an edge to those who pray, over those who don’t; hard work does that. Being a Christian athlete means competing for Christ, in a way in which you always give your all for Him, and win or lose, you thank Him for the ability and opportunity to play. It means giving all the glory to God, no matter the outcome, because you trust in His plan for you life. 

Remember a sport is more than just playing a sport. It’s about building relationships, a team, mentoring and learning life lessons! 

Go fight and Conqueror and know I will be cheering for you all from afar! 

Two of my biggest supports this year! 
My awesome team after tournament! 

{Thank you, God for pushing me out of my comfort zone my very first year of coaching and building in me confidence to use coaching soccer for your glory and to pour into the lives of these girls. May your work continue to grow as I pass my team onto the future coach. It’s all about you… not me that’s my heart desire as I say good-bye and let go! These girls will always hold a place in my heart and I am excited for how God is going to continue to work in them!} 

Who knows if I will ever coach again?! But if the opportunity comes again I am sure I will jump right in… we will just have to wait and see. For now I hold onto the memories of the past three seasons with joy and a smile remembering the nickname these girls gave me “Ms.Coach”! 

Love, Daniella