I love soccer.  I’m not going to lie–I’m as committed to watching a good soccer game as any sports-addled guy who watches anything played with a ball where someone comes out a winner and sweat is involved.  All six of my kids played the beautiful game.  And now my grandchildren have taken it up.  The reason it’s so beautiful is that anyone can play–you don’t have to be a specific body type, you don’t need a lot of equipment, and you can play it anywhere–indoors or out.

But even the beautiful game can bring out the die-hard competitor in a person.  My youngest is playing soccer in college now, and I’ll be completely unbiased and honest–she’s amazing at it.  The issue is that her coach isn’t in complete agreement with me.  I think she should be getting more time on the field.  He doesn’t always see it that way.  So I’ve begun to think of him with a few pet names that aren’t particularly cute or appropriate.

The thing that intrigues me is that my daughter is handling the situation with more maturity and grace than I am.  I have told her for years that soccer doesn’t define her–it’s something she happens to do well and enjoys immensely.  But whether or not she plays doesn’t affect the type of person she is.  It is neither a reflection of her character nor an indication of the substance of her heart.  It is, at the end of the day, a game.

Why do I struggle with that?

I’m a mom, and I want everyone to see my children as I do–full of potential, wonderful to be with, talented beyond imagination.  A little over the top?  Oh, yeah.  But very heart-felt.  I simply want others to see her as I do.

Tip of the iceberg–I have a heavenly Father who wants me to see myself as He sees me.  He talks about me with such warmth and understanding and grace, a broken, messy person who is cherished and enjoyed by the God of the universe.  That picture is so much bigger than I can wrap my heart around, so much grander than I can conceive.  I know myself, with all my quirks and cracks, with all the places I fail and the potholes of my heart.     And He wants me to see myself as His beloved.

At the end of the day, the beautiful game is life.  Not because of what we have here, but because of what we could have when we learn to see beyond the limits of life to the hope of heaven.

And the great thing is we all get playing time.

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