Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Post Where I Finally Talk about this Football Season.

I shared this article that was recently printed in the Indianapolis Star's sports section about my sweet Dad. I was so touched by the author, Phil Richards, I wrote him an e-mail thanking him for his sweet words and the highlight of my Dad's placement of faith and family over football. I received a delightful response from Mr. Richards which included the statement ' you're a lucky girl, your Dad is one heckofaguy'. I couldn't agree more.

I haven't written much about this season and what it's been like but before this year ends I wanted to share a little about what the Lord has taught me through a season that began 0-13. If you've read the Old Testament you'll be familiar with Moses and his story as it's featured in Exodus. Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt, where they were slaves. After which, they wandered the dessert for 40 years. Yes, you read that right, 40 years!

Now I'd encourage you to read the story of HOW the Lord came to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. The story of how Moses used plagues on the Egyptian people to finally get Pharaoh to release the Israelites is a pretty crazy story chalk full of miracles that include when he parted the Red Sea. Seriously, read it.

So now they're wandering in the dessert complaining because what else would you do if you're stuck in the dessert for 40 years, right? Part way through this epically long period of wandering, they start feeling like maybe slavery wasn't so bad. Hey, at least it wasn't the desert even if we had to work all day in the sun, be beaten and whipped, and eat everyone else's leftovers.

This of course had to annoy/frustrate the Lord as well as Moses. Hey, remember those miracles we did to get you of there? Remember when I was literally raining down food from heaven to feed you everyday in this desert? Can I get a little appreciation?

Eventually the story ends well and the Israelites do make it to the Promiseland. But that's not really where I'm headed with this. After the best 9 year run in Indianapolis Colts franchise history (as referenced in the article), we went 0-13 to start this season. That's right, for 13 painfully long weeks we didn't win one single game. It was a long fall from the top, from winning a Super Bowl, to here - with our most promising title for the year being earning 'first round draft pick' (which goes to the worst record in the league).

My dad was quoted in the article as saying, ' Footballs like life,' he said. 'This isn't cancer, but it certainly teaches you what it's like in hard times. You've got to face it. You've got to be a man'.

This football season is what you might call the desert. And about 5 games in (which felt a bit like 40 years) I recognized this year as that. I knew with clarity, I am in the desert. I can be like the Israelites and I can whine and whimper about what this desert season feels like OR I can remember all that the Lord has done to bring me here. The miracles.

When I look back at Dad's time in the NFL, I recognize that it's been chalk full of miracles. And I don't just mean on the football field. If you read the article you know that my Dad is in and of himself, a bit of a miracle. Born to 15 year old unwed mother, placed for adoption in LA, and adopted my a Pastor and his wife.

But our story is miracle after miracle. Our time in Indianapolis started off on a rough foot. After the best 5 year run in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history we were blindsided by a full staff firing. I had just finished my sophmore year of high school. It would be the first move I made without my best friend and older sister, Rae. It rocked my world and began the longest season of struggle I've endured to date. What I see when I look back though, is the Lord's hand in it all. Even desert seasons have purpose.

This year hasn't been without tears and hardship. Without careless words from media, old college ' buddies', and strangers in the stands. This year hasn't been easy and much of it hasn't been fun. The first 13 games of this season were hard. There has been heartbreak, disappointment, and worry to go around.

The Lord, like he did for the Israelites in the desert, has a way of keeping us encouraged when we need it most. The article I linked above was just that for me. A reminder of the Lord's faithfulness, purpose, and plan to prosper. That article highlights how the Lord has used not only a tough season this year but the years of sacrifice and faithfulness of my precious Dad to bring glory back to Him.

I don't know what the next few weeks hold, starting with the game I will attend tomorrow night in Indianapolis, as we enter it 1-13. What I can tell you is this - God is good. Win or lose. Super Bowl wins or first round draft picks. I believe with as much conviction at the end of this long, hard season that God's plans are to prosper (Jeremiah 29:11).

I want to close with the exerpt from the article:

They might struggle. The crowd mght boo. THe calls for firing the coaching staff might be renewed and invigorated.

Christensen will call the plays. He will smile. He will compete. He will suffer and he will enjoy and he will soldier on.

'Football is important,' he said. 'Winning games is important. But this is about more than football. It's bigger than that. It's about the city. It's about using the platform. It's about making an impact'.



Kerbi said...

What a beautiful article. Thank you so much for sharing! Your dad is an amazing man! God is SO good!

Wiz said...

Great article! ITs been a tough season. I am a big Colt's fan! I went to Tennessee so of course I love Peyton. I hope he will get to play again...