We talked with forward Bethany Balcer of the OL Reign in the NWSL about her faith journey, how she’s living in the increase of Christ, and the mentors who have impacted her life. Here’s what she had to say:
What effect does your faith have on your lifestyle?
It’s everything to me. I’m so thankful for the gift of soccer and ability He’s given me; I want to use it to the fullest potential, giving it back to Him. For me, soccer is a lifestyle — a way of worship. It has also grown me as a human being, helping me with all the things you learn in a sport such as selflessness, humility and working well with others. I believe soccer has stretched me to be more like Christ.
Can you describe how your journey with Christ began?
I was raised in a Christian home. Both my parents grew up in church and raised us the same way. Faith is something that each of my siblings and I had to make our own and we are still figuring out what we believe. Moving to Seattle was really good for me as I learned to interact with all kinds of people. It’s so fun to learn from others instead of surrounding myself with people who are just like me. I don’t want to be a narrow-minded person, so coming out here has allowed me to see more and engage in conversations with those who believe differently than me.
Who have been some mentors in your life? How did God bring these people into your life?
Through different phases of life God has brought different people to speak into my life. My high school’s assistant basketball coach and his wife are go-tos for me. They are both so filled with the Holy Spirit and are very wise. In one of my lowest moments of my life, they were with me and have been with me ever since. Walking alongside them has been amazing; they opened my heart up to a whole new side of the Christian faith. Here in Seattle, my pastor and his wife have been incredible. They helped create this Michigan-to-Seattle transition to go really smoothly for me.
What does the Increase of Christ mean to you?
I’ve always seen this as a very humbling statement. Sometimes we think we can’t be happy about our achievements, but I believe it’s OK to celebrate your victories. As long as we are remembering Whom our gifts are from, celebrating our talents is a way of honoring God. Living in the fullness of who God called you to be is allowing Him to increase. We can be excited about our victories because we know where they come from.
What is your life verse and why?
One of my favorite books of the Bible is Romans. I always try to live by Romans 5:8 which says, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The love of God is something I’ve never been able to fully grasp or comprehend, and I don’t think I ever will, but each day I’m going to receive the love He graciously gives. All I have to do is to look at the cross and the way He died for me.
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