This year I was able to go to spring training with Jake for the first time, which was huge for our marriage. Being a professional softball player, married to a professional baseball player, it’s often hard to find time to be with my husband. Though it was hard to give up my coaching season this past spring, I felt God calling me to step away from it so I could travel with Jake.
I expected to be heartbroken about not seeing the girls every day and working with them, but I wasn’t. I had such a peace about it, and once the time came, I knew why. It was the best thing for us. If I make the 2020 U.S. Olympic softball team, I will be on tour from the end of January through the Summer Olympics. So the fact that we were able to invest in our marriage this season was huge. We were able to lay a deeper foundation for our marriage, discovering more about each other each day.
There are a lot of sacrifices you have to make as an athlete. You have to be smart in your craft, putting in the time to train even when it means taking time away from what you really want to do — in my case, traveling with Jake. One thing that has really helped us during this season is engaging in a Bible reading plan together. We will read the same Scripture passage and then share what we learned that day. There are days when I compete or practice in the mornings and he at night, so we’re not able to talk to each other. But when we share our comments on what God is teaching us through His Word, we’re able to draw closer to God and each other. This allows us a better understanding of how we can pray for each other while we’re away.
Jake is really good at being on the outside of a situation and looking at it Biblically. I love going to him with a circumstance I’m struggling with because I know he will answer with wisdom and help lead me through it, even from a distance. I want to be led spiritually by him. Though he’s not a very talkative person, he sees that I want to be led as I share my life with him, and he in turn responds accordingly. If I didn’t want to be led — and instead be independent — it would be really hard to do life together.
Earlier this year, Jake and I were going through the question, “Do we really love God more than anything else in the world?” We were continually being faced with this challenge, which brought us to want to love God more than anything. While Jake was going through many ups and downs in his season, we were reading through the book of 1 John, which is full of the idea of abiding in Christ. We were continually reminded that we are called to love God, love each other and love our teammates before all else.
I remember one day as I was reading, I was searching for something that may speak into the frustration or situation I was in that day — something that would comfort me with what we were walking through — but nothing stood out. What did stand out is that we need to love God and love others.
Though it wasn’t what I was looking for that day, I realized that loving God and loving others is never irrelevant! This should be the primary focus of our lives every day. That day I was faced with the fact that by searching for something about a specific concern in my life, I had placed that issue on a pedestal in my heart, above loving God and loving others. My hope for a situation had crept up in value before what really mattered most.
I’m thankful God gently reminds us to come back to what’s important.
— Janie Reed, USA Softball player
Janie Reed is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions. Check out Janie’s Increase profile here: https://theincrease.com/author/janie-reed/
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