Women’s soccer is a melting pot, made up of women who hold different views, opinions and ways of looking at the world. One thing I’ve found peace with in this arena is looking at what Jesus has done for us all; that makes it so easy to love everyone. So that’s what I do — I focus on love. Jesus was a friend to everybody. When I replicate that, people naturally start to ask questions.
God has called me to be as steady as I possibly can right now. This season has brought about a ton of change for me — having a baby, getting a new coach, switching positions from forward to defender after 20 years of playing on offense, and my husband, Jordan, switching NFL teams. But I’m choosing to be steady. Every one of my teammates knows how much transition I’ve been going through, and yet if they can see me handling it with grace, they will ask questions.
And I myself am constantly being reminded of God’s grace. Each morning as I drive into work and listen to God’s truths, I make sure I’m putting my flesh and desires aside, and choosing to embrace my new role. If I’m able to remain calm and collected every day, whether we lose or have a bad practice, it makes people raise their eyebrows. I know I can only do this through the Spirit of God living in me.
Naturally, I talk to my teammates about what I believe and what I’ve read in the Scriptures that day, but I also encourage them to read for themselves. I know how important that is. I haven’t had any negative pushback. I’ve been blessed with great teammates who, whether they know it or not, have the Holy Spirit working in them. They just need to recognize it.
But once we get past society’s view of Christianity, and the tendency to divide people into different groups based off their lifestyle and beliefs, then we can break down walls. We’re not supposed to be divided, we’re all called to be moving closer to Christ. And when we remove this universal view of people and focus instead on what Jesus has done for us on the cross, people are more receptive to His love.
The Spirit continues to move on my team, and as He does, I’m keeping Matthew 9:37-38 at the forefront of my mind:
“Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.’” —Matthew 9:37-38
It doesn’t matter whether I’m at home with the baby, at work, or have a million errands to run, this verse keeps me moving with a purpose. I know where I am most valued and I know the only work that really matters is moving toward the Lord and His purpose for me. He is my Comforter even in the busiest of seasons. His grace all around me pushes me closer and closer to Him.
— Cheyna Matthews, NWSL’s Washington Spirit and Jamaican national team
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