The NWSL was the first pro league in the States to have a season. There were a lot of eyes on us as we started the month-long Challenge Cup tournament in Utah. The first matches were particularly hard. There was a lot of tension about the state of the world and the injustices that are coming to light. For instance, a lot of people were watching to see what would happen when the national anthem was played. As a team, we had a lot of discussions about how we could do our part to fight against these injustices.
There is so much pain and fear in the world these days. Usually, to allow myself some release, I would escape into nature, spend time with friends or go to church, but when we were in Utah, none of those were options for me. How could I step back to gain a broader perspective on what’s really important in life, who God says I am, and find assurance that He’s in control of the narrative? We have to be able to find ways to step outside of our circumstances and look to Jesus. So how do we do that when all routines are thrown out the window?
My knee-jerk reaction to the isolation was that I did not enjoy it. But I found ways to relieve the pressure and get away from the chaos. And I found the time to be a period of growth, because I didn’t want to just get through it, I wanted to soak it in. Every chapel teaching we’ve had this season has been focused on the theme of “Unexpected,” based on Ephesians 3:18-20:
“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.”
As we leaned into the difficulties of this season, we had really good conversations with each other. We got to know each other on a deeper level, talking about things with each other that we normally wouldn’t. It’s this vulnerability that really led to a fruitful season for everyone.
The majority of my prayers these days are for the brokenhearted in our nation, that they would know Jesus is near. There is so much hurt in the world right now, it breaks my heart. Ultimately, as Christians, we have our hope in Christ and not in this world. I’m comforted knowing that no matter how broken this world is, Jesus will one day make all things new. But for those who don’t know Christ, it’s devastating to think that this world is it.
Jesus has the victory; the best is yet to come.
— Aubrey Bledsoe, NWSL’s Washington Spirit goalkeeper
Aubrey Bledsoe is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Aubrey’s profile here.
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