Trials and Triumphs

Hi Everyone.
So I have some pretty crazy news to share with you all. God has done some pretty amazing things over the course of these past two weeks, and I can’t wait to tell you about it. But I’ve also realized that when there are incredible things being done by God, there are also incredibly painful attacks that come from the enemy. I wanted to take a minute to share some of these things with you all—mostly to encourage you but also to make you aware of some crucial prayer needs!
1. Last week, one of my soccer coaches (Brent) became a Christian! How cool is that? My coach was raised in the church as child, but he stopped believing and became an atheist. He’s in his mid-thirties now, and after putting his hope in karma for so many years, my coach decided that after watching me live out my faith during soccer—and after seeing how faithful and loving my God was—he knew that it was time to follow hard after the real Jesus. He struggled with the thought that his life may have no meaning, so he has been in search of “purpose” for many years. He mentioned to me that he had never met a Christian who actually had “answers” to his tough questions (until now), and he never met a Christian who showed him love despite his past addictions and failings (until now). He used to feel judged and condemned by a distant God and an unloving church—but after reading some of my blog posts and journeying through life with me during this soccer season… he said that he’s finally been able to see the Lord for who He really is. (The God of love, mercy, and forgiveness.) It has been such an honor and a privilege to see the Lord work in his life. I mean, heck, he’s already getting plugged into a church and he bought his first bible! So encouragement: God can and will use you for His glory to wield His mighty weapon of love wherever you are—no matter who you are. I realized in that moment that the Lord called me to play soccer for a bigger “kingdom” purpose, and if I wasn’t obedient, I would have missed out on being apart of this awesome adventure.  
2. My other coach (Brandon) is also an atheist—but that didn’t stop God from working a miracle in his life last week. During my prayer time, the Lord told me to ask my coach about his knee. So the morning of our soccer training, I sent him a text asking how his knee was feeling, and he responded with, “It’s really really bad and in a lot of pain.” I felt the Lord wanted me to step out boldly in faith and pray for him. I am going to be honest with you guys—I really didn’t want to do that. Like, for real… I was freaking out. But I figured the worst possible thing that could happen would be my coach judging me as a weirdo. So I decided to “woman-up” and ask him if he would feel comfortable letting me pray for his knee after training that evening. To my surprise, my coach said that he would actually really appreciate some prayer. That evening, once practice was over, I approached my coach and asked if it was still okay if I could pray for his knee, and he said, “go for it.” So I bent down, put my hands on his knee and prayed one of the shortest and most nerve-wracking prayers of my life, “Lord, please let Brandon know how much you love him…please completely heal his knee from the inside out—tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and all.” When I finished praying, I gave him a hug and I went home—without even asking how his knee felt (whoops). The next morning, my coach sent me a message saying that his knee felt incredible and that he had no pain or discomfort going up and down the stairs in his flat anymore. He was also able to play soccer on it the next day. He said that he wasn’t sure what to think because he honestly didn’t expect anything to happen, but he couldn’t deny the immediate results he felt. God healed his knee. God still works miracles, and it’s all because God is love. And not only did God heal Brandon’s knee, but the Lord also built up my faith. I think I was more intimidated and scared than Brandon was, but the Lord proved Himself faithful again, and we both stood before Him in wonder and awe.
Now for the tough stuff…
There has been a huge attack from a group of girls on my soccer team. It came out of nowhere and it has been absolutely horrible. Racism, hatred, betrayal, mistrust, rejection, rebellion, judgement—you name it, this week as captain of my team, I have had to receive it and deal with it over and over. This past Wednesday, it was so painful that I cried in the middle of the game after being verbally torn apart by one of my own teammates. Even though I know this battle is a spiritual one, it’s been really difficult to handle. My integrity has been slandered and my authority as captain has been undermined—and for the first time in my life… my own skin color is being held against me. The hardest part about all of this is that the Lord is calling me to not retaliate—even to the point where I have had to apologize for things that weren’t even my fault. Not being able to defend yourself or stand up for yourself in those moments is probably one of the worst feelings ever. I have never understood what the bible meant by “dying to self,” until now. It’s the hardest thing to do. So please pray for unity, humility, peace, forgiveness, and love. This is a test of faith that I do not want to lose, for the sake of my relationship with the Lord, my teammates, and my coaches who are watching my every move. Please pray that I will walk in integrity and love, and that I will honor God will my words and behavior.  
Love to you all! Thank you in advance for your prayers and support!!!