“This can’t be the end.”
Those words flashed through my mind as our soccer team humbly walked toward us with the participation trophy in hand. My eyes locked on our son, and my buried emotions matched his tears. Except for some reason, none of my tears escaped.
It was a hard fought battle. I had never witnessed our boys playing that determined ever before. I watched with pride as our son did all he could to make a difference out on that field. I admired his aggressiveness, his tenacity, his determination. But despite their disciplined efforts for 80 minutes, the final score was not what we all hoped (and what I prayed) for. We lost by two.
These boys made school history being the first team ever to appear in the high school soccer state tournament. Ever. They had nothing to hang their heads about. But the disappointment of not moving on to the semi-finals, and the reality of a successful season ending, was a heaviness everyone felt. Especially the seniors.
I could only imagine the feelings welling up inside of our son.
Thirteen years of soccer came to an abrupt finish as the game-ending whistle blew. Thirteen years of kicking the ball around with most of these buddies came to a finale. It’s one of those experiences you know is coming, but you just can’t quite prepare yourself for. With that whistle also came the end of his senior year. His teammates extended hugs to each other, as their tears mixed with beads of sweat. These guys were more than a team. They were family. The stands filled with fans, family, and friends emptied onto the field to greet these hometown heroes.
It’s no wonder our son couldn’t stop the tears. And there was no need to. Every tear was deserved.
Soccer has been his thing since he was five years old. He’s had a ball at his feet for as long as I can remember. (We have the marks on our walls to prove it.) It has been his passion, his joy, his sport.
As I hugged him as tight as any mom could, I recalled how we talked and prayed together before he left that morning. We prayed for God’s will for the outcome of the game. (Yes, God even cares about soccer when it involves His own. He cares about what matters to you, too.) We prayed for God’s protection, grace, and His favor for our son. We even prayed for God to be glorified through our son’s presence on the field.
God answered all of those prayers.
Our son was given a gift this year… to be on two championship teams: Show choir and soccer. Two incredible seasons that most will never get to experience in a lifetime, let alone in one’s senior year. I believe this last year of high school, and the amazing moments he experienced in it, will be embedded in his mind forever. God blessed him in so many wonderful, amazing and beautiful ways.
My goodness, this truth humbles me in thankfulness to my core. What a joy it has been as his mother to watch it all unfold right before my very eyes. I am grateful. So, incredibly grateful.
With an end, comes a new beginning. I look forward to seeing what God has planned next for him. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing in our joy and for journeying with us!
(Soccer pic photo credit: T Marie Portraits & Photo Booth)
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Julie, he’s lucky to have a mom like you.
And, thanking you for the prayers, I am lucky to have a friend like you.
And yes, God cares about soccer…but He PLAYS rugby.
Andrew, you made me chuckle here. I don’t know much about rugby, but if God plays it, then I better learn it. 🙂 Thank you for your encouraging words. Praying your day is blessed in unexpected ways!
Beautiful. I’m still muddling around in my “end of baseball” story. I understand.
Yes, I imagine you do understand, Lisa. Your in my thoughts often, and in my prayers. Enjoy this sweet time, as I know you are. Blessings!
End of something sweet and wonderful. And the beginning of something new. Moving forward is definitely a lot easier when we can look back with grateful hearts and at the same time look forward with eager anticipation–with hope for more new sweet and wonderful. There’s a profound joy in looking back over the life of your child and remembering with a smile. Thanks for sharing this precious time in your family’s life.
I couldn’t agree more with you, Sabra. You’ve obviously walked this road before and share from experience. I am now just “getting it.” And it’s a beautiful experience. Glad I can share it with you. Thanks for being a great friend!