Friday, March 22, 2013

Faith & Champions

Last week Emma had a great experience.  She has been playing futsal for the past few weeks and her team ended up placing 4th in the league before the playoffs.  They were the last seed in the tournament  and a few nights before the semi-final game (against the #1 team) she confided in me that she really, really, really wanted to win the championship.  Here is why:  

Her team has played together for the past 6 years.  They started out together in the recreational league and progressed over time to the league she plays in now.  They have lost players, gained players and been smoked on the field at times and at other times, won big.  However, they have never won a championship game in the playoffs.  For some strange reason, this just never happened. 

 Anyone that knows Emma realizes how competitive this gal is.  She plays to win.  Period.  She told me that she was tired of not feeling like her season was complete.  She also told me that in Young Women's that week they talked about faith and that she had been thinking a lot about it.    Her teacher told her that she just needed to believe, with nothing wavering.   She needed to pray and do everything within her power and then turn it over to Heavenly Father.  We talked about this for a while and she decided that she was going to put her faith to the test.  She said that she was going to pray for her teammates and that she decided that she would totally believe in them and their ability as a team to win.  So...the next few nights during our evening prayers, we prayed for that very thing.  

The night of the semi-final game, Emma was nervous.  Heavens, I was nervous.  They were playing the #1 team who had beat them earlier that season (and was undefeated).  I have to say that team was amazing and pretty intimidating.  However, after the first few minutes, I knew that we were going to win.  Emma's team scored 2 quick goals and they never looked back.  The final was 5-2 and it was awesome :)  Her team played like I have never seen them play before.  It was incredible and a great testimony builder to Emma.  

With that win it meant that they would play in the finals.  Emma continued to pray that she would exercise her particle of faith and that they would once again play to the best of their ability.  It came time for the final game and after the first few minutes I once again knew that Heavenly Father was answering that sweet girls prayer.  Emma had come out and scored two quick goals and once again, they never looked back.  She ended up scoring 4 of the 5 goals with the final score being 5-2 (again).  It was awesome :)  Those girls went nuts...jumping, hugging, screaming, was so much fun to watch.  All those years of hard work finally paying off.  

Since that night I have thought a lot about this experience and what Emma learned.  I honestly believe that even if they had not won both games that Emma would have had her faith grow.  Soccer games come and go and honestly, winning or losing it would not have been earth shattering.  However, I am grateful to my Heavenly Father for listening to this amazing girl's simple prayer.  He taught her so many things and for that I am very grateful.  

 She learned that you just need a "particle" of faith and a pure desire and then miracles happen.  This does not mean that everything will always work out for her and that whatever she prays for will happen, but it does mean that Heavenly Father is in control far more than she believed before.  He is aware of her.  He knows her heart and hears her prayers. 

 My prayer is that someday when she is down and wondering if she matters, she will remember these past few weeks and know, without a doubt, that He does know her name.  He knows her heart and He hears her pleas.  She is important.  She is significant.  And she is a champion -- both on the field and off. 

Congratulations, Em!  You earned it :) 

(In the pic above, Emma is hiding behind Kylie.  If you look really hard you can see her)