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Count the Ways They Do Well

Whatsoever Series

Romans 5:3-5 “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

I have told this story in the past, but it is worth retelling especially since so many new families have joined us since then. The story is my favorite kind because it involves one of my kids. You know exactly what I mean. You have stories about your kiddos, too, and they are your favorites! If you have sat on the sidelines at a middle school or high school soccer game, you and your family can relate. Here it goes.

Imagine our girls’ team, not exactly talented or skilled in their drills, but they share a mutual heart to play and a desire to experience the joy of winning. The season is brutal though. Our home team’s ability to handle the ball is not stellar and the opposing team’s players spend more game time pushing into our defense space than anywhere else on the field. In the end, the scoreboard is a tell-tale of the struggle. The home team was defeated again and again, but not just on the field; their spirit was, too. I loved the girls on the team (my daughter was one!), and I wanted them to know in some quantifiable way how they were doing.

During the next game, I kept track of stats. Don’t be impressed, the stats weren’t super involved! I focused on just one thing. The scoreboard read 0-7; the visiting team won, again. I let myself into the hallway where the girls were huddled outside of their locker room. I put my arms around my girl and a few nearby and with permission from the coach, I addressed the team.

“How many goals today?”

“Seven,” was the group’s tired reply.

“There was so much effort in your goal space, do you know how much of it you defended?”


“Forty-two. You blocked forty-two other pushes toward the goal! Don’t lose sight of all that effort, of all the ways in which you have done well, as a team. I am so proud of you for staying on the field together.

The next week’s game had a different ending at 1-5. It’s a fact that our home team lost, but I cannot adequately describe to you their elation and joy as they celebrated their one goal. In that moment, they had won.

This season of life we call “college” can be a lot to manage for us, but even more so to our children with schedules to keep, books to read, assignments to create and submit, group projects to manage, relationships to develop, things to do, choices to evaluate, and decisions to make. If we look at college like a soccer game, that’s a lot of movement on the field to move through or defend!

Parents, lift up Philippians 4:8-9! When your student calls or texts and you can hear in their voice that they feel defeated or worn out, count the ways in which they have done well. If there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Remind them of something they’ve learned through a class, how they’ve practiced God’s love toward others, how their own faith has been demonstrated and grown, and how their character and hope in Jesus Christ is becoming stronger. Remind them that they are not alone, and that you “have their back” and are praying specifically. Lastly, encourage them to get shoulder-to-shoulder with those around them at Liberty to help them stay on the field together and become the adult version of themselves that God has called them (and will equip them) to be!

Think on these things! May the Lord bless you and keep you; may his face shine upon you.

Meet the Author

Tamatha Anthony

 Assistant Director

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