When I was five years old, my mom asked me, “Leila, do you want to play soccer?” I knew that I would be playing with my best friend, Yaslen, so of course I said yes! I was so excited as I thought of all the fun I would have hanging out with my bestie and running around.
The first season came and went. I don’t remember who the coach was or who the other kids were but I do remember really enjoying the game and the snacks and all the giggling that went on. I also remember that I didn’t score a single goal. When you are five, you don’t really care about scoring goals.
The next three years we continued to play on the same team. I greatly enjoyed it and I looked forward to every Sunday when I could see my team. Although my skills had improved, I still had not scored a goal. My competitive mother would always encourage me to push harder and run faster, and after every game she would ask the same questions. “Did you have fun? Do you feel like you tried your best?”
It made me start wanting to really push myself and to finally score the elusive goal. Around our fourth season, Coach Omar joined our team. He made my mother’s competitiveness seem mild. He worked us hard and added practices during the week with drills worthy of a high school team. He always expected a lot out of us and now, I not only enjoyed the game, I also found in me a fierce determination to run fast and to win. He never made us feel bad if we lost or if we missed a goal or if we didn’t play our best. He always had a plan for the next practice, for the next game, for the next season.
During this time, I found that I could run fast and had multiple assists. Yaslen and I still giggled and chatted more than we should have, but we also worked hard and focused. Now I had an objective–I had to score a goal. I knew that I was capable of it, and with my coach’s help, I knew that I would.
The Bible says in Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” God is like that “coach” or leader who never gives up on us. He always encourages us and He provides what we need in order to fulfill His plan for us. God has left the Bible, His playbook, to give us hope and to guide us through every moment of our lives. He will always stay with us through all the ups and downs and He will rejoice with us in the end.
Oh, and yes. I finally reached my objective and scored that goal! It was the best feeling ever! But I bet it doesn’t even compare to fulfilling the goals God has for me.
By Leila and Mariangela Busby