For those of you who don't know, UPWARD is a athletic program developed for church's to use as an outreach to their community. They have multiple different sports available but being from Indiana...of course we do basketball! We have done this for probably 6 or 7 years, and if you can't tell by now...I LOVE IT!
This year I am looking forward to just coaching! I say :just: because it will be my only responsibility...a big one, but the only one I will have to this season. 9 little kindergarten and 1st grade super stars are going to make up a great little team, The Boilers! :)
I am so excited to start the season; our first practice is a week from tonight. Mike, my dad and Mike, my boyfriend are going to coach with me and I am SO pumped to get started. I am looking forward to meeting my Jordan Juniors, building relationships with their parents and family, reading and learning the Word with them, praying with and for them, inviting them to church, sharing devotions with them, oh yeah, and teaching them about basketball.
Now, if you know me at all, you might find that last bit a little funny. While I have watched a lot of basketball in my life, I am no good at it. (As long as you exclude the time that my much more athletic and basketball talented siblings and I played around the world in the driveway, AND I WON! IT WAS AWESOME! *side note, it was like 5 years ago) I am hoping that since I might actually be taller than a 5,6 or 7 year old and hopefully have a little more skill, maybe I will fool them into thinking I was in the WNBA!
One thing I know I won't be kidding about?
At the end of the season I promise that every kid on my team will understand what it feels like to be unconditionally loved with the love of Christ. I promise that they will have been individually, purposefully, and lovingly asked about considering to let God be the King of their Heart.
Whether they score every time down the court OR they can't hit the broad side of a barn.
I will love them.
Whether they can dribble with both hands OR they can't dribble to save their precious little life.
I will love them.
Whether they guard their opponent well on defense OR offense (I saw it once, cutest thing ever).
I will love them.
I am sure I will have some Upward stories to share with you over the next few months. Will you join me right now in praying for this league. What an incredible opportunity the volunteers in this program to show Christ.
We thank you for ministries like Upward. They challenge us to reach others. I know God that you are just as, if not more, excited about this upcoming season of Upward. After all you already know the outcome. God today we just pray that you would be with all the volunteers in this league. That they would be in a close relationship with you and in tune to your voice; that they are open to the opportunities given to them to reach people for you. God we thank you for the athletes and their families. Some coming from home churches, relationships with you: may they be blessed. Some coming from really tough places, where it seems to them that you are no where to be found. I know you are there with them God. May they too be blessed. I am amazed that you have picked me to help them see you. Move me out of the way, forgive my sins, give me your grace, mercy and love. Let me be your hands, feet, words and heart. I want to show others the redemption that they can find in you. Pour your perfect love into my imperfect heart. All the glory be unto you, my God. Bless us, Love us, Reveal yourself to us. Amen