Being Refined by the Tough Moments

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My girls learn a lot of life lessons from sports. That's a good thing because we spend a lot of time at either practice or games for them.

Recently, my older daughter learned that there's value in walking through a tough time. My daughter had a rotten year at soccer last year. She played for a team where the coach didn't think she was good enough to play much. She spent a lot of games sitting on the bench.

A switch to a new club and a new coach who sees the potential my daughter has as a soccer player and makes an effort to understand her as person, has changed her outlook on the game and on life in general.

But Friday night, my daughter's new team played her old team. She had her eye on this game for months. This was the one game on the schedule she wanted to win. She wanted to prove her old coach wrong.

As the game neared, we did a lot of coaching at home. We reminded her that even though she felt like she had something to prove, she needed to remember that she still had friends on that team. She needed to remember that no matter what was said to her on the field, she answers to a higher authority. She needed to remember that win, lose or tie, her value was not wrapped up in the score of a soccer game. And she needed to remember that without passing through her old team she would never have landed in the place she's in now -- the perfect place for her.

Sometimes despite the hurt and the agony at the time, God is using the tough stuff to get us ready for something better. He's using the fire of the tough moments to refine us, so that we can shine like gold. Zechariah 13:9 says "I will refine them like silver and test them like gold." God is talking about the Israelites during their years of captivity, but it applies to us today as well.

There will be times when our kids walk through a tough time. There will be times they will be tested. While those moments aren't fun, and they aren't easy, they are important. Because each time our kids come out on the other side of one of those moments, they come out stronger. They come out with a deeper understanding of who God is and what He can do in their lives. They come out with a better sense of who they are and who they want to become.

Walking through the tough times isn't fun, but it is necessary to building our kids' character so they can become the person God intended for them to be. And when those tough moments come, our kids need us to be there by their sides coaching them through the moment.