Shared Courage…

Wednesday Wisdom 🙂

Inspiration this week comes from the Gospel of Matthew 18: 20

“For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”

The 2019 swim team season kicked off last week. The first morning practice with the high school swimmers began with an air temperature of 38 degrees, and we were very glad for a heated pool! It was 55 degrees by the time the younger swimmers practiced in the middle of the day, but the air still carried a bit of a bite to it…The weather might not think it is summer, but we have more than 40 young athletes that are excited to be in the water!

This year’s theme for the season is courage. In particular our quote to live by is, “Courageous faith calls us to finish strong!”. We spent our weekly off-season winter practices talking about what it takes to be a good teammate. That provides a great lead-up to a summer of courageous fellowship 🙂

Just as being an athlete takes courage, so does life.

  • It takes courage to be grateful regardless of your circumstance.
  • It takes courage to persevere with steadfast grace.
  • It takes courage to continue to put in the work even when you can’t see a victorious outcome.
  • It takes courage to stand firm and cling to your faith.

My hope is that our team will build meaningful habits to help us be courageous while simultaneously building fitness and strength in the water. I opened up the first practice asking the swimmers what it means to have courage. A ten year old boy on the team immediately responded, “courage is keeping going and working hard even when you are scared.” A second swimmer followed that statement with, “when we have courage we don’t settle even when it gets hard.” By the end of the week, we all decided that it was easier to be courageous and to make courageous choices when we came together to support each other as a team.

I believe that God calls us to be all in – To live with heartfelt passion in order to share his love with others. The athletic team is an awesome place to learn this. It provides a fun and engaging way to introduce many of the challenges that we experience throughout life. When done correctly, athletics teach the value of hard work and unselfish fellowship. At the Cozad Swim Team, we start each practice with a character lesson, a bible verse, and a daily devotional. I do this because I believe that the first thing that my swimmers need to learn is that God is always with them. He is the ultimate source of courage and he uses each one of us to help build a fellowship of strength. That is the purpose of TEAM.

For where two or three gather, God is among them.

I think that all of my swimmers know how important my faith is to me. I hope that it provides a light to them as they travel the journey of building a meaningful relationship with our Lord. What they might not know is that sharing faith with them brings me courage. My swimmers inspire me to live with grace – to be brave – to have a grateful attitude – and to work with purpose each and every day.

2019 has been a year of challenge for me. During the various times of trial, I have thought of my athletes and how I would counsel them. This keeps me centered on my faith and reminds me of the importance of practicing what I preach. In about a month, I will undergo a third surgery on my leg. As I fight the fear of another invasive procedure, the reality that today I am unable to walk without pain, and the knowledge that the future is unknown, I draw on the shared courage that we build together in fellowship on the pool deck.

I pray that I will walk this path with grace so that my swimmers can see Jesus carry me with the courageous faith that I need to finish strong 🙂


Filed under General, Wednesday Wisdom

8 responses to “Shared Courage…

  1. Becky

    Anne, thank you for that inspiration. I am facing hip replacement July 15. I pray I will be able to walk without pain. God will carry both of us to the destination He has in mind.

    • Thank you for your kind words and support, Becky. I will pray for you as you go through the summer. I think that we learn things from all of our experiences — even the painful ones that involve suffering. I heard something on the radio the other day that really stuck with me — “May God help me to focus with gratefulness on the things that I have, instead of becoming centered on the things that I don’t.” An attitude of gratefulness helps me to get through the hard days of pain.

      Take care of yourself. Sending support and prayers to you.


  2. Cindy

    Anne please rely on your faith, family and friends to lift you up through this time. We are all here for you and the lives you touch through your work is magnificent! You are so important to so many! Persevere and know that you are loved! Prayers for you through this time especially♥️

    • Thank you, Cindy — so much for your message of support and your prayers. The swimmers bless my summer days and I love the time that we spend together.

      The sun always comes out after the clouds and rain — with the weather and with life. Faith gives us hope 🙂


  3. Kim

    You got this Anne!! Hope you all have a great swim season.

  4. Roger Hunt

    Anne, thanks for your lesson today. You are a special blessing to your community, especially the kids!!

    I’ve had several other friends that have had to undergo surgeries to remove calcification after knee surgeries. It’s worked for them as I pray that it works for you. I know that your faith and God’s grace will sustain you. Sending prayers and love. 🙏❤

    • Thank you, Roger. I always appreciate your prayers and support! I will have several things done during surgery – the metal plate and screws will come out in addition to cleaning out the ankle area and tendons.

      I am packing my faith to live in His grace 🙂 I hope that all is well in Iowa. You’ll have to plan another trip to NE sometime soon!


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