Editor’s note: To help Christian sportspeople navigate these uncertain times, we will be publishing a series of posts focused on what it looks like to “Run The Race Well” in a time of coronavirus and quarantine. We will be getting contributions from a variety of perspectives: theologians, philosophers, athletes, coaches, mental health professionals, seminary students, and more. This post comes from Cecelia Simon, a speaker, writer, and a collegiate coach’s wife. While of course both men and women are coaches, Cecelia ministers within a self-described “coach’s wife” community. We offer this as a thoughtful perspective from one coach’s wife, not a normative claim for all (to examine a different experience and viewpoint from someone who has been a coach’s wife, you could consider pastor and theologian Marcia Mount Shoop).
Today I finally hit the send button in response to a fellow coach’s wife’s email that lingered in my inbox for awhile. The name in the recipient box didn’t ring a bell, but the subject line— “Helping My Husband Through This Season (or lack there of)”—compelled me to read on. So, I did. This coach’s wife lamented her husband’s college baseball season coming to an abrupt end due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She expressed her husband’s challenges to know what to do and how to feel with the loss of his coaching season in this strange new normal. She went on to ask for any Bible study suggestions that I could recommend in hopes that an online Bible study would possibly help her husband through these uncertain times.
It took four days to reply. I know. Don’t judge me.
Finally, I was ready to respond, but not in the way many would think. I explained why a Bible study wasn’t what I believed they primarily needed.
So what was my reasoning for this? And what did I suggest?
I know every coaching family is different, so this isn’t one-size-fits-all advice. But if you are a coach’s wife, perhaps it will help you and your husband navigate these difficult times.
Get to Know The Man You Love
As wives, we sometimes have the propensity to think we know what our husbands want. Most times those wants are the very things we desire for ourselves. A Bible study is never a bad idea, but may be the right idea at the wrong time. The question we must ask ourselves is, have I asked my husband what he wants in this season of his life? How can I respect his needs and serve him during these unforeseen circumstances? The desire for a coach’s wife to encourage her coach by studying Scripture won’t be rejected by God, but may be rejected by her husband if the timing is off. We must learn how to minister to our husbands through communication and godly encouragement, also.
Allowing our husbands to wrestle with what God has allowed rather than attempting to fix their present circumstance could be for our husband’s good and God’s glory. Communication (which is something we don’t get much during football and recruiting season) helps us learn to be fully present with one another’s questions. Being still gives us access to one another’s answers.
A.W. Tozer had wisdom for our moment. “When I understand that everything happening to me is to make me more Christlike,” he wrote, “it resolves a great deal of anxiety.” A Bible study can impart this sort of lesson, but so can simply communicating with our husbands. Speaking such truth not only serves our husbands but anchors our souls as well.
The Gift of Grace
If communication is key to loving our spouses well in seasons of crisis, grace should be our guide to the opened door. Of course, as coaches’ wives, we know that our husbands’ profession can give them a sense of entitlement—depending on which conference he is employed by—and perhaps even feelings of prideful ambition. But the flip-side is true, too. When their normal has been interrupted or they’re in between jobs, shame can rear its ugly head. Feelings of rejection and self-doubt bombard not only their minds, but ours too.
I’m so glad the Apostle Paul reminds us that we were not saved by our works (or workplace), but by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). During these tough times, Christ reminds us that our husbands’ work was never meant to define them. Their adoption into the body of Christ is sealed not because of what they do, but because of what Christ has done. Titles must not take precedence over the Trinity. We were created in the image and likeness of Christ to glorify Him whether with a prominent job or with a career that has been put on hold.
Remind yourself and your husband of this truth. In these stable and unstable seasons, our redemption is the only promise we are certain of.
In the book of Ephesians, Paul writes to the Church at Ephesus. These believers were inspiring: a community of Christ-followers full of hope and awaiting the inheritance the Holy Spirit guaranteed.
How did the Apostle exhort them to continue in their walk with Christ? Repeatedly throughout the letter, Paul turns to prayer.
As coaches’ wives it is imperative that we also pray for our husbands to continue in their walk and “good works” with Christ—in season and out of season, in the face of success or in the face of a pandemic. Prayer shapes our days and days shape our lives. It brings our wounded husbands’ souls to a place where they can be healed. Prayer is a safe place for struggles, uncertainty, and doubt. It is the middle ground between fear and trust.
It is easy to have conflicted thoughts about prayer, viewing it as important, but unproductive. We might struggle, too, with the realization that we don’t always know what our spouses need. But God does. And He wants us to know that He cares about every little detail concerning His kids and His kingdom. Christ has a much bigger picture in mind than we can see. My pastor puts it this way: “Jesus longs for us to ask for help and he responds with the fullness of who He is.”
A Bible study may or may not be the primary response for you and your husband’s needs while you faithfully love him during this pandemic. But you can be certain that time in prayer with God, concerning your husband, is never time wasted. As Paul writes in Ephesians, may the “God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory…give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him”—to help you and help your husband during the chaos of this coronavirus and quarantine.
About the author: Cecelia Simon is a speaker, writer, and a collegiate coach’s wife. She received her first master’s degree in professional counseling from Dallas Baptist University. Next month, in May 2020, she will graduate from Phoenix Seminary with her second master’s degree in ministry from Phoenix Seminary. Alongside her husband John, Cecelia raises two sons and they reside currently in Memphis, TN. Learn more about Cecelia at www.ceceliasimon.com. Follow her on social media:
Instagram: @coacheswivesunite and @ceceliasimon
Facebook: Cecelia Simon