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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

Found Wanting: Amy Chaney, "I didn't want to be a coach's wife."

jenmichel@me.com

I am curating stories for a blog project called, “Found Wanting.” (If you’d like to submit a guest post, learn more here.) During Jesus’ earthly ministry, it was not uncommon for him to approach the sick and sin-sick with this question: “What do you want?” In John 5, he speaks with a man lying next to the healing waters of Bethesda, a man who has been an invalid for 38 years.

“When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be healed?’”

The man seizes an excuse. “I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up.”

Was it too much for this man to hope for healing?

What is too great a risk to invite the responsibility for walking again?

There can be fear in desire: fear that we will want what God will always refuse to give; fear that we will not want whatever God, in his sovereignty, chooses to give.

Ultimately, we are profoundly afraid of ceding into the hands of God our trust.

I’m grateful for those willing to share their stories of desire here. In my book, Teach Us to Want, I claim that:

“Desire takes shape in the particularities of our lives. We cannot excerpt desire from the anthology of our stories. Our desires say something about us – who we have been, who we are and who we are becoming. They tell a part of the story that God is telling through us, even the beautiful and complicated story of being human and becoming holy.”

Today Amy Chaney writes her story of desire.

* * * * *

I didn’t want to be a coach’s wife.

I didn’t want to sit on the sidelines watching someone else’s dream all come to fruition and mine get stocked away in a sealed up box long forgotten. I wanted to live overseas as a missionary but found myself in the land of sports, sports and more sports.

When my husband took a position as a high school football coach I pretended it would all be OK. Have you ever had one of those things you agree to in the “discussion” but when it actually plays out you can’t stop asking, “Why did I agree to this?” That was our first year of high school football. Spring training. Summer practices for 6 weeks. During the season it was a 7 day a week commitment: coaches meetings, practice everyday and games… long games; two in a row. Come on. Seriously?! “What did I agree to?”

I never really played sports. My brother and dad didn’t really play sports either. I was not used to the amount of time consumed by sports. I was drowning in responsibilities of keeping the house, the family (3 children at the time) and everything else all by myself while my husband gallivanted off to FOOTBALL. I became bitter and felt unloved, beaten out by a game centered around an odd shaped leather ball.

That first year was rough. The second year, a divine wind of change swept through my heart. I went to every game and watched my husband, really watched him. I saw the glow of a man who was created to coach. With the enthusiasm of a child walking for the first time, I saw the very best qualities of my husband coming out. He could critically think and scheme up creative plays. He could be an example of what a Godly man is and share his zeal for sports all at the same time. It was as natural as breathing to him. To top it off, the group of coaches he worked with were also men of integrity and honor.

What did my husband’s dream of being a coach have anything to do with my dreams? Although at first it seemed in complete competition with my own hopes and passions, it was not the case at all. Rallying behind my husband, cheering him on and supporting him in every way I could muster pushed my husband to be the best version of himself. Maybe I am not on the mission field yet but I am married to a man I admire and respect now more than ever. His response to my attitude change is simple, “I feel like there is nothing I can’t do when you support me.” I thought football would win my husband over and leave me stranded, alone and further away from my own pursuits. In reality football has brought us closer together, united and stronger as a couple more than I could have ever dreamed of.

I am a coach’s wife.

* * * * *

Amy Chaney

Amy Chaney, who has been writing since the fourth grade and currently just completed a one-year, handwritten letter-writing project; she also blogs at http://hearttohearten1by1.blogspot.com. She is a graduate of Wheaton College and resides in Batavia, Ill., with her husband and five children. She also works part time for Northwestern University.