The ball came rolling to my feet as I gazed smiling into her crying eyes. She had played so hard today and had given her very best. The sweat soaked her tousled hair and grass covered her worn cleats. “We lost again,” Mama. I don’t think we are as good as the other teams.”

I sat with listening eyes.

“Do you think we will ever win?” she said.

“I don’t know baby, but I don’t come to watch you win. I love to watch you play. You run, kick, and block with all your might. You are passionate, strong, brave, and kind. You press through the pain. Each game I see you growing and becoming a better player as you learn more and more. I couldn’t be more proud of you now, even if you had won, beautiful girl! I’m proud of you no matter what and I love you always,” I said.

She stared back into my sincere admiration and found comfort in our sweaty hug. “Thanks Mama,” she smiled. “I love you too. I guess I am pretty good.”

I realized as the words rolled out of my heart on that soccer field that being proud of my kids isn’t about them winning a game. It’s about me being their biggest fan in life. I had a Mom and Dad that showed up and were my fans. That is what I want for my kids…to be present in their everyday wins and losses and to smile and cry with them.

In this moment, I couldn’t help but be reminded of our Heavenly Father’s unfailing love for us. Despite the pain, disappointments, wins, and cheers, He remains the same.

Present always.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

I’m thankful for a Heavenly Father who accepts me for who I am, and doesn’t always expect me to win. He watches me in love and grace as I grow, gazing for a smile from my Father, sometimes through the tears, as I learn to play in the wins and losses of this game of life. It’s in those moments I hear His whisper, “Nothing will separate you from my love. Win or lose, I love you always.”