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  • Sunday Stories – Sam’s Life Test

    While I am excited to have a great friend of mine, Sam Jacobs, do a guest post today, it does feel like I am “guest post cheating” on Jeff. But when Sam sent this post to me in an unsolicited email this morning, I felt like it was something I needed to share. I love men that are comfortable sharing their stories.

    Finding where we belong, our purpose, what God wants for us, is difficult sometimes. Pain and injustice stand in our way and knock us off the right path. But comfort and joy can be found when we understand that God made us how we are for a reason and those traits fit with the path He wants us on. Repeat after me: He didn’t make a mistake on any of us. Please enjoy Sam’s story…

    Before I get started, I have to say the Jenny Meyerson is the best! There I said it, and we all know it’s true! It is her ability to reflect on life and truly get to the heart of the issue that has inspired me to take a moment and share my challenges, anxieties, fears, desires, and heart for God as I take on the next stage in my life. So here we go.

    My Life Test is on Monday. And the Question that keeps running through my head is, “Am I ready?”

    I was born into a family of amazing people. We were often referred to as the Cleavers. I had two wonderful parents and two over achieving siblings who demonstrated how to eat excellence morning, noon and night. And up through high school, I did my best to follow suit. I was student body president, captain of the football team, and graduated number 4 in my class. Looking back now, I feel that God was grooming me for leadership.

    But when I went to college, I made a conscious decision to not be a leader anymore. I stayed in this little safe cocoon of mediocrity for a couple of years. In that time, my life was simple. I went to school, worked and coached football. I managed to meet the lovely lady who would one day become my wife. While life wasn’t bad, I was just not being who God made me to be.

    And then during my junior year in college my 52 year old mom was diagnosed with stage-4 pancreatic cancer. In the world of cancer that’s about as bad as it gets. This devastating situation forced me to reexamine what I thought, what I believed, and even who I was. After she passed away following a courageous 10-month battle, I was a mess. It was by the grace of God and the love and encouragement of my wife that got me through.
     

     
    During the 4 years following her death, I struggled to find true purpose in my life. My depression ran me out of the teaching profession and into real estate, and then I spent time as a stay-at-home dad. Other than coaching and running my house, I still refrained from taking any leadership positions.

    Because I wouldn’t willingly step into God’s plan, God forced His plan on me. His first step was to kill the economy. That’s right, it is all my fault! The dead economy led to my wife being laid off so I had to head back into the high school classroom to teach and earn a living. Being back in the classroom, though tiring and as thankless as I remembered, energized me. It gave me a platform to be a leader and speak into the lives of high school kids again. My energy and excitement on the football field started increasing as well. By the end of the year, I was getting pushed into other leadership roles on campus and I loved leading.

     

     

    I decided that the next logical step was to find a head coaching job as soon as possible. Well, God didn’t see it that way. While I spent the next two years looking for an opportunity, God used that time to help me rediscover His path for my life. He continued to stretch and grow me. He taught me about patience, humility, love, and feelings. Feelings had been in a compartment locked away deep in my body since my mom passed away. Slowly, I began to feel again! A lot! I’ve been the macho man my whole life, and now I cry over all kinds of little stupid things. It’s AWESOME!

    It’s funny the difference between when we think we are ready and when God thinks we are ready. Finally, in the early part of this year, God opened the door for me with a head coaching job. It is a huge opportunity God has placed before me and I understand the tremendous influence and responsibility He has just given me.

    So what exactly happens on Monday you ask? Monday is my first football practice as head coach. This is when I get to see if all the preparation, all the training, all the lessons, all the praying, all the life experiences, have really prepared me for the mission God has planned for me. This is the first time that I will be entrusted with the minds and hearts of 100 young men. My primary goal isn’t to get them to win games. No, my primary goal is to send them out of my football program better men than when they walked in. The implications of that are so much scarier than teaching them just football. I have to get 100 kids to believe that I have their best interest in mind all the time. I have to get them to believe that they were made for a purpose that is greater than they could ever imagine.

    So am I ready for the test? The honest answer is no. You see, I’m embarking on a mission that is so much bigger than me! I won’t be able to do it on my strength alone. I won’t have all the answers, and I’m going to screw some stuff up. But I know that when I step into the role God puts in front of me, He will show His power in my weakness! He will show His strength when I’m tired! He will show His wisdom when I’m dumb! He has laid out this amazing and scary plan before me. I’m just excited and humbled to lead by following Him!

    Sam

    I hope you enjoyed this like I did. I am thankful to Sam for being vulnerable and for moving forward despite doubts and fears. I only hope that my children have a coach in high school like Sam.

    Sam, I am rooting for you.

    Blessings sweet friends – Jenny

    If you are new to my site, welcome! Like what you see? I would love for you follow along on this crazy adventure of mine by subscribing to my blog and joining me on facebook, twitter, and pinterest.


    17 Comments

    Comments

    Julia

    “When God is for us, what can stand against us?”

    Be blessed as you speak mightily into the boys hat God brings to you, Sam. Thanks for being faithful with this testimony.

    29 April 2012 at 3:14 am Reply
    Sheree

    Sam. You made me cry:) There is courage in bravery and there is trust in God. You can’t lose. Go get’em

    29 April 2012 at 9:36 am Reply
    Becky

    What a great post! Thanks for sharing Sam’s story, Jenny! Sam – best wishes as you take on this job (really want to say “tackle” this job…football…). Thank you for allowing Jenny to share your story and help to encourage us!

    29 April 2012 at 10:55 am Reply
    Julie

    Sam, thanks for sharing your story and your vulnerableness. Good luck coaching it is an honor many men forget to take greatly. These boy will become men based on your teaching and example. You can do it!

    Jenny, thanks for sharing!
    Julie

    29 April 2012 at 3:48 pm Reply
    Marilyn Johnson

    What a great post Jenny! Please let Sam know he is amazing. So many children out there need coaches like him who see his job as so much more than the number of wins.( and I am a former athlete and very competitive person). Truly wonderful!

    30 April 2012 at 5:29 am Reply
    Patty

    Thanks so much for this post Jenny. You have no idea how much I needed this today.

    Sam, I have no doubt that you will do an amazing job! Your attitude is so refreshing. What a lucky group of young men. Best of luck!

    30 April 2012 at 10:57 am Reply
      Jenny
      Jenny

      Patty – I was truly just as blessed. I needed this reminder as well.

      30 April 2012 at 10:10 pm Reply
    Sam

    Thank you all for the kind words!!! Today is the Test! It is very nerve racking as a head football coach to appear weak. But like I said, it is that weakness and willingness to let God work through me that gives me confidence that I’m the exact person God wants to lead these boys! Go Rockets!!!

    30 April 2012 at 11:42 am Reply
    Chris

    Sam! Way to go! Have an amazing first day as big dog coach Sam. God will use you in this position to change kids and it will be awesome. This is a big accomplishment and you are deserving of it!

    30 April 2012 at 11:50 am Reply
    Sam

    OK just a little update for those who are interested. 23 kids between my JV and Varsity Team showed up today. FYI, that’s horrible!!!! But it’s a start! I have a challenge before me, and I’m excited to see God move!

    30 April 2012 at 6:27 pm Reply
      Jenny
      Jenny

      Thanks again for sharing your story Sam. The response has been overwhelming and I’m so excited for you. God is already moving and I’m so excited to attend your first game!

      30 April 2012 at 10:13 pm Reply
    Victor

    I was fortunate to have Sam as a coach and teacher throughout my high school days. First, an amazing individual and even more as a teacher of life! I am so glad I got the chance to read this. I praise Mr. Jacobs for all the obstacles he has endured and credit him for some of the accomplishments in my life! These are truly words of wisdom! I congratulate you Sam on following the path that god has set for you, as I know you will conquer your goals and continue to build exceptional men!

    30 April 2012 at 6:53 pm Reply
      Jenny
      Jenny

      Victor, Thank you for leaving a comment. My family just loves Sam and has been such a good friend to my husband.

      I pray that my 10 year old son will say the same thing about a teacher and/or coach as a young man. So touching. Thank you.

      30 April 2012 at 10:17 pm Reply
    Vern

    I thanks God everyday that you are my son!
    You are more awesome everyday! Your mom is cheering loader than anyone, I hear now, Go Rockets.
    You have never asked for a lighter load but,
    A Stronger Back! Go get them Coach!
    Love You,
    Pop’s

    1 May 2012 at 6:33 am Reply
    KatieK.

    So how did it go Sam? Was it as scary as our minds conspire us to believe it to be? I’m sure you are able to stand with your team and lead them honestly through wins and losses. That’s leadership.

    1 May 2012 at 9:53 am Reply
    Molly

    Sam,
    I think your new role is awesome and God will use you. Our pastor (of a 2000+ member church) has often shared that he came to know God thru a personal relationship because of his high school football coach. WOW! You will have a positive impact on those boys. Too bad all coaches don’t have the same desire as you!
    I just read your post where only a few showed up. That’s okay- you have to start somewhere. The positive influence you will have on these boys will have a dominoe effect and others will want to take part also!
    As you continue to seek God, He will bless you and the work of your hands!

    1 May 2012 at 5:30 pm Reply
    Jessica B

    What a great story and post!

    2 May 2012 at 8:09 am Reply

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