Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

I have been a die-hard Husker football fan my entire life. I was 9 years old in 1995 and we were on top of the football world. We had won a National Championship in 1994 and we were set up to do it again.

I knew most of the players’ names. I even decorated my Valentine’s bag with my favorite players’ numbers. My brother and I blasted Queen’s “We Are the Champions” for weeks. I thought Husker football players were the ultimate.

Until one day, when I sat eating my breakfast and overheard on the news that Lawrence Phillips, one of our all-star running backs, had dragged a girl down some stairs by her hair and smashed her head into a mailbox.

I cried because my innocent, nine-year-old mind could not make sense of this. How could anyone do something like that? And a Husker player? Aren’t they better than that? They were role models to pretty much the entire youth of Husker nation in the 90s. Didn’t they know we were looking up to them? It was the first time in my life that I realized people are not always what they seem.

Sure, I was incredibly naive. I was nine. One of my role models had let me down. I learned an important lesson that day. Football stars, celebrities, famous musicians, politicians, leaders . . . they are all just people. And people make mistakes. Some people deliberately make bad choices because they have a complete lack of respect for others.

Yesterday, it was announced Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer is suspended for three games because he knew one of his coaches was beating his wife and he didn’t do enough to handle the situation. Plus, he lied about it. The University of Maryland is in the midst of a scandal over the actions of a strength coach that led to the death of a player. We just keep seeing this kind of stuff happen. Baylor. Penn State. I could go on.

My son, here’s what I want you to learn from all of these football scandals.

  1. People are not worthy of your worship. There are plenty of respectable athletes and celebrities out there. But remember this: they are people. All people are sinners. If you look to people, you will be disappointed. There was only one perfect man. His name is Jesus. It’s OK to be a fan! Just be careful who you choose to be your role models.
  2. People are worthy of second chances and forgiveness. Someone you admire, famous or not, is going to let you down. Jesus said, “Forgive as you have been forgiven.”
  3. Just because it’s shiny, doesn’t mean it’s good. The world of sports is flashy. In pursuit of wins, records, money, and notoriety, many athletes and coaches take shortcuts when it comes to integrity. In all of these scandals, innocent people have gotten hurt because of misplaced priorities. The pursuit of the shiny things won in their hearts over love and concern for people. Choose the right thing. Even when it’s hard. Even when it means you might lose something you really want. People are always more important than everything else that glitters.
  4. You are never above the law. The popular kid on the playground, the sports star that rules the halls, the Heisman trophy winner, the winningest coach in the world . . . all of us are accountable for our actions. All of us.
  5. No one is ever beneath you. Jesus cared for the “least of these”. Don’t forget that. You will never reach a level of success or popularity that makes you more important than anyone else. No one ever becomes something great without the help of other people and every good thing is a gift from God. Don’t forget your helpers. Give credit to them when it is due. And remember that without Christ, you are nothing. Act like you understand that.
  6. Be a leader among men, but a follower of Christ. On the playground, in the classroom, on the field or the court, on stage, at your job, and with your family, be someone who people can look to and follow, trusting that you’re leading them well. If you are looking for your standards, Jesus set them. When people look at you, they should see a reflection of Him.
  7. Leaders are held to a higher standard. Leading people is a responsibility that you shouldn’t take lightly. If people are looking to you to know the way to go, you don’t want to lead them astray. No one’s perfect. Neither are you. Just remember that the people at the top have the farthest to fall. So make leadership with integrity your goal.
  8. Admit your mistakes, tell the truth immediately, a lie is a lie is a lie. You will make mistakes. Be humble enough to admit them. Immediately. Tell the whole truth without spinning the details to make yourself look better. The initial embarrassment is always less painful than the humiliating fall-out after the discovery of an elaborate cover-up scheme. The truth always gets found out. Avoid the drama and bring the truth to light from the very beginning. People will respect that.
  9. Real men do not take advantage of women or children. God created men to be leaders of households and protectors of women and children. Treat women with honor and respect. Protect children. Speak out when you see abuse. Be a man.
  10. There is more to life than sports. Or music. Or academics. Or jobs. In the end, none of it matters. None of it saves. The Bible says that you can have it all, but if you don’t have love, you have nothing. God is love. Your faith in Him and the love that pours out of you because you know Him are the only things that matter in this life. Keep an eternal perspective and it will help you keep your priorities straight.


So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Shannon Lenz

I am a wife to my best friend, a mama to a sweet boy and baby girl, and a dog mom. My mission is to write words that encourage, comfort, inspire, and draw my readers closer to the Lord. When I'm not writing or chasing after my kids, I'm singing, reading, or cheering on the Huskers. You can read more from me at http://shannonlenz.com/.

Being a Hands-on Dad Matters

In: Kids, Living
Dad playing with little girl on floor

I am a hands-on dad. I take pride in spending time with my kids. Last week I took my toddler to the park. He’s two and has recently outgrown peek-a-boo, but nothing gets him laughing like him seeing me pop into the slide to scare him as he goes down. He grew to like this so much that he actually would not go down the slide unless he saw me in his range of vision going down. When it’s time to walk in the parking lot he knows to hold my hand, and he grabs my hand instinctively when he needs help...

Keep Reading

5 Kids in the Bible Who Will Inspire Yours

In: Faith, Kids
Little girl reading from Bible

Gathering my kids for morning Bible study has become our family’s cornerstone, a time not just for spiritual growth but for real, hearty conversations about life, courage, and making a difference. It’s not perfect, but it’s ours. My oldest, who’s 11, is at that age where he’s just beginning to understand the weight of his actions and decisions. He’s eager, yet unsure, about his ability to influence his world. It’s a big deal for him, and frankly, for me too. I want him to know, deeply know, that his choices matter, that he can be a force for good, just...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Love is the Best Medicine

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child lying on couch under blankets, color photo

When my kids are sick, I watch them sleep and see every age they have ever been at once. The sleepless nights with a fussy toddler, the too-hot cheeks of a baby against my own skin, the clean-up duty with my husband at 3 a.m., every restless moment floods my thoughts. I can almost feel the rocking—so much rocking—and hear myself singing the same lullaby until my voice became nothing but a whisper. I can still smell the pink antibiotics in a tiny syringe. Although my babies are now six and nine years old, the minute that fever spikes, they...

Keep Reading

Right Now I’m a Mom Who’s Not Ready to Let Go

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter hugging, color photo

We’re doing it. We’re applying, touring, and submitting pre-school applications. It feels a lot like my college application days, and there’s this image in my mind of how fast that day will come with my sweet girl once she enters the school doors. It’s a bizarre place to be because if I’m honest, I know it’s time to let her go, but my heart is screaming, “I’m not ready yet!” She’s four now though. Four years have flown by, and I don’t know how it happened. She can put her own clothes on and take herself to the bathroom. She...

Keep Reading

Each Child You Raise is Unique

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three little boys under a blanket, black-and-white photo

The hardest part about raising children? Well, there’s a lot, but to me, one major thing is that they are all completely different than one another. Nothing is the same. Like anything. Ever. Your first comes and you basically grow up with them, you learn through your mistakes as well as your triumphs. They go to all the parties with you, restaurants, sporting events, traveling—they just fit into your life. You learn the dos and don’ts, but your life doesn’t change as much as you thought. You start to think Wow! This was easy, let’s have another. RELATED: Isn’t Parenting...

Keep Reading

Our Kids Need Us as Much as We Need Them

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy sitting on bench with dog nearby, color photo

During a moment of sadness last week, my lively and joyful toddler voluntarily sat with me on the couch, holding hands and snuggling for a good hour. This brought comfort and happiness to the situation. At that moment, I realized sometimes our kids need us, sometimes we need them, and sometimes we need each other at the same time. Kids need us. From the moment they enter the world, infants express their needs through tiny (or loud) cries. Toddlers need lots of cuddling as their brains try to comprehend black, white, and all the colors of the expanding world around...

Keep Reading

Your Kids Don’t Need More Things, They Need More You

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young girl smiling together at home

He reached for my hand and then looked up. His sweet smile and lingering gaze flooded my weary heart with much-needed peace. “Thank you for taking me to the library, Mommy! It’s like we’re on a date! I like it when it’s just the two of us.” We entered the library, hand in hand, and headed toward the LEGO table. As I began gathering books nearby, I was surprised to feel my son’s arms around me. He gave me a quick squeeze and a kiss with an “I love you, Mommy” before returning to his LEGO—three separate times. My typically...

Keep Reading

This Time In the Passenger Seat is Precious

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen
Teen driver with parent in passenger seat

When you’re parenting preteens and teens, it sometimes feels like you are an unpaid Uber driver. It can be a thankless job. During busy seasons, I spend 80 percent of my evenings driving, parking, dropping off, picking up, sitting in traffic, running errands, waiting in drive-thru lines. I say things like buckle your seat belt, turn that music down a little bit, take your trash inside, stop yelling—we are in the car, keep your hands to yourself, don’t make me turn this car around, get your feet off the back of the seat, this car is not a trash can,...

Keep Reading

So God Made My Daughter a Wrestler

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young female wrestler wearing mouth guard and wrestling singlet

God made my girl a wrestler. Gosh, those are words I would never have thought I would say or be so insanely proud to share with you. But I am. I know with 100 percent certainty and overwhelming pride that God made my girl a wrestler. But it’s been a journey. Probably one that started in the spring of 2010 when I was pregnant with my first baby and having the 20-week anatomy ultrasound. I remember hearing the word “girl” and squealing. I was over the moon excited—all I could think about were hair bows and cute outfits. And so...

Keep Reading

A Big Family Can Mean Big Feelings

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Family with many kids holding hands on beach

I’m a mother of six. Some are biological, and some are adopted. I homeschool most of them. I’m a “trauma momma” with my own mental health struggles. My husband and I together are raising children who have their own mental illnesses and special needs. Not all of them, but many of them. I battle thoughts of anxiety and OCD daily. I exercise, eat decently, take meds and supplements, yet I still have to go to battle. The new year has started slow and steady. Our younger kids who are going to public school are doing great in their classes and...

Keep Reading