Focal verse

“Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).


On summer evenings, with the sun setting and my hands shielding my eyes, our family comes to the softball field. My daughter has a team member pitching to her for the first time, rather than a machine or a coach. Game after game, I watch her wait for the right pitch. She tracks whether the balls are too high or too low. She jumps back sometimes to avoid a wild pitch. Other times she’ll swing for pitches that are out of her reach. Then there are the ones that come straight down the middle and that she allows past her without a swing.

Through it all she stands tall and ready.

During softball games I think about other things in our lives that require patience or stamina. They might be a challenging relationship or a season of parenting that feels never-ending (looking at you, potty training). Maybe your summer days aren’t as you planned due to unforeseen expenses or a new medical diagnosis that’s taking time and resources. Maybe you’ve been waiting for the right time to deepen your faith life or to be more intentional with your children about Bible stories. Life presents no shortage of opportunities to give up.

Yet God never gives up on us. When we’re crying out for help or stuck wondering how to move forward, God is present, encouraging us and gently guiding us forward. Scripture reminds us that ours is a God of compassion and mercy, a God who sits with us in uncertainty and pain, a God whose love meets us wherever we are.

My daughter has yet to hit a ball this season, but she stays in the game, forever cheering for her team. Every time she’s at bat or in the outfield, she comes with a smile on her face, ready to try again. If this is the lesson she takes from the game, regardless of whether she hits the ball or not, it’ll be a win in my book.


  • Fill your home with the attributes of God. Grab your crayons, markers and paint and write on a sheet of paper, “God is ______.” Fill in the blank (good, loving, kind, merciful, love). Hang this artwork in your home to remind your family of God’s persistent presence in your lives.
  • Attend a sports game as a family. Maybe you’ll cheer for your children’s classmates or watch a professional game. While you’re there, give thanks for teamwork, play and the gift of working together.

Prayer practice 

During your prayers together this summer, get outside and move around. Whether you’re in the car or at the pool, lift up quick prayers of thanks. If you’re driving and hear an ambulance, pray for healing. If you’re at the park, pray for the safety of the families you see. If you’re at a sporting event, pray for a spirit of fun and teamwork. If you’re chasing fireflies at night, say a prayer of thanks for God’s creation.

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, spouse of an ELCA pastor and co-author of The Beauty of Motherhood: Grace-Filled Devotions for the Early Years. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, Mo. Her website is

Read more about: