What Happens in the Tomb Won’t Stay in the Tomb

I haven’t written for a very long time, and I’m about to share why. On my social media pages, I’ve been doing a story week, leading up to the Greatest Story Ever Told, which is that of Jesus and His Resurrection. Today, though, I am telling a bit of our story…

Fifteen years ago, when Mike had been retired from playing football for ten years (and home and driving me nearly bonkers!!), I knew the Lord said he was supposed to be coaching. I tried to get it off my mind because he didn’t feel that’s what he was supposed to do, and frankly had no desire to coach.  He started a leadership training business, but I couldn’t shake the coaching thing. One night, in absolute frustration, I put the kids to bed and went straight to prayer to settle the matter with God. And His response was so real and literally shook me ~ He was, indeed, supposed to be coaching. My immediate response was ‘you’ll have to tell him, because we’ve argued about this for years.’ Mike was out of town and when he called I told him of my encounter, and he simply said, ‘OK.’ And when Mike says OK, he moves!! Within a few weeks, our house was on the market and he had a job with the Baltimore Ravens. Circumstances fell into place so smoothly, and in my naivete, I thought, “See? You obey God and everything runs nice and smooth!”

Eight years ago while in our last year at the 49ers, nothing was running nicely or smoothly. I watched some things take place that I knew couldn’t have been God’s plan, and was nearly shattered spiritually when the year ended with our getting fired. I understood that people are people, it can be a dirty business, you can’t really trust anybody, and all manner of cliches to simplify the explanation for what happened; but I struggled with the events of that year in the deepest parts of my soul for years.

The following seven years progressed from uncomfortable, to difficult, to low, to lower, to awful, to nearly unbearable financially. (Before we get judgy here, I want to remind you Mike played in the pre-big money era. I know there’s a perception that all NFL players make jillions, but that wasn’t the case.) And one of the primary reasons for our financial struggles was he had a very difficult time getting a job. Coaching. Which the Lord called us to.

Yet no matter how hard we tried for the last couple years, he couldn’t land any position on any team at any level.

To say I struggled with God during this time is an understatement. I couldn’t possibly fathom what we did ‘wrong’ to ‘deserve’ this. When I used the word naiveté earlier to describe my thought process when we landed our first job, it’s one of the first fundamental flaws of my faith God needed to help me with. Because when things began to get difficult, I could only surmise we had done something wrong. And if He would just tell us what it was, we’d fix it! We sought Him in prayer, met with people who loved us and counseled us and all said, ‘I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong;  I believe this is all part of the process. (Process was a word I began to loathe.)

Well this process went on far longer than I wanted, but I had to admit I was thankful for the growth I experienced in the midst of it. Looking back over those seven years, I could identify quite a bit of work He had done in me. But 2017 and the first two months of 2018 were the lowest of low for me. In my depths, I wasn’t even sure of God’s goodness anymore. I came face-to-face with the need to make a decision as to whether or not I’d trust Him completely ever again. That’s pretty low. But I did. I chose to trust Him regardless of how painful the process would be; regardless of what a call to coaching looked like; regardless of how long it would be before my skincare business goals and dreams were ever realized. I chose simple trust.

One of the balms for my wounded soul was to think about Jesus, and what He voluntarily did on this very weekend we celebrate His resurrection. On Friday, He willingly suffered and died. While in the tomb, when it looked like all hope was gone, His Spirit was very much alive and a lot went on, unbeknownst to the faithful mourners outside, and He emerged victorious over death. Wanna know what kept me going? That did. I had the slightest, barely-there spark left inside that thought ‘what if something really big is taking place inside of me?’ Like Jesus did. When His life circumstances looked like they beat Him, they couldn’t touch Him!

I wish I could say I’ve skipped merrily along and never looked back again since choosing to trust again, but I can’t. I can say, however, that I made a decision to never look back. And to never allow the circumstances of my life to be more real than my faith. I’ve allowed my spirit and soul the time to heal and absolutely feel stronger every day. That little barely-there spark has re-lit a flame in me.

At the risk of sounding all poofy and magic, I’ll share that this past week Mike accepted a job as the Head Football Coach of the Trinity Christian Academy a mere 7 minutes from our house! I can only imagine what God has up His sleeve for these young men – because what went on in the tomb of our life certainly won’t stay there!

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Comments

  1. Kym Zumbrink says:

    oh Kim…I’m so glad you wrote this…what hope and encouragement you provide for others…and such a gift you possess to be able to communicate your faith and your experience. This is truly amazing…it’s been a journey but what a journey…I feel it oten is not a pretty journey but without it we’d never have the depth of soul to carry on and do good work. Yay you…Yay Mike. Halleluja!

  2. Holly Virden says:

    I love this Kim. Thank you for being transparent. I have always been a Singletary fan. I will always be one. #gobears. Praying for His divine ‘sponsorship’ of Mikes new role and the impact professionally and spiritually he will make. ❤️ It’s a calling. You’re in the right place at the right time.

  3. Karen Martin says:

    I can relate! God often chooses to restore in periods of 7 years–the perfect number. I’ve also bounced around since 2010 when big campaigns ended. Had two really “bad dates” in ’17. Passed-over for a plumb role this week, I described my calendar to our daughter as “wide open like the tomb!” PTL we share the promise of RF Dream Team, but now I know you’ve been there despite NFL-celebrity status and can be a role model if I’m ever tempted to doubt our Lord’s goodness! Thank you! Praying favor for Mike as he accepts the TCA role! Happy Easter to the entire Singletary clan! Sic’em, Karen

  4. Jon Arnett Dunn says:

    Mike Singletary, your passion for coaching is unmatched. There’s none like you. Now it’s time to share what you are in other areas of life to other people that they may see the (gifted godly man) you are. Leave the NFL alone. If I were an NFL owner, I would hire you ON THE SPOT! to coach my favorite team: the Miami Dolphins. Mike, from what I have seen in your life through reading about your life history, you could be my coach any time, any place, any year. I love you brother.

  5. Kim says:

    Thank you for your kind words! Mike is coaching a great high school in Texas and will head up the Alliance League in Memphis this spring!

  6. Steve Hooper says:

    Kim, i went to Baylor the same time as Mike. I have joked for years that I had one class where i didn’t see the professor the entire semester (he was old school and believed in assigned seats) and I had the misfortune to sit behind Mike!! Actually, it was a blessing since I got to know him enough to understand the kind of guy he really was – which was so different than the beast we saw on the field. I enjoyed following Mike’s career throughout his years as a player and a coach. And always appreciated the intensity & integrity he brought to everything he did and of course his Christian witness. I was watching Baylor play today and was thinking about Mike and decided to try and find out what he’s been up to. Thanks to your post, I know now why i haven’t heard anything since he left SF. I am sad to hear the Lord has taken you thru this difficult time. I can both commiserate and rejoice with you since He has led us on a similar journey the last several years. We can appreciate the fear, doubt and uncertainty that comes with times like this when you struggle to make sense of what God is doing. While at the same time coming to the slow realization of how God is growing your faith and your love for Him. What a paradox…but what a blessing. These boys at TCA are some of the most fortunate in the state of Texas to have a coach like Mike Singletary. I will be praying that God will bless his time there and that you guys will keep growing in your walk with Jesus.

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