Daily Devotionals

Thankful for Gifts of Life and Love

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Scripture: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


Life moves fast. Things and people come and go in our lives. Thanksgiving week is a welcome week to slow down and truly give both thought and thanks for family, faith and the blessings of life. 


As a coach, I am guilty of packing so much of my being into a game that lasts two or three hours. Emotionally, coaches are so invested. We spend countless hours during the week planning, preparing, coaching our kids, and trying to figure out how to make that gameday a success. This past Friday didn’t end so well. The AC Flora Falcons lost to Greenville by one point. Both of our losses this season were, in fact, by a point. It’s gut wrenching. You spend days second-guessing every decision, play call, and plan you had in place. It eats at you and sadly can consume you to no end. The first few days back to school after a season-ending loss are tough as you try and be as positive as you can around your kids so that the future is that of hope. 


After the equipment take-up and an off-season speech about the glory that 2022 could bring with hard work and dedication, I went home and decided to go on a run to clear my head. Not long into my run, I passed two neighbors who had recently suffered a great tragedy in their family. Jennifer and Hunter Helmly were walking their dog, and they seemed happy and full of life. It was such a wakeup call to me from God. 


Only a few weeks ago, Michael Helmly was taken very suddenly to his heavenly home, and it left heartache for their family– his wife Jennifer, son Hunter, and daughter Lucy Gray. They are a wonderful family with great kids whom I have the chance to get to know and encourage at Flora through school, athletics, and FCA. Seeing them that day reminded me of all the things I learned about life through the testimony of Michael’s walk with the Lord. At his funeral, countless stories were told of a rock solid husband, a loving and intentional father, and an unshakable friend to so many in our community. A man who, after finding Jesus, began to devote his life to others and wore his faith and joy on his sleeve everyday, through his actions and music. His love and testimony will live on in this world through his love, music he created, his family, and his friends. I’d be willing to bet Michael helped make a lot of people better husbands, fathers, and friends that day! 


When we are down or disappointed, it is so easy to lose sight of what is really important in life. I believe with all my heart that coaching and winning football games is important because you teach kids how to be successful. What is more important, however, is the impact we leave on others and the way we love and support those most precious to us. I couldn’t possibly let myself continue to have a bad day over a lost football game, if Jennifer and Hunter were out and being thankful for the gift of life and love. 


Hug your loved ones, live life with kindness, and give thanks for the things that are true blessings. I pray that the things my seniors experienced in our program will help shape their lives for years to come. So no matter what it is that God has called you to do, make an impact on others for HIM, and simply be thankful that we get to!


PRAYER: Lord God, thank you for the gift of life. Even though we never know when we are going to be taken home, you have given us the ability to live each day like it’s our last. Lord, help us to be thankful and remember that being a blessing unto others is a way we can show thanks to you for all of the ways in which you bless us. Amen. 


Submitted by Dustin Curtis