Farnsworth Addresses FCA on the “Messiness” of Athletics and Life

February 01, 2016

By Melissa McCutchan

CIU Student Writer

Columbia International University Women’s Soccer Coach Kara Farnsworth admits to having a “messy” team. It has nothing to do with the appearance of the locker room after practice. She’s talking about athletics and life, and how God saw her and the Lady Rams through the first women’s soccer season in CIU history.

Farnsworth made the comments to dozens of high school soccer coaches at a January breakfast sponsored by a Columbia-area chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).

“The idea of the breakfast is to share the gospel, and to promote the mission of FCA, which is to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of athletes and coaches,” FCA staff member Charles Gee said.

Farnsworth encouraged the coaches to continually make themselves available to God and to allow Him to work in their weaknesses.

“We, from the outside, all look white and shiny clean because that’s what we want the world to see,” Farnsworth said.  She went on to list some of the successes of CIU’s inaugural women’s soccer season: a 7-7-1 record, receiving an at-large bid to the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) National Championship, and receiving a sportsmanship award for finishing the 2015 season without any red or yellow penalty cards.

However, for all of their successes, Farnsworth revealed that the season was full of pain and messiness, including injuries, family troubles, personal trauma, and more. However, in the pain, God still worked through them.

“[This team is] messy, and I looked at them, and thought, ‘How am I supposed to lead them when I’m messy too?’” Farnsworth said.  “Every day, we were in survival mode. Can we get through today? Can we get through a practice without anyone crying?”

Farnsworth encouraged her fellow coaches to bring painful life situations to God, and to allow Him to work through their weaknesses.

“We aren’t asked to be successful,” she said.  “We’re asked to show up. We’re asked to bring our strengths, weaknesses, and limitations, and step out of the way to let God do the rest.”

The message resonated with the coaches, including FCA staff member Twig Gray.

“I’m messy,” he admitted. “Life is messy. That’s the Christian life — living victoriously through brokenness.”

The women’s soccer team recently began training for their second season, and Farnsworth is approaching it the confidence that God is beside her. 

“I am the messiest of them all, and I am coaching 25 messy individuals,” Farnsworth said. “God took our inexperience, He took our youthfulness, and He intervened.”