How One NFL Wife Stewards the Platform
Serah Maragos reflects on being a Christian family in the NFL
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Serah Maragos is the wife of Philadelphia Eagles safety and special teams ace, Chris Maragos. Since his rookie season in 2010, Chris and Serah have lived in three cities on both coasts, welcomed two sons into the world, and involved themselves in multiple ministries. Like all NFL families, they’ve had both highs and lows as they’ve attempted to navigate life in the league. We asked her, “How do you steward the platform that comes with being an NFL family? How do you negotiate both the privileges and the challenges that come with being a family on that constantly changing stage?”
This is a great topic that really resonates with my heart. I feel like it may not be asked enough to athletes and their families. It seems that so often many people want to hear about the lifestyle, the moves, the different cities, the stadiums, but never seem to ask what is it like to steward the great yet weighty gift that comes with any type of platform.
The very first year of Chris’ career it became very clear to us the great privilege it was that Chris was able to play the game he has loved his entire life and was getting paid to do it. We were living in San Francisco as a newly married couple and felt like we were living in a dream. From day one we understood the great gift it was to be in the NFL and right away began to pray about how we were going to steward it.
To be honest, Chris and I weren’t very prepared to step into this NFL world just coming out of college. At the time, we really had no idea what was ahead and how to even prepare for it, but the Lord has so lovingly guided, protected and given us the exact support that we have needed to walk this journey.
We have always attacked our tasks as a team.
Chris’ rookie year we felt we needed to start a football camp back in Chris’ hometown. He not only shared his knowledge but also involved teammates and friends from around the league. He used it as a platform to share what Jesus had done in his life with the youth of Racine. Doing those camps was a special time because we were really able to be up close and personal with the city that Chris has such a heart for.
I did all the behind the scenes work, so Chris was able to coach with ease. I really enjoy handling the finer details, which has really been a great asset to the journey we have been on. If I am able to help Chris gather the pieces, then he is able to be used in the way He has been gifted and we are able to work as a force when we’re together.
An obvious way to steward the platform of football was for Chris to go around to youth groups, churches, high schools and football teams and be able to share his story which always involves pointing people toward the Lord. I was able to go along with Chris for a while but at that time we also started having kids. So a huge part of me being able to support the mission we’re on together has been raising our boys—that has been my number one focus. We truly believe that they are such a gift and need to be stewarded well.
QUESTIONS FOR SERAH
How do you steward the platform that comes with being an NFL family? How do you negotiate both the privileges and the challenges that come with being a family on that constantly changing stage?
SEEING GOD’S HAND IN THE DETAILS
Each time we’ve changed teams and moved, we’ve seen how the Lord orchestrated pieces and people to put Chris right where He wanted our family to be. In every city and every team, the Lord has shown us clearly why we were there.
We were only in San Francisco for a short time but while we were there we got involved in a ministry that helped get men and women off the streets and disciple them in the ways of Jesus. It was a special time for Chris and I because we were able to serve in a way that we had never been able to before. Chris would go and do workouts with the men and I would go care and love on the babies as their mothers were attending school.
When we moved to Seattle, God surrounded us with an incredible community of believers. Our church there became our family and we really felt that it was a season of life that the Lord used to fill our hearts up. We learned what it looked like to live in community and how to serve each other. We truly believe that those years we spent in Seattle were to refresh our hearts to be able to go out on mission to the next city we were sent to. What we learned from Seattle carried us to Philadelphia.
PAYING ATTENTION TO OUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS
What a privilege: that the Lord chose us to be apart of His kingdom work in an arena that is currently highly favored by the world. What comes along with the platform is understanding the gifts the Lord has entrusted to us and then making sure we use them. It has been a process to learn what our gifts are and how to apply them.
I have a gift of compassion and brokenness for people who are hurting. Chris has been gifted in speaking and using his story to elevate Jesus. We have been able to use our gifting hand-in-hand and put them to work in the cities we have lived in. We have not always done everything perfect and have received a lot of grace but we have always looked as this platform as a precious gift, not to be wasted.
A lesson we learned from interacting with others was to serve wherever your heart breaks. If you have been given a heart for something specific then it is probably quite possible that is a gift from the Lord.
I have always had a heart for the unborn. Throughout my life the Lord has made it very clear that I should be apart of the pro-life movement. In Philadelphia, I have had the great privilege to be apart of Alpha Care Pregnancy Center and also bringing a Save the Storks bus to Philly. If that is the only reason I was sent to Philly, then they would be years well spent.
SERVE WHEREVER YOUR HEART BREAKS
NAVIGATING THE CHALLENGES
As for challenges, together as a family we have walked this journey through plenty of trying times and we have been grateful for what we have learned. Everyone from the outside looking in can tend to think that this ride is a breeze and there is no hardship that comes along with it, but there is quite a lot of uncertainty for families in the NFL.
Chris’ first year in the NFL, he was cut two times. We had our first miscarriage while he was playing in London. We were freshly married, living across the country from family and just trying to figure out how we were to steward this gift yet make it through the trials together.
Chris’ second year of the NFL, he missed the birth of our first son, Micah. Then I moved across the country with Micah being two weeks old to a state we had never been to before. Having my first born, with no family, living in a foreign place and trying to support my husband was a time where I really need to press into Jesus. Because quite frankly for us wives it can be very lonely. We are just trying to be faithful and supportive yet trying to find our role in it all too.
At times the world is looking to you to be incredibly joyful with having the great gift of playing in the League, but not necessarily seeing how hard it can be at times. For those of us that are wives and mothers, we are just trying our very best to keep our family together, when it seems our world is ever-changing and moving.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A LOCAL CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY
One of the greatest lessons I have learned throughout the years is the importance of having a church home. As I shared before, when we got to Seattle we got involved in a church right away. We started going to a community group that changed our lives. We made friends who became family and they became the support to us and our family as we were on this journey—good times and bad.
They satisfied a huge need—accountability and prayer. It is crucial to have other believers around you being able to help and pray for you in times of vulnerability. If you try to walk this road alone, it becomes lonely and unhealthy.
We are so grateful for the path the Lord paved for us. There has been many highs and lows but all along the way, the Lord has never left our side. We are constantly praying that God has us exactly where He wants us to be. We would rather be out of our comfort zone and in the Lord’s will, then be comfortable and stagnant. We pray that we always use the platform of football for the glory of the Lord and no one else.
See several other pieces from Serah at The Increase Women.
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