What are the greatest gifts? What are the best gifts you can leave behind?
My friend Gina died recently. A brain tumor took her life in a matter of months. For years, I’d been a long admirer of Gina and her husband Goran. Goran played professional soccer, and in his post career days, he and Gina started a ministry called Victory Through Jesus Sports Ministry.
Gina worked tirelessly alongside Goran and their two sons, Tanner and Trae, in this ministry. Every summer, they hosted soccer camp through the late spring to the blazing hot summer. Through it all, there was Gina—encouraging, praying, sharing her faith, and still having the energy to feed the troops.
I was privileged to get to know them a little better. My sons got to play soccer on the same high school team with Tanner and Trae. And for two seasons, I got to serve as an assistant coach with Goran on that team.
But when the news of the cancer came, it was a shock. Sudden. Heartbreaking. Yet Gina approached it with the same unswerving faith.
In the end, the cancer had its way.
At Gina’s memorial service, her son, Tanner, made his way to the stage, guitar in hand and a song in mind—”By Your Side” by Tenth Avenue North. Before he sang, Tanner offered this tribute. “My mom always encouraged me to sing. I sing for her. I sing because of her.”
And there it was—the greatest gift. The ongoing gift. A mother encouraging her son to sing, giving voice to the music inside of him. That was Gina’s gift. That ability to encourage and bring to life what people didn’t know they had inside of them.
The greatest gifts are not money.
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Published April 4, 2022
Topics: Family Legacy