When Morgan Brown has one of those days when nothing seems to be going right, she remembers an important truth she’s learned in her faith journey.
“The Lord is never going to put you in a situation you can’t handle,” said Brown, assistant women’s soccer coach at the University of West Alabama. “He is always going to provide.”
That’s true in small ways, like a bonus check from a previous job that came just in time to buy a new tire for her car. And it’s true in big ways — like acquiring her coaching job at UWA.
After graduating from the University of North Alabama in 2018, Brown was working at a fast food restaurant and trying to figure out her next move.
She received a text from Hollie Loud, former assistant women’s soccer coach at both West Alabama and North Alabama. Loud told Brown about Graeme Orr, head women’s soccer coach at West Alabama, and a position on the UWA coaching staff.
Brown interviewed for the job and got it. “Within a week, my whole life changed,” she said.
But the real change happened a few years earlier when Brown accepted Christ during her sophomore year at UNA.
The Pleasant Hill, Ohio, native did not grow up attending church regularly, but when teammates invited her to Lifesong Church in Sheffield, she went. At a New Year’s conference in Tennessee, she got her first Bible and put her mathematical brain to work trying to understand biblical truths.
She began to spend Sunday nights at Lifesong, singing and worshipping Jesus, and one Sunday night, she committed her life to Christ.
“I prayed, ‘God, I don’t believe in You. I don’t know what else to do.’ At that time, I remember a guy coming up to say, ‘I feel called to pray over you.’ Three or four girls on the team prayed over me for understanding and what a weight came off my shoulders — freedom,” Brown said.
She began to learn more about following Christ and living on mission. She went to outreach beach projects in Florida the following two summers, learning all she could the first year and helping others learn the second year. She followed those experiences with a summer 2018 missions trip to Antigua, where she helped teach soccer camps and led Bible study.
The joy she saw in the Antiguan Christians moved her, Brown said.
“They had old Bibles, taped together,” she said. “But you could tell they loved the Lord and sang their hearts out in worship and thanked Him. That was very humbling.”
Since becoming a Christian, Brown has learned to grant grace to others, especially those who feel Christians are judging them.
“That is not our responsibility,” she said.
Mollie Clay, a former West Alabama athletic trainer who now works in New Orleans, helped disciple Brown in her personal faith, as well as in practicing her faith on the job as a coach of young players.
“As with any job, (in coaching) there are many opportunities to indulge frustration and impatience rather than slow down and choose to be compassionate,” Clay said. “I attempted to help her take a step back from whatever issue we were facing and try to act with grace and wisdom rather than following whatever emotion was strongest at the time.”
Patience and compassion
Clay said she has watched Brown grow in patience and compassion, and serve sacrificially as a coach.
“Morgan has this innate diligence and toughness. She can power through anything. I believe that’s a gift,” Clay said.
“But seeing Morgan show vulnerability and admit she needs help has truly been the biggest area of growth I’ve seen in her.”
When Brown became a coach, she thought she would change players’ lives, but she learned that’s not the case.
“I’ve learned more from them than they have ever learned from me,” she said.
Brown noted she has intentional conversations and shows patience with her players, trying to guide them toward positive decisions.
But she knows she is still young in her faith and has a lot of growing to do. She has read Christian authors like C.S. Lewis and even took a class, “Introduction to New Testament History,” her senior year at UNA to learn more about the history and context of Scripture.
Brown also reads the Bible her mother gave her and continues to learn, especially Scripture she desires to memorize.
“I look at older people and see what they have done, hear their testimony, just their whole life,” she said. “One day I will be there and I can share that with people like grandkids, family members and friends.”