Zach and Julie Ertz don’t get a lot of time to spend with each other. As professional athletes — Zach a tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles, Julie a midfielder for the Chicago Red Stars and U.S. women’s national soccer team — their work schedules have kept them apart more than they’d like in their first three years of marriage.
But with the coronavirus outbreak putting a halt to all sports, Zach and Julie are spending more time together these days — and it turns out they really enjoy one another.
“It’s been a blessing for us in a way to just enjoy each other’s time with no stress or anxiety that there’s going to be an end date to this time,” Zach said Wednesday on the latest Huddle Up chat. “What we’ve learned about it is that we are compatible with one another and that we truly do love each other. So it’s been fun.”
The Ertzes were joined on the chat by Zach’s teammate, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, as well as host Benjamin Watson. The discussion was the latest in a weekly series from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Sports Spectrum to provide inspiration to coaches and athletes, as well as an inside look into the lives of Christ-following pros during this unprecedented time.
"Making the most of this time is key. You have more time to dive into the Word. It's living and active, and it’s going to always communicate something to you. God is going to teach and reveal something to you." @cj_wentz #FCAvirtual #FCA100 pic.twitter.com/PhVz7bU9Oy
— FCA News (@fcanews) April 15, 2020
The group discussed how they’re able to train and maintain workouts while in isolation, how they’re able to still connect with teammates during this time, and what they’ve been learning in their time alone with the Lord.
Wentz, whose wife Maddie is due with their first child any day now, said he’s been trying to make the most of this down time by diving more into the Word. He recently finished the book of Acts, in which the Apostle Paul shows intentionality and urgency in spreading the Gospel. Wentz said he’s feeling the same.
“Different things just continually jump out at me,” Wentz said. “I see the things I highlighted (in my Bible) when I was 18 and just what that meant to me then. It just challenges me. It’s why the Word is living and active, and why the Bible says it’s living and active. It’s always going to communicate something to you, and God’s going to use different pieces of the Word to communicate and kind of wake you up a little bit.
“So I would just challenge [you]. Some kids are younger, some kids are older, but just get into the Word. God’s going to teach you, He’s going to show you, He’s going to reveal you something every time you get into it.”
For Julie, who’s in a prayer group and text groups with both her NWSL and U.S. teams, she’s been spending more time watching and listening to sermons or podcasts. She says she’s the type of person who needs to hear something over and over for it to sink in, so she’s also spending more time reading the Bible.
“In this time especially, Zach challenges me a lot to make sure that I’m in the Word and understanding and growing in that aspect,” she said. “Because when I’m full, I’m able to be a better teammate. When I’m overflowing, I can pour into others’ lives, where I realize I become selfish if things aren’t going well or I’m not in the Word or I’m not filling myself up. I think this is a perfect time time I’m able to — or anyone’s able to — go into the Word and make sure that you’re full and you can outpour into your friends and teammates as well.”
Zach talked about his walk with his faith and how former teammates poured into him and gave him Godly examples to follow. He now tries to be that teammate to others. And as he’s been spending more time than usual at home and with his wife, he’s grown even more grateful for God’s love for His followers.
“During all the craziness that is going on, it’s really allowed me to take a step back and say, ‘Man, all of this stuff could be taken away from us really at any day, [things] that we have no control over.’ But the one thing that can really never be taken away from us is Jesus and His love for us. And I think that’s been really on my heart during this whole coronavirus is just God’s love for us and how constant He truly is,” he said.
Watson closed the chat by presenting the Gospel message, encouraging those watching to repent and put their faith in Christ if they have not done so already.
These Huddle Up gatherings will continue on Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m. ET, and can be seen on FCA’s YouTube channel.
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— Slater, Hasselbeck, Marvin join Huddle Up to discuss identity, Scripture
— Benjamin Watson hosts pro athletes in first virtual Huddle Up with FCA, PAO
— MAGAZINE: Julie Ertz leads U.S. women’s national team with power of love
— Banged-up Eagles tight end Zach Ertz after playoff loss: ‘My God is a healer’
— NEW PODCAST: Eagles QB Carson Wentz and Wife Maddie