It's funny how we have dreams for our life, and then God shows up and does something completely different, but something so much better.
I was born on February 2, 1976. My childhood was not the normal one. My father was a major league baseball player—Jim Nettles. My uncle, Graig Nettles, was also a major league baseball player. They both achieved some notoriety.
As a baseball family, we traveled a lot, moved a lot, and had weird hours. We met lots of people, met famous people, met the media, and saw a side of the world that few get to see. My mother, Carol, was always the trooper. She was the glue. She taught us to be flexible and demonstrated that with her willingness to pick up and follow my dad to the next destination. It was a fun life and different life.
However, because of this background and seeing the good and bad side of baseball and baseball players, I had no desire to marry a major league baseball player. Instead, I thought I would marry a "normal" guy, have a house, yard, kids, backyard and take family vacations. Little did I know....
Despite the travel, my parents still managed to keep us localized for school in Tacoma, Washington. My brother Ryan and I managed to be faithful at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Tacoma. I attended Wilson High School and played volleyball.
When I was 14, I was going through our church's confirmation class. When I was doing my confirmation class homework, one of my friends found me doing that work, and she told me bluntly, "You know you don't have to do that." Her statement really caused me to think. I realized that I didn't have to do the homework, so I began asking myself, "Why am I doing this work?" For the first time, I had to ask myself whether this was my faith or just my parent's faith.
Not long after, our pastor took our class to look out at the ocean. Her remarks stick with me to this day. We were told to look at the water and to question what makes the waves. Some wisely replied that the wind is what makes the waves. "But how do you that the wind exists—you cannot see it?" The answer was of course that we know the wind exists because we see its impact.
That was my moment of faith. I realized that Christ was real and that he was real in my life, that He was my savior.
From there, I graduated from high school and attended Pacific Lutheran University. I continued to play volleyball. While I was at PLU, I met a guy named Mike Sweeney, who was still working at getting his baseball career off the ground. I liked him, but he was soon gone—off to that baseball world, a world which I had dismissed. I graduated and became a flight attendant. For four years, I got to live the life—travel, eating out, fun... But after about three years, I began to realize something was missing. I realized I'd drifted from my faith. In the Summer of 2001, I rededicated my life to Christ and became a better student of God's Word. I also made another important commitment—to wait and pray for a godly man.
In July 2001, my family and I were invited to attend to 2001 All Star Game. Once again, I met up with Mike Sweeney. From the moment that I saw him, I knew that he and I were supposed to be together. Mike told me later that he knew from that moment as well. Six months later we were engaged, and on November 9, 2002, we were married.
Since we've been married, God has blessed us with two children, Michael and McKara. We've also learned some important lessons together:
- We've learned to put the other person first.
- We've learned to be flexible—you have to be with a baseball schedule.
- We've learned to speak the other person's love language—read The Five Love Languages (order from our bookstore).
- (Mike) I'm learning to love Shara in an Ephesians 5 way—as Christ loved the church.
- (Mike) I'm learning to be a servant leader.
- (Mike) I'm learning to love Shara unconditionally and to make her feel like the most important woman in the world.
- (Mike) I'm learning to put the toilet seat down.
- fly fishing in the summertime
- quality time with the family
- coaching little league baseball
- family vacations
- traveling the country in the RV
- Knowing Christ and sharing the journey with others....