Wednesday, July 29, 2015

First and Goal, with Holly Michael and Jake Byrne

"Maybe God wants me to have diabetes for a greater purpose."

My son spoke those words to me more than ten years ago after getting diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

I admired Jake for his faith and for his determination in not allowing diabetes to block him from his goals…and as a fourteen-year-old he had big ones, like getting to college on a football scholarship.

Jake reached that goal. He played football for the Wisconsin Badgers as a tight end for four years. While in college, he looked toward the next goal—the NFL—a long shot for a diabetic kid struggling to manage the disease along with football and college life.

With a lot of hard work and the grace of God, Jake accomplished that goal too, playing for the New Orleans Saints, the Houston Texans, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the San Diego Chargers.



FirsandGoal-Jake Byrne

Today, he has reached a new goal. Jake is an author! And this proud mom couldn’t be prouder.

Though I played a role in ghostwriting First and Goal, the words are all Jake’s and the Lord was definitely with us as we undertook this very fun and inspiring endeavor to share in devotional form Jake’s determination to never give up, no matter the obstacles.

Published by Harvest House, and released on August 1, First and Goal is already coming out as a bestseller in Teen & Young Adult Football.

A great gift for any teenager pushing toward goals, the devotional has also been read and reviewed from kids to grandmothers and has received rave reviews.


51P3l-0MnSL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Book Blurb:

Jake Byrne dreamed of playing professional football. He had the size, the talent, the drive...but at age 14, he found out he also had type 1 diabetes.

Still, Jake was determined to reach his goal. And God was determined to guide and empower him all along the way.

Jake's journey to the NFL is the backdrop for this collection of inspiring devotions based on nearly a hundred football terms. Jake takes you to the weight room, practice field, and even across the goal line. You'll feel as if you're lined up next to him, facing a very large defender you're about to take down. He also includes Scripture and then ties up each story in a way that feels real and encouraging. You'll discover...

• what to do when God calls an audible in your life

• how to respond when God puts you on special teams

• why prayer is never an incomplete pass

These quick daily readings will help you press through your own difficulties and experience God's dream for you.


PhotoBio for Jake: Jake Byrne grew up in Rogers, Arkansas. A type 1 diabetic since the age of fourteen, he has since been proactive combating the disease and mentoring diabetic youth. He played football for the University of Wisconsin as a tight end, and went on to compete in the NFL. Originally an undrafted free agent who signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2012, he has also been a Houston Texan, Kansas City Chief, and San Diego Charger. Jake lives in Dallas with his wife, Emma, and two four-legged kids: Duke the Dogo Argentino and Yeti the Great Dane.

  • Jake blogs at
  • He can be reached through the following social media:
  • Facebook Page (Type Won):
  • Twitter: @sugarfreejb82
  • Instagram: Jakebyrne81
  • Email:


Bio for Holly Michael: Holly Michael has enjoyed a writing career as a journalist, features writer, and a regular ghostwriter for a Guideposts magazine before authoring novels and nonfiction books. Married to Anglican Bishop, Leo Michael, Holly has three grown children; daughter Betsy and football-playing sons—Jake (NFL) and Nick (University of Louisiana-Lafayette). Kansas City, Missouri is home and she blogs at

Contact her at or on Facebook @ or Twitter: @HollyMichael

IMG_1177First and Goal: What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up

Holly Michael joins her NFL player son, Jake Byrne, in this football-themed devotional published by Harvest House August 1, 2015. First and Goal can be purchased at most book stores and online book sellers.

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  1. Thanks for hosting us. Thanks, Peg!

  2. Thank you, Holly and Jake, for sharing yourselves with my readers today. May God richly bless you both.