This is the tension I live in these days. This is my view. It was startling when he was old enough and tall enough to sit in the front passenger seat beside me. And then when his voice seemed to change overnight. But this is catch-your-breath, oh-when-did-he-get-old-enough, hold-me-Jesus, kind of a place.
Where did my spunky, smiley-faced, strawberry blond headed boy go? The spunk is still there and the strawberry blond has turned into a wonderful shade of auburn. The smile still makes its way out even amidst the teenage-ness.
This is the tension where I sit these days.
Thinking of how nice it will be, when the coach decides practice should go an hour later than he told parents and I sit waiting thinking of all I could have accomplished, and he can drive himself home, but knowing I’ll miss those afternoon conversations. How he laughs when telling me something goofy one of his friends did or how he made a great play in practice.
Terrified that he will be on the road, without one of us in the passenger seat telling him to slow down or not turn so sharp or a thousand other instructions, while thinking how nice it will be not to have to deal with morning school traffic or dropping everything to take him to the batting cages or something he and his friends planned at the last minute because he is not a planner. God made me a planner. Then he gave me a child who is not and laughed.
So yes this is the tension in which I sit these days. With him in my usual place as we move from one of his activities to the next.” And while some days I have to catch my breath from getting him one place to the next I try to stop myself from complaining. In eight short months he will be driving on his own.
Yes, this is where I sit these days. It’s one of those tensions you realize it’s best to embrace because you know you don’t want to miss it.
I think God sits up in heaven laughing at us sometimes. Especially when it comes to us and our children.
I mean God gave us this amazingly talented kid. Seriously. He has skills when it comes to sketching and drawing. I draw stick figures fairly well. So while I may not have amazing artistic talent if you know me you know it’s not inconceivable that my child is artistic in some way. It was very obvious even from toddlerhood he was artistic.
So we’re moving along through his childhood and while parenting is never easy, parenting the artistic child part made sense to me.
We never pushed him to play sports. I always thought that should be up to him. He did go play golf with his daddy, and did several kids golf clinics & some tennis lessons. A few days in the summer or one night a week. Easy peasy.
But spend 5 nights a week at the ball park? No thanks. I’m a firm believer in not over scheduling a child and just letting them be…well…a child.
And then a funny thing happened. He hit junior high and decided he wanted to play more sports. More team sports.
So we started with golf in 7th grade. No problem. Drop him off at the course after school. Pick him up at dark. Play a couple of tournaments in the spring. Great coach we really like. I’m good with this.
Then the next year he decides he wants to play basketball too. Umm…well. Okay. It’s not too bad. It’s indoors. Coach who believes in being punctual with ending practice. There is a fair consistency to the schedule. My brain that needs advance notice so I can plan is good with this. Games are almost always on the same nights each week. I think I can handle this.
The next year he decides to run cross country. No problem. The coach was one of his math teachers and she has been one of his favorite teachers. Plus she’s a mom of boys. There are only 4 or 5 meets. Run your heart out kiddo. Run like the wind.
Then our second year of basketball under our belt. I’m not earning sports mom of the year but I’m not getting a big fat F in it either. I’d give myself a solid B.
And the kiddo is a decent athlete and basketball player. He keeps at it and improves every week.
But then, my friends, God decided he needed some comedic relief from this dismal world of ours. I’ve never been accused being funny. Trust me. But God is obviously finding great humor in what is about to happen.
The kiddo decides he wants to play baseball.
A game that not two years ago he said was the most boring game ever.
A game that is played outdoors.
A game whose high school season begins in February. Do you know how cold it can get in February? Yes I know. I live in the south, but we still get our fair share of cold winters down here. And have I mentioned how cold natured I am? I mean I get cold in the shade in the summer.
I was absolutely clueless what all he would need for baseball. Sure I knew a bat and a glove and cleats. (Now they call them spikes. Growing up my softball playing sister had cleats. She didn’t even know what spikes were so I didn’t feel too bad about not knowing that one.)
I had to ask another mom. Thankfully I like his cross county coach also and knew I could ask her.
Do you know how much paraphernalia you need for baseball? Practice pants and shirts and socks. Unless you want to wash clothes every night then sure they can practice in their game clothes!
Let’s not forget a helmet and a bag and a belt and batting gloves and compression shorts and some crazy padded thing to wear on the wrist.
I was in over my head people. Way way over my head. Like deep end of the pool exhausted after treading water for way too long. (Have I ever mentioned I’m not a good swimmer.) My sister’s child was supposed to play ball. Mine was supposed to be perfectly content painting and drawing and playing the piano and reading.
You know. Like me.
Yeah. That’s God up in heaven laughing at me. Go ahead. You can laugh too. It’s okay. I won’t get upset.
Turns out most practices never end at the time the parents are told. (The basketball coach spoiled me.) Every day’s practice schedule may be different and it may change at the very last moment. And have I mentioned they played in the rain? And the kid ended up with pneumonia? And do you know how hard it is to get red dirt stains out of those pants?
There is no consistent game schedule either. And turns out not all coach’s are good at planning or communicating.
The planner side of my personality struggled people. Almost went over the edge kind of struggle.
Jesus come quickly.
But some things you just do for your child no matter the inconvenience to your need for advance planning and respect of ending on time.
My awesome kiddo thrives in a group. Teenagers can be negative creatures, but in a team setting he becomes an encourager. He’s a team player never grasping for all the glory, but doing what’s best for the team not himself. There were times he was the first base coach during the games and I loved hearing him cheer on the players batting. Even though he had never played before and missed a couple of weeks of the season due to sickness and a family emergency, he still improved. I’m so proud of how he keeps trying and doesn’t give up.
The season is over now and he’s still picking up his glove and ball to play catch with his daddy and wanting to improve. I’m thankful for time to rest and a normal art lesson schedule for him again, but I know he will keep on with baseball, practicing and improving until the season begins again next year.
Don’t turn your back. Don’t look away. Don’t blink. – from Doctor Who
The enemy would like nothing more than for us to turn our backs for a moment, to look away for a time or to blink, when it comes to our faith. I don’t meant turning our backs away from our faith. It could mean simply becoming comfortable. Forgetting to pray or spend time in worship. Even a situation that moves us away from our normal routine can cause us to blink and before we know it the enemy begins to plant doubts.
I’ve experienced this. Especially when it comes to situations that arise that keep me from a normal routine. I would doubt many people are immune to this either.
I have learned what I need to do to find my focus again. What I need to do to keep from blinking.
Shift Your Perspective
We always have a choice in how we look at a situation. Oh it’s not always easy to change our perspective. I totally get it, but it is often vital that we do. Vital to our spiritual, mental and physical health. We can look at an experience and allow it to turn our hearts bitter or we can choose to look at it through a different set of lenses. Lenses that can give us peace and life.
Just do a search for articles about the effects of gratitude and you will find overwhelming studies that show being thankful can change your entire mindset.
I had to take a couple of packages to the post office recently. Let’s be honest. Going to the post office is not one of the most enjoyable errands in life. The line is always far too long and we’re in a hurry plus there is always that one worker who is just grumpy. I know God is not worried about how frustrated I get when the line at the post office is ridiculously long. I mean children are starving in Africa, but it does not keep me from asking him when I’m on my way to make it a short line. So when I get to the post office there aren’t too many cars there. Then I get inside and I barely have to wait five seconds for an available worker. That alone makes it worthy of thanks, but the normally grumpy worker was in such a pleasant mood also! It gets better, too. A kind older gentleman walking from the PO boxes stops to open the door for me as I am leaving. I say thank you and then look back to see he wasn’t even following me out! He just stopped to open the door for me before he went inside to the postal workers! As I’m looking back I also notice the sun is beginning to break through the clouds. Clouds we can’t seem to be rid of this winter.
If I had not taken a deep breath and placed my focus away from my task for the day I would have walked right past each of these incidents without giving thanks.
Personally, I need to record these gratitudes. Maybe it’s how my brain works; like being able to remember names and information better when I put pen to paper whether digitally or traditionally. But putting the things for which I am grateful in writing works the gratitude deeper into my spirit. If I look at every experience through a day and count even small aspects of the day as gifts, as little graces from God, my heart is much less likely to turn away.
I am task driven. I love seeing something crossed off a list. I feel like I’ve accomplished something in my day if I have a list and can check them off.
But there is a downside to being task oriented. One I have to consciously make an effort to overcome. I don’t pay attention. I don’t notice the little things I should see. I miss things I should count as gifts. I miss the mother with young children in the grocery store who simply need a small word of encouragement or simply just a smile. If I get so focused on crossing off my to-do list I won’t notice the opportunities God wants to use me so He can bless others.
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9 NASB)
Don’t turn your back. Don’t look away. Don’t blink. – The Doctor
Hello again. It’s been awhile since I’ve written here on the blog. Honestly as I write this I can’t even remember when I really wrote last. I need to go back and read my last post. A year of change will do that to your mind I think.
How can we be in 2015? (I actually started this post as an end of 2014 post, but the time got away from me to finish it.)
In some ways 2014 was a year that seemed to crawl along. And yet it also whizzed past.
I guess that’s how they all are I suppose. But this one especially.
I’m still not sure I have found a word for 2015 yet. Usually a word has found me by now. There is one that is there, but I’m not sure it’s the word. At least not yet. Maybe this year will be different and the word will develop over time.
But my mind drifts back to my word for 2014. Nuach. Rest.
As with any of the past words that have found me this one was hard.
It’s hard to rest in His process when you are waiting.
Did I pass the year with my one word with flying colors? Maybe. There were moments of frustration and exhaustion. Then there were others of peace and rest. Even in those frustrating moments I knew I could still rest in His plan.
As November arrived, we were unpacking in our new home. Blessed beyond what we could have ever imagined. Still it blows my mind how God answered every prayer and more. Of course life changes are filled with nervousness, but how can you be nervous when you can see God’s hand over every part? Just so very thankful.
So hello 2015. I’m looking forward to what you hold. Because as sure as I know anything I know there is extraordinary in the everyday ordinary if we just look, and I know God will do more than we can possibly imagine.