When you are the youngest of 3 boys, you watch your big brothers with exuberant anticipation for the day you can stand in their shoes. When your older brothers play baseball, you can throw and catch before you can recite your ABC’s or write anything legible. You learn the rules of the game before you understand that life is a never-ending, always learning game where we win some, we lose some.
When you are the youngest, you spend years outfitting yourself in another’s uniform. You watch the big guys play. You learn from their errors. You study their batting stance, you understand to always be baseball ready.
As you watch the ones who go before you, you long for your day to play. You’ve spent years running the bases for sheer delight. You’ve tagged along to someone else’s practices, knowing one day your time will come, and when it does, you will be ready to play.
Last weekend, Andrew was ready. 8 hours we spent outside in the freezing cold, wrapped in blankets as we watched back to back baseball games for our 3 boys. Andrew’s game was last.
When his team took the field, I scanned the players, who all look alike in uniform. I got to the little boy on second base and saw an expression of sheer and utter joy, smile that kidnapped his face, and waving arms that wanted to be sure I didn’t miss him and his moment.
All the thoughts of my misery in the cold, a back ache that had me up all night the night before, fatigue that wanted to get home and warm up disappeared. My boy had found his place, the place he’s longed for for years, the place where he feels joy unlike other activities and moments in his life. I know this because a year ago he was playing catch with Steve in the yard. He stopped, grabbed his chest, and exclaimed, “Dad! Dad! I feel something in my heart! I think it’s joy!”
When we walk in our gifts, talents, and the desires He placed in us, we feel a deep sense of joy unlike at other moments of our lives.
The entire game presented moments that melted my heart. The moment they asked who wanted to be catcher, and his hand shot up. Watching him wobble to home plate, catching my eye with that smile that captivates my heart. I flashed back to his 2nd birthday when he asked for catcher’s gear. The toddler years watching him dress up, the catcher’s mask that sits displayed on his shelf now. The moment he hit the ball and ran with every ounce of speed in his body to slide into first base! He’s always wanted to slide and couldn’t resist the opportunity. The moment he smacked the ball into outfield. It was everything he’d dreamed of. He was ready. He’d spent years getting ready for the day the Lord said, “Go.”
Driving home from dropping his brother at practice Sunday afternoon, Andrew said, “Mom, it felt so gooood to hit that ball. When I hit the ball, I felt Christ in me.”
I turned to Jacob, sitting next to me in the car, “Did you hear that?”
His expression told me he knew exactly what Andrew meant.
“When we are walking in the gifts and talents He placed in us, that joy can only be described as Christ in us.” Whether the gifts and talents are “good” compared to the world doesn’t matter. It’s walking in the gifts and abilities He placed in us, matched with giving it all for Him.
But sometimes it seems our time hasn’t come yet. Sometimes we become inpatient waiting for that open door to use those gifts and talents in the way we want to use them. Sometimes we look at others around us and become discouraged when we don’t see our open doors, yet our hearts are filled with bursting desire. In the meantime, we prepare, we watch, we practice. God doesn’t waste an ounce of anything. Our waiting, our preparing, our practicing isn’t wasted time.
One of our all time favorite family movies is Facing the Giants. Please take 2 minutes to watch this inspirational clip. Such a beautiful reminder to bloom where He’s planted us, and that we are to walk through the doors opened for us. Only God opens and shuts doors.
When I started writing, I remember talking to a friend, expressing my impatience in my waiting. I said, “Maybe I should just stop.” My friend said, “Only God has the right to open and close doors. He hasn’t closed that door, so you shouldn’t either. He has opened doors for you, just not the one you wanted. Walk through the doors He has opened.”
In the waiting season, we prepare our fields. And when God moves, and we move with Him, we are ready to work the fields. The joy we experience through Him is unlike anything the world offers.
Along our way, we are inspired by those God puts in our path, those He places in our lives to encourage us to get ready. I reminded Jacob how in someone else’s journey, God uses us along the way as well.
“Jacob, God used you in Andrew’s season of waiting. In his time of anticipation and getting ready, you were there to teach him and encourage him.”
Smiling, he leaned back into the chair. A perspective he’d never considered. To be used by God in ways he’d never paid attention to.
God is in everything. Everything. One day I hope I can stop looking for the purpose in everything and be satisfied that it is all for His purposes, some I may never see or understand. And that is ok.
I can’t resist posting Andrew’s hit that he describes as feeling Christ in him. I hope I never forget the look of joy in his eyes. I hope I never forget that only God is our everlasting joy. Moments in our life offer us a sampling, a tiny serving of joy. A joy is coming unlike anything we will ever experience here on this earth. Isn’t God sweet to let us taste a little, itty-bitty, teensie-weensie nibble of joy here and now?
Andrew’s big hit- here’s the video. video clip
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