Dear Boys- That Championship Trophy Means Nothing and Everything



Dear Boys,

Take a stroll down baseball season memory lane for a minute. Recall the seasons of domination…and the seasons of defeat. Don’t forget the seasons that are hard to remember, the ones where you won a few and lost a few. The seasons that seem average are often anything but.

Which season stands out most to you? If you are honest, you are thinking of your glory season, of crushing teams, bulldozing your way to the championship. You tasted victory. You liked it and wanted more. It fed something inside you without you realizing it.

I want to think on those highly victorious seasons for a moment and ask that you view through an alternate lens momentarily. As a mom, I’ve watched each of you through these various seasons, and the thing I’ve walked away with is that your character is more developed and your heart is more refined and purified during the seasons with little to note externally. It’s a picture of life really.

In fact, if you are still being open-minded with me here, I’d go so far as to suggest that the seasons of total domination have actually created in your hearts a self-centered, win-hungry monster. One that thinks about yourself, your desires, your path to get there. It’s human nature. It’s the culture we live in.

Then we compare that with the seasons less noteworthy. The ones perhaps where you lost more than you won. A little of your love and passion for the game seemed to be lacking because you were focused on that one thing. Those big wins. The ones that proved you were the best team out there.  Pride wears several masks. Know what they look like.

We all love to win. Why else do we play a game if not to win, right? I get that. I love a good competition. The rush of adrenaline. We typically play our best when we are out to win. I love the drive in each of you to win, to finish strong. But there is a caution worth noting. When you happen to be on a team that wins game after game, you begin to feed the monster inside that becomes all about you. You laser in on winning at all costs, you start to shout from the rooftops the landslide scores, your undefeated record, or your high win record. It becomes all about you and the win.

I wonder if you noticed the little boy on the other team who struck out almost every at bat. Did you find yourself so striving for the clear win that you were cheering on his defeat a little too loudly? I wonder if when you were playing the field, and your team got out runner after runner, if you remembered to offer a few kind words to the opposing player. Maybe a “good run”, “nice hit”, something of encouragement for the effort expelled.

I’m not suggesting you should feel guilty for the wins and victories. I’m simply asking if in the middle of your own personal glory, did you think of anyone outside of yourself?

Baseball is a little about the game and a lot about life. Life is best lived when it’s nothing about us and it’s all about Him. When it’s all about Him, we love others fiercely. When we love others well, we simply don’t think about ourselves at all. Suddenly, the win is secondary. Still sweet. Still satisfying. But only secondary to living with a passion for loving others because we are freed by the love of Christ.

Play the game of baseball to win because then you are playing as if unto the Lord. Do everything as if you are doing it for Him. But represent Him well. Imitate Him. Model Him. When you play to win because you are doing all things for the glory of God, you will care about others in such a way that you’ve already won. The true win will live in your heart. And the trophy win, well, it’s a nice accessory, but it’s not the main thing.

That’s why I’d rather you be on a team that wins some and loses some. Because that is life. In life you don’t win every game. You strike out. A lot. A wrong call is given to you. A lot.You walk. A lot. Then you get the home run. And it’s sweet. You slide into second….just in time. It’s sweet. Because you have the experiences that differ to weigh the scales into balance.

Baseball is rarely an experience where the scale hangs far to one side. Same with life. When something happens that weighs down the left side, right behind it is something to bring down the right side of the scale. Bringing it all into balance. Balance is the sweeter spot. It’s the place you’ve tasted the different extremes. The place your heart begins to check its true motives and intentions.

It’s awesome to win. In that moment, do a check on your heart. Are you celebrating that your team put it to the other team? Or is your heart celebrating that you gave everything you had as if doing it for the Lord and in the process you gave more thought to the players around you than to yourself? Did you shine a light to your teammates and the opposing players? Did you model humility? Did you speak with respect even when frustrated? Did you choose to be slow to speak and slow to anger when a call didn’t go your way or your team’s way?

Luke 6:45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.

You see baseball is a team sport. It’s not a sport all about one person. Life isn’t about you. It’s about Him and through that it becomes about others.

When you happen to be on a team that puts a serious beating on every team you play, you begin to think more highly of yourself than you ought. Hear me. Life isn’t about you. It’s really not. Don’t believe the lie of the world.

In a culture that elevates self, do the opposite. Lift up others. Always. Less of you, more of Him. Less of you, more of Him. Feed that and you’ve won the trophy. You’ve become a champion. You are victorious because you are living life for Him, by Him, and through your surrender, He is the trophy the world needs to see.

I love you. I love to watch you play baseball. I love to watch you win. I love to watch you lose. More than anything I love to see Christ shine through you on that ball field.

With all my love,


When We Wonder When It Will Finally Be Our Turn


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.

Facing the Giants video “Prepare Your Fields”.

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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