As the parent of a baseball player, I can definitely say that there is a hopeful expectation that sets in right after Christmas and New Years have passed. When lots of people are feeling kind of sad and deflated after the excitement of the holidays, the parent of a baseball player is gearing up for the start of a brand new, and hopefully successful, season of plays, hits, and wins. It’s that time of year when the struggles of the prior season go out the window and the focus is solely on seeing the progress made since the last season ended. The exciting opportunity to see the improvements from time well spent in the batting cage week after week and the hours of baseballs thrown and fielded during the off months. All this repetitive practice to perfect the skills needed to hit every strike and make every play.
When Holt played baseball, at the start of each new season, Dave and I always felt as if the best was yet to come. Knowing that throughout the off season Holt had grown taller and stronger, and with each season, the potential he possessed would be better developed. Some years I think we were even more excited than he was to see how he would match up against opposing pitchers or just to observe how much his skills had improved from the year before. It was always a time of great expectation for what we knew would bring so much joy and satisfaction for all of the time we all had invested.
I miss that feeling now more than I could ever express in words. I miss the excitement of knowing that my spring and summer will be filled with sitting in the cold cheering during regular season and sitting in the steamy heat during summer ball. I miss the farmer’s tan I always got from sunburn at the games. I miss soaking the red clay stains out of his bright white baseball pants, and I totally miss the smell of his stinky, wet cleats after a game played in the rain. I miss holding my breath as my big boy walked up to the plate and silently praying for God to help him to do his best in the game. I miss it all.
Life is full as seasons. Times we love and others we could seriously live without. I am learning that there is honestly a season for everything. Times we should cherish and not complain. Times we should work and practice followed by times we get to enjoy. Times we have to wonder, and other times we get to know. Times when, even though we do not realize it, God is preparing us for another season that lies ahead.
It’s been almost a year since I have written a blog. Even though I haven’t written as much, I have remained really busy. It wasn’t like I decided not to write or that I stopped having thoughts and feelings. On the contrary, with my racing mind, sometimes it’s hard to comprehend just what I am thinking because I tend to think about so many things all at once! I believe this past year has been yet another season for me. A time for me to observe and realize how limited I am in my own power. Although at times I have taken some breaks to unwind and sit back, I can totally see how over the past year, God has never stopped working on me. Even though there were times when I chose to be distracted rather than face the circumstances of life; God never stopped encouraging me to look up to Him. There were times when I thought I could handle life on my own, but God never stopped reminding me that He was my real confidence. There were even times when I felt tough enough to fight my own battles, but thankfully God talked me out of throwing the first punch.
What I have learned over the past year is that we need God in every season. Whether we are in times of highs or bouncing back from the lowest lows, we should never begin to feel like things are steady and mistakenly think we can stop relying on Jesus for everything. If we ever put our faith on cruise control, we can get quickly frustrated when things do not continue to go as we planned. We start to think that God is being distant because we do not see His work in our lives. When the real reason we feel this way is because we are depending more on ourselves for the outcomes and very little on God’s power. Without the Holy Spirit’s help and strength we have a right to feel discouraged because without Him we really are hopeless. How can God do things “in and through” us when we think we know more than He does “about ” us?” What a season of mistakes will follow with that kind of thinking!
I thought I knew exactly how God wanted to use The Holt Rowland Foundation about a year ago. I had the plan, and I thought I had enough information to chart the course. I hit cruise control and said, “Lord, you take care of other folks; I think I can figure this out from here.” What I did not remember is that I am not as smart as God is! He does not desire to invest His love in me and then go on to others without watching expectantly to see if all that invested time and energy will pay off. God sits much like I did in the stands while Holt was headed to the plate. He sits there silently full of hope praying for me to reach my full potential through His power as I pass through every new season of life. He is cheering for me to remember what we have practiced and to do my best. He is cheering for me to hit every strike and make every play, not so I can round the bases and get all the glory, but so that the crowd can say, “Look at that weak, ordinary player, where did all that power come from?”
I will always be a baseball parent at heart. The start of every new season makes me excited. If I close my eyes, I am taken back to all the times I proudly sat in the stands watching my boys play ball while expecting something good was about to happen. I still feel that same way today. Although now my seasons in life look very different than they did in the past, thanks to Jesus working in me, I continue to have an overflowing hope and great expectation that every season to come will be better than the last.