Sunday, August 21, 2016

They are teaching me

Well here we are.  Another Summer has come and gone and the kids are about to head back to school.  Christian will be sophomore and the infamous Bo will brave middle school for the first time.
I looked at a picture of Bo the other day and realized just how much more mature he is looking.  With Christian, I embraced everything as being the first time.  I still get emotional with a lot of his first moments.  But here I have my baby boy about to enter the years where some of the biggest changes happen and I feel like I am not prepared because I haven't really taken the time to ponder on such things.

Bo will go in ready to take the bull by the horns.  He loves school.  He loves being around his friends.  He is definitely a social butterfly.  Christian, however, could skip school and just play sports.  He does well in school but honestly he would be fine never having to go another day of school in his life.  I have two totally opposite kids.  Because they are opposite, I find myself as a mother having to embrace different things.  I have to learn to be open to new things because each one of my boys takes us on a different path.

As you can imagine in a house full of boys, I feel like I am in a battle of testosterone at all times.  Everything is a bet, a dare, or a competition.  Christian and Bo both have their strengths and their weaknesses.  At one time I am telling Christian to quit picking on his younger brother and teasing him.  Then I am telling Bo to "man up" and how he needs to come to terms with the fact that he is the younger brother.  Dad was a younger brother and that is just the way life is so learn to deal with it.  Tough love by mom, huh?  Mommin' ain't easy!  I have to be tough.  If the boys sense fear in me, they might attack.  So though I may be an emotional mess at times, I have to keep it together for the sake of my survival.

I do have to say that I am ready for them to go back to school so they can get a break from each other.  Let's face it, school really is good for them too.  They learn many things and it is good for them to be around others their age.  They need to learn to deal with some of life's curve balls.  They need some day to day discipline.  They need to exercise their brains.  With the start of a new school season, I try to reflect on how we have grown as a family and individually over the Summer.

This Summer was a bit different for us.  You see we are a sports family.  We spend our Summers playing sports.  No one will ever convince me that sports is a bad thing.  Maybe the obsession with it can be bad, but not the love of the game and the will to play.  So this Summer we played sports as usual.  We had an opportunity to play a lot between the two boys being active in something.  But you see something else was stirring in Christian's heart and even Bo's.  Christian hit me up with going on our church's mission trip to Guatemala.  Me, being the overly spiritual mom I am, asked him if he really wanted to give up a week of sports for this trip.  Though I know deep down, there is a God sized dream in this young man's heart, I second guessed it.  What if you miss out on practice?  What if your team makes it to the championship and you are already committed to the trip?  A lot of what if's coming from a mom who has prayed God's word over this boy since before he was born.  Why in the world would I have even questioned this?  Maybe because I am more attached to the things of this world than I thought.  Christian looked at me and said "Mom, I want to go.  This will be good for me."  So there you go.  I couldn't argue with that truth bomb.  Bo also got to go to youth camp for the first time.  So now both boys were missing two weeks out of their sports.  I can tell you that what both of my boys gained in those times was more than I could have ever taught them.  They came back revived, refreshed and restored.  They came back with a lot of fire.

My hesitation made me question so many things about myself as a mother.  I can say some mighty prayers when it comes to my boys.  I have spoken so many things over their lives.  I have asked God for my kids to know Him personally and to seek out a relationship with Him.  Yet when they started doing that, here I am with the road block.  Though I wasn't intentionally trying to stop them, I was praying one thing and saying another.  This is when everything I had ever prayed over my boys began to resurface in my mind.  It was a reality check.  It was God saying "Hope I have heard your prayers for your boys.  Don't worry, I've got them."  My boys were teaching me to let go of things you think are important and focus on the eternal things that truly matter.  The scripture that says "better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere" is so true. Their footsteps are ordered by the One who will never lead them down the wrong path.  Though I have thoughts of where I see them going to college, what sports they should play, what teachers they should have, what career they should pursue, the Lord's plans for them are much better.

I have control issues at times for sure.  I can admit that.  So naturally I want to control things in my kid's lives.  I am having to learn to give up some of that control because the two young men I have prayed for so much have proven to be doing ok without me on a lot of things.  It's like letting go of their hand the first day of Kindergarten.  It's like watching them in their first performance, knowing that even though you helped them practice every night, it is still all in their hands.  It's like letting them get behind the wheel to drive for the first time and then blinking and they are driving off to college.

Heck, I have so many flaws as a mom.  I say many things on one hand and act in a totally different way.  Just when I think I have the mom thing down, another life lesson slaps me in the face.  Just when I think I am teaching my boys how to be men, they are teaching me to be a better mom.  Their love for God inspires me right now.  As they start another school year, I pray that they continue seeking God first.  God is obviously a better parent than I am but He did choose me to be the mother of Christian and Bo.  One day I hope they thank God for me as I have thanked God for them.

I hope I have taught them a few things along the way...
Seek God first
Know how to talk to God
Love your family and keep the family circle
Be leaders
Look out for the little man
Work hard, stay humble
Learn to take criticism
Respect Girls
When you find a girl, try to make sure she likes your family
Say thank you
Own what you like to do whether it is band, choir, sports, academics
Strive to win but don't be a sore loser
Congratulate your friends on their successes
Surround yourself with good people because iron sharpens iron



Sunday, January 31, 2016

It's Just A Game

In our day to day lives, in the sports world, I often hear the phrase "it's just a game."  In fact, I catch myself saying that as well.  When tempers flare up or I see someone stressing, it is absolutely the right thing to say.  It is just a game.  It is just a test.  It is just a spelling bee.  It is just a performance.  You get the point.

Here is what I can say to that.  Yes it is just a game and there is no need to measure your whole self worth based on the outcome of that game.  But every time one of my children goes out to compete for something, I feel like my heart leaps outside of my chest and takes the field with them.  It is just a game but I know how much they have prepared.  I know how much they want to win.  I know how badly they want to do their best.

It is just a game but all eyes are watching.  The crowd is rooting for you before the first play happens.  But your mom is on the sidelines with butterflies in her stomach because she knows this means a lot to you.  She is full of pride when she gets that first look of you in your uniform.  She is proud because you had the courage to just get out there.  You make a good play and the crowd cheers.  Depending on your mom's personality she may jump up and scream with excitement.  Or she may just nod an atta boy at you.  Then you make a bad play.  You throw an interception, miss a tackle, or forget your lines. The crowd can be forgiving or down right mad.  And then there is your mom.  She may get mad.  She puts her head down and cringes because she knows you are already tough on yourself.  She feels your disappointment and the crowd's.  She feels the tension.  She feels every move you make.  She knows you have to keep going.  So she prays for you to pick yourself up and to muster enough strength to finish.

You may even get hurt at times.  She will feel like someone kicked her in the stomach.  She may tell you to suck it up even though she is hurting for you.  But she will also be the one to pray over you.  She will make sure you get well and she will pray some intense prayers to God.  She also knows that God has a plan for you and that your worth is not based on your performance.  She sees into your future and knows that this is just one competition, one game.  You will have plenty more in your life.  She will be there for every one she can be.  She prays that she doesn't miss a moment.

As a mom, I know these feelings all too well.  I have said many times, especially when emotions get out of control that it is just a game.  But I feel like my whole world steps out onto that field.  I will never forget when Christian was young and still playing baseball how I would have to walk away when he pitched.  I couldn't handle the pressure.  I couldn't handle knowing the ball was in his hands and he was either going to walk a batter or strike him out.  One game he hit a kid.  This particular kid wore glasses and stepped into the plate rather than away from it.  The ball hit his helmet and caused his glasses to cut his eye.  There was blood everywhere.  Naturally, the kid's mom screams and runs to her son.  Christian sat and watched and I knew he felt terrible.  As his momma, I knew he was done for the game.  But Coach kept him in.  I sat and watched him walk batter after batter after that.  The coach still kept him in.  I wanted to crawl in a hole because I felt every emotion.  Part of me wanted to yell at the coach and say take him out.  But I sat there and endured the downward spiral.  After the game, there I was along with Dad telling him to keep his head up.  Now looking back, I realize that was just one game and he would have many more games to play in his lifetime.  That game is just one part of many memories that have been made over the years.

Yesterday was UIL competition day for Bo.  This is the first year he has competed in such an event.  I watched him prepare for months. The night before the event his stomach began to hurt.  He was in tears and you could tell he didn't feel himself.  We prayed together.  I reminded him how he can continue to pray on his own and how it isn't selfish to pray for yourself.  He finally went to bed.  When he woke up that morning he still wasn't well.  I offered for him to back out and he said no with more tears in his eyes.  He told me he wanted to go.  So off we went to the school.  When we got there he was still in tears.  One of the teachers reassured him it would be fine if he wasn't able to compete.  I even offered to take him so he didn't have to ride the bus and bring him home early.  He got his composure together and told me he was fine and that he was going.  I left in tears.  I knew he had worked hard and wanted to be a part of this competition.  I prayed the whole way home.  Well he made it the whole day.  Then I arrived for the awards ceremony.  The audience waited patiently as they called all the winner's names in each category.  I watched Bo from the other side of the room.  I smiled at how he and his friends cheered loud and proud for their fellow classmates that won in each category.  When it was time for them to announce the top 6 in the category he competed in, he glanced over at me with a smile and a look of hope.  When all names were called, his name was not one of them.  I was disappointed for him but then he gave me the sweetest look.  He smiled at me and shrugged his shoulders like it was alright with him.  Afterwards he told me that he would get it next year.  It was another teachable moment.  You won't always be first and you won't always win.  But strong people get back up and try again.  They also can celebrate in the successes of their friends. Sure my momma's heart wanted his name to be called.  But my love for that boy doesn't change because it wasn't.

I have always said that God teaches me so many life lessons through my children.  God is a parent.  I know he sees every challenge we face.  I think he feels everything we feel.  He knows when we have prepared to step out.  He also knows when maybe we are in a fight that may be bigger than us.  I am sure it breaks His heart when we fall but He extends His hand to get us back on our feet.  He equips us with all we need.  When we humble ourselves, He promotes us just at the right time.  Sometimes we get the trophy and sometimes we don't.  But God knows that we are worth more than any trophy or any participation ribbon.  He tells us to press on.  He is our biggest fan even when everyone else may be against us.  He doesn't love us based on our performance.  His love is unconditional.  We may have blown it on the mound.  But He knows the greatness that is still inside of us.

People always make fun of me because when I watch a professional athlete blow it on the field, I think about his momma.  When all the fans are booing and wanting his head on the chopping block, I know somewhere his momma is sitting in her seat with her heart in her hand.  She still has to love him through it.  She will be the one telling her son that she still loves him and is still his fan.  She will have listen to every negative comment and try to tune it out.  She may even go a little momma bear on some one.  When it is all said and done, she will tell her son to stand tall.  She will tell him that he is worth more than some game.  Because after all, it is just a game, right?

Yes it is just a game.  It is a game that teaches us determination and perseverance.  It is a game that teaches us to work as a team, to put our heart out there for others.  It is a game that teaches us passion.  It is a game that teaches us adversity and how to overcome injury.  It is a game that sometimes lets us stand on the platform of victory.  And that same game may knock our face in the dirt.  It is a game that is worth playing when God is on your team.
It's just a game.  Yes, you are correct.  As a mom, a piece of my heart just prepared to take the field.  It's just a game and I am here to watch my favorite player.