I love Baseball, but I love Jesus more…

***This was written May 26, just took me a while to post***

My husband, Ryan, is a D2 college baseball coach. He just finished his third season at his current school. His first year they were 18-30, the following year they did a little better and were 25-25, and this year they ended up third in the region, which is better than conference standings, with a 39-16-1 record overall. To say they are improving quickly is an understatement. It has been a roller coaster of emotions over the past few years and if you are familiar with College coaches lives you would understand that it’s a lifestyle, not just a job.

The first year here was tough…Very tough. There were many moments that we both questioned our purpose and calling. But Ryan kept pushing through day by day. You may think I am about to tell you that how hard work pays off or if you keep pushing good things will come to those who work hard? While those are great cliché quotes, it’s not where my heart is this morning.

In the first season, we learned more about our relationship with Jesus than in many years prior. You see, in the college coaching world if you don’t win games, you get fired. It is as simple as that. Yes, typically no one gets fired after their first losing season but there isn’t much of a grace period after season 2 or 3. We knew without a doubt God called us to the town and exact spot where we are but we had no idea the fight and struggle we were about to encounter.

It was that season that we learned to not be defined by wins and losses; but to only be defined by Jesus. We truly experienced God take over my husband’s career and our marriage. So many people we meet are devastated by a hard loss or a tough break and we decided to be different. In that very tough year we held true to the fact that even if when we lose, Jesus is still King.

Fast forward to this season. We just lost out in the regional tournament. A tournament that our school hadn’t reached in 7 years. The fact that we reached this was BIG TIME and we were ranked 3rd out of 7 teams. This was our year! The tournament started on Thursday, so the team traveled to the site and practiced on the game field on Wednesday. That’s when it all started to happen. One of our best players and strongest leaders pulled his hamstring during that practice. He pulled it so bad he couldn’t walk. But, without him we managed to win the first game after 12 innings. But then the team went on to lose the next two games, which knocked us out of the tournament and our chance to go to the D2 world series.

When we were about to lose the second game I could feel the Lord remind me, like He was scolding His child, (& He was) say to me, I thought you weren’t defined by wins and losses? Well yes Lord, but these guys have worked hard and they needed this? As soon as I thought those thoughts I could feel His disappointment.  

I wanted these guys to win more than anything! To show the world we are a force to be reckoned with. To make a name for our team. But my sweet sweet Jesus came to remind me. Can’t you live a life to be reckoned with, without baseball? Can’t you always make a name for yourself and what you stand for? And just like Jesus always does, He pulled me right back to Him in a way that was like coming home after a long day at work.

So I ask you, what defines you? What would others say defines you? What would your kids answer if asked, what defines their parents? Are you defined by success at the office? By how much money you make? Or by comparing yourself to others?

Or do you let Jesus define you?

I challenge you today, let Jesus define you! Give Him the credit for it all, your life and your family…Isn’t it all His anyway?

 

When it Happened to Me

I have been following a story about Davey and Amanda Blackburn lately. It’s a tragic story about a family who moved from S.C. to Indianapolis to fulfill their calling to start a church. One morning Davey got up early to go to the gym and when he returned he found his wife on the ground fighting for her life. Someone had broken into their home earlier that morning and murdered her while her one-year-old son was in the next room.  Amanda was also 3 months pregnant at the time. This story rocked my world. I am close to their age and couldn’t imagine why God would allow something like this to happen.

It wasn’t until months later when I caught myself letting this affect my thoughts.

A few weeks ago my husband had a former player call him and ask if he could stay with us until he got his feet on the ground with a new job in our area. When he moved in for some odd reason we didn’t give him a key immediately. He had to leave for his job first in the morning so he would leave the front door unlocked and my husband would lock it when he would leave for work. To be honest I didn’t know this was even happening until my husband had to go out of town for work.

It was late one night when I woke up in the middle of the night and I realized. He was going to leave the door unlocked at 6:30 and I would not be able to lock it again until 8:00am. and I didn’t have to leave for work until 8:00. That left a window, similar to the time frame from Amanda’s story. around the same time Amanda was killed, for the same thing to happen to me. I panicked and immediately found a key for him and sent him a seemingly random text where I left the key so he could lock the door on the way out.

Then it hit me. I sat there in pure fear of something that hadn’t even happened to me yet. Then even worse, I didn’t go to God first. I made a survival plan before I even thought about Jesus and what He said about fear. There are so many times where Jesus talks about not fearing and how fear doesn’t come from Him. Paul spoke specifically in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (NKJV). A spirit of fearfulness and timidity does not come from God so why was I freaking out? Because I am human? Because I am a woman, and women tend to freak out sometimes? The reality is I freaked out because of the unknown. I was worried because I didn’t know if someone was going to break into my house. Often, when I am in freak out mode, I am very fearful of things I can’t even control or do anything to prevent.

Yes, I should lock my door every time I am at home, especially if I will be alone. But could we take another approach? Could I not have freaked out and just gotten up after he left that morning and locked the door? It would have taken 3 minutes’ total. Instead I worried for almost an hour about what to do without looking crazy and walking through an entire situation in my head.

Today I challenge each of you, don’t let the media, someone else’s bad situation or even this crazy presidential election scare you. It is okay that WE don’t know the end story on earth. At the end of each and every day; Jesus is King and He knows the whole story. Davey Blackburn even speaks about how God knows the whole picture. We have to trust him with that whole picture, with every aspect of our life. Not just the areas that are easy.

Trusting Jesus is a game changer. When everything in life is so inconsistent and always fluctuating Jesus is the changeless savior He promises to be.