“Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name. I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore.”
At the start of every baseball season we come in with great expectations and big goals. “This is going to be our year!”, “This is going to be the greatest season yet!” Usually those goals have something to do with baseball itself. Goals of having good numbers, being promoted, making the Major Leagues. For us ladies, the goals usually have something to do with being prepared, more organized, more visits, more traveling, providing in some way. For some of us, those grand expectations and big dreams become our reality. But for most of us, it seems like we never quite get exactly where we wanted, or expected to be. Life happens, moves happen, circumstances change. Suddenly we are halfway through baseball season and finding ourselves once again saying, “This is not what I expected.” It feels like a pretty big let down when we realize the things we thought were going to happen do not. So many “what ifs” start to be entertained that shouldn’t be.
But there is one “what if” that I do want to entertain. What if we went into each season with one goal: to live a life that serves and centers itself around Jesus? What if the most important thing in our lives wasn’t where baseball can take us, but where God has led us in this exact moment? What if wherever we are, whatever our circumstances, we were intentional about seeing God in our lives? What would that look like?
We began this 2017 season with goals. Goals of affiliated contracts, good numbers, Major League opportunity, organization, providing for each other and this life style, the list goes on and on. April comes and we are on our way to Lancaster, Pennsylvania for a job opportunity. The opportunity to play with an Independent Baseball team, not affiliated ball. “Ok, God, this is where you want us, we will go. But we still have the desire of John playing for an affiliated team and that Big League opportunity”. We were trusting God but also still making our own plans for the season as if we had any idea what His plan actually was. God must have laughed. I do now looking back. Of course we thought we had that “here I am, send me” attitude that we try our best to have. But emotions still creep in with moments of weakness. It’s August and several times we’ve both questioned “why are we still here?”, “This is not what we thought this would be”.
Once a week I sit with some of the other wives, girlfriends, fiancees, and other women we’ve picked up along the way to spend time in God’s Word. We’ve been holding bible studies together since April when we arrived and have formed some incredible friendships through Christ and this 9-inning game. During that time, one woman has led her first bible study and even in the ones she hasn’t led, shared some incredible wisdom and powerful prayers! One woman has become a close friend and held me accountable in my own walk with God. One woman came off pretty strong at first, but in her courage and faithfulness has shown all of us the importance of being bold for Christ! One had never come to bible study before or owned a bible and bought her first one! One woman was baptized and gave her life to Christ!!!! There are SO MANY wins that have gone on here that didn’t happen on the baseball diamond. They have happened in the name of Jesus.
Our most recent study we had the largest number of women attend yet. From significant others, ballpark employees, church friends, and the hair salon receptionist. We studied David’s prayer in Psalm 86 and began understanding that we have the same relationship with God that David did. We can ask Him for happiness. We can ask Him for forgiveness. We can sing His praises. We can ask Him to send us a sign that we are on the right path. We KNOW the God who we pray to, and He knows us!
We soon found ourselves in an emotion-filled and intimate conversation amongst eachother and with God. Reflecting on the summer and the things that we all prayed for. Reflecting on questions of doubt and fear of missing God’s direction in our lives. Are we doing this whole thing right? And in that moment I realized how important us all finding each other in this place truly was. We didn’t come here for baseball. We came here to lead and be led closer to God. We came here to grow deeper in love with Him. We came here to learn to trust Him in times where we cannot see the plan ahead. We came to be encouragers and sisters in Christ. All of these things we can take with us forever, wherever He sends us.
It was on my heart to say this that day: “If the only thing that comes from this season are these friendships right here, these women who have all grown me closer to God and who I have witnessed grow in their own faith as well, that is enough for me. If there is no affiliated ball contract, if there is no job opportunity, if this doesn’t look like what I thought it would, that’s okay. If the only thing I was sent here for was to watch this girl next to me come to know and give her life to Jesus and be baptized, to see God at work, that’s enough.” As the words came out I had tears in my eyes because I finally truly meant it. I finally had that “here I am, send me” attitude I had prayed to have and thought I had before. I didn’t. Not until now. Not until the moment I said out loud, “That’s enough for me.”
This is what it looks like when we set our goals and expectations on living a life centered around Christ. I have zero disappointment in this season. No, we haven’t had any promotions. No, we haven’t gotten any closer to the Major Leagues. No, this looks nothing like what we expected it to. But here in this season I have found that God alone is enough. That witnessing His work in my life and others lives, that is where true glory comes from. I have no doubts that He is right here with all of us, that He has some incredible plans for our futures, and that He will give us the desires of our hearts that align with His purpose for our lives. I know that is coming. But in the meantime, in all the waiting, here I am, where He sent me, where He wants to use me, and where He wants me to grow.
We closed our bible study with prayer, like always, but this one was so different. This one was the best prayer I’ve ever heard. Not because it had flowery language or was filled with scripture. Not because it was well rehearsed. But because it was as honest and raw as David’s prayer. Filled with crying out to our Lord, acknowledging who He is and who we are, asking Him for our happiness, asking Him for forgiveness, and spoken out loud by women who truly know the God they are praying to. Women who have said, “I know and trust my God, I will praise Him in this season, I will thank Him for where He has me, and I will continue to go to Him in my need.” Women who prayed over myself and others, some for their first time out loud. What a powerful reminder of who our God is and how perfect His plans are. He knew we would find each other in this place. He knew the entire time this is the exact group we needed for this season of our lives. When we place our lives and circumstances in Gods hands, and we say You alone are enough, amazing things will happen. If this is what a season centered around Jesus looks like, and I can honestly tell you I am not at all disappointed.
Prayer: Hear me when I cry out to You, Lord and guard my life from the things You do not have for me. Bring me joy and happiness, while I continue to put my trust in You. Thank you for being ever faithful, forgiving, and loving. I will continue to call to you in my needs, I know that You alone are God and can do all things. Grow me in my faith and show me Your ways. I will praise You with all my heart and in all circumstances. I will bring You my troubles, although You already know them, and seek Your guidance and follow You out of the darkness. I will talk to You and have a relationship with You. I know who You are and I thank You for the access You have given me through Your Word and through Jesus Christ. When I have doubted Your plans, goodness, or timing, You have shown me mercy and grace. When I have needed a reminder of Your presence, You have sent me a sign. Wherever You send me, I will go willingly in Your name. Whatever You have for me is good enough. You alone are enough. In Jesus powerful name, Amen.
Suggested Reading: Job 1:21