Monday, June 20, 2011

Sharing with Middletown Athletic Association

I have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.
2 Corinthians 7:4

I just wanted to let you know how awesome God is and how he is moving through Daniel's little league teams.

All season I sat with T's mom. Yesterday I saw her at the ball field. I had just started crying telling Amanda that if I had known last year was my dad's last Father's Day, maybe we would have done something different. Anyway...just having a moment. Karen saw me and we started talking. She hugged me. She asked why we weren't playing in the All-Star game when my love was coaching it. I said I was at church, my happy place. She said church is here happy place too. Then the next thing I knew we are talking about salvation and redemption. She grew up Catholic also and someone told her she needed to be in a good bible-teaching church. She said it is so clear (the plan of salvation) and such a relief. We can stop working so hard. LOL.

Daniel played for 3 teams, in-house, travel and tournament. L. coached two (the first and last) and A. coached one (travel). I shared a little with Coach A. about how I claimed Philippians 4:13 for Daniel but also the entire team.

You are doing a great job with these kids. Thank you for being such a positive role model for Daniel. I have claimed Philippians 4:13 for Daniel but now it seems so fitting for the team.

This was his response. Wow God!

Thanks for the reply. The better these guys get, the more fun it is to coach them. I also need to say thanks again for your previous email. The passage really is fitting for this team. The way He is working in some of these kids has really came through Sunday in how these guys have learned to believe in themselves and be the support their teammates need when they need it.

DK especially has come a long way this year. Last season when he got his head down it was tough to get him out. Just this past Saturday when he was upset in the dugout before the game there was definitely a difference in talking to him. He believes he's a better player and it shows. I'm glad the Lord has worked in these kids to mold them into what they became Sunday. Even if it was just a baseball team. They're all not just better ballplayers, they're better people. That's far more than me constantly telling them to keep their heads up. I know God has worked through this team and I couldn't be more excited.

So on Thursday night I gave him a thank you card and a gift card with encouraging words and another verse. (For the life of me I can't remember it. I guess because it was from the Spirit and not me.) His wife thanked me on Saturday and then he called me Saturday night to personally thank me. I didn't make his day. I made his LIFE. I truly just acted out of obedience to the Lord.

I shared this with Pastor Paul yesterday. I told him that the one coach was a Mormon. Paul asked if that is who I am sharing this with. I said no. I guess I am a little intimidated. I thought about it after our conversation. I would have to just wait for an opportunity. I knew that I would be given one but I need to just be patient.

Guess what? God made a way.

On Saturday the team played a phenomenal game. I was sleeping and missed it. (I'll post Relay pictures soon.) I went to the 4 pm game. The boys were up by five runs when I arrived. The other team battled back. Then our team was up by seven runs. It was 12 to 5. But the pitching was killing us. The one kid was put in for two innings. Then they took him out and put another kid in. We just couldn't get that third out. Then before we knew it, it was 14 to 12 and the two hour time limit was approaching. We were up. The kids needed to score 3 runs to stay in it. Of course they didn't. Game over!

There was no reason that they should have lost that. The kids played hard but for one reason or another, the coaches decided to go with the certain pitchers that they chose. Everyone left thinking "what just happened, and HOW?"

They just were not suppose to win. For some reason we were not to advance to tonights game. I don't have to know the reason why. I just have to be faithful and give God the glory. It was a good season but baseball is now over. We can finally focus on our up and coming Alaskan cruise.

Last night, the conversation with Paul was on my mind. It was after ten and I couldn't sleep. I checked email. There was an email from Leon in response to one I sent about our vacation dates. There are two tournaments in the next month but we believed that we would be on vacation for both. He responded with:

Ok thank you. It was a tough day thinking about the game I blew, the kids played great!

Just then the Spirit moved me. I knew that this was the opportunity I had been praying about. I responded with:

I believe that everything happens for a reason. For some reason, these boys were not to move on. Only God knows that reason. It is just up to us to trust that and learn from it (Proverbs 3:5). Don't beat yourself up about the game. You are a great coach and Daniel has learned so much from you over the last few months.

Just simple words. Nothing outrageous. Nothing to shove religion down anyones throat. Just simple words of encouragement and scripture to back them up.

Then there is the mom who runs the snack bar. I was scheduled to work this past weekend. I found out Wednesday night. I received the email Thursday. All of the parents were livid. We have been planning Relay for a year. It is always the same time (the Friday before Father's Day). I complained along with the other parents, then I came home and read a devotion. And it was about what else...complaining. I forwarded the Proverbs 31 to her and said:

Hi Laura,
I started reading this email yesterday but life got in the way so I didn't finish it until just now. I want to apologize for being part of the complaining. I understand that it is our responsibility as parents to help. As I told Dawn last night, I can give you a good excuse (such as our 24 hour charity benefit that starts at 9am today) as to why I can't serve this weekend. A good excuse is just that, an excuse. But the bottom line is, I need to make other arrangements with a happy heart. It was becoming a burden and undue stress on my side. I understand that this is something you have to deal with ALL the time. I sympathize with you. I prayed for you and Laura this morning. I sincerely hope everything works out this weekend.
As my voicemail said, Dillon has agreed to work for me on Saturday. I will see you tonight for my 6 pm shift. Have a fantastic Friday.

Her response does not stand out as anything that I would remember. But again, another opportunity to share my love for the Lord.

I think we get so intimidated because we want to say the right words and not offend anyone and their believes. I didn't say anything offensive or hard core. I didn't share the Gospel but I did open my mouth and I am certain that God will give me more open doors to share more.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

I then threw a load in and went to read in the book of Luke. I started the Gospels last summer and I am only half way through Luke. I hope to finish this book and John by the end of the summer. I put a second load in and decided to sit down and check email again. This is what I found from Proverbs 31 Ministries:

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21 (NIV)

I was searching in my husband’s sock drawer when I found a familiar thick white envelope. I put on my glasses, sat at my vanity and started reading. Tears followed. “Dad, you are my hero.” Ryan penned these words the day my husband, Richard, finished graduate school. The words in the three pages revealed a young man who was not afraid to open his heart and let his dad see inside.
Reading the letter once again made me want to write a letter to my son. I wanted to tell him that I remembered when he was a little boy and he offered drive-by kisses as he ran past. I desired to tell him that when I was an exhausted mother to three toddlers his lopsided smile and Kermit the Frog belly laugh made me happy to be a mom. I longed to tell him that I remembered when he walked behind me, trying to gain my attention with “Mom, Mom, Mama!” I wanted to share that I was sorry when I wasn’t as patient as I should have been. Most of all I wanted to let him know how proud I was of him as a man and how I saw many of the same beautiful traits of his father emerging in him. Why do we leave such precious words unsaid? Words that heal. Words that share the way we feel. Words that become treasures one day when words are all that remain. Today’s key verse from Proverbs 18:21 reminds us that the power isn’t in the tongue as a muscle, but in the words that fall from the tongue. We often talk about the negative words we should hold back, but what about the words that we can freely offer to those we care about? Those are powerful words, indeed. Dear Lord, scripture is filled with words that remind me of Your love. May my tongue be used to affirm, to encourage, to lift up, and to share simple words that say “I love you” to the treasured people You put in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Written by T. Suzanne Eller

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