To Matalyn Claire and Elly Grace....the best change up hitters I know.
Life pitched you a massive change up. Just like that your senior year and softball seasons were done. Much like a perfect fast ball, you didn't see it coming. But nonetheless, the pitch was thrown.
You know that to hit a changeup you have to have a good take. Good takes are about good timing. Some coaches say, don't stay back - stay balanced in your swing when you notice the change of speed in the pitch. Timing is important, yes, but in softball, trusting yourself and your training is just as critical.
Much like softball God is also asking for your trust in His training and his timing in life. If you liken your lives to a softball game, you are only a quarter of the way through the game. You still have a lot of ball to play. It's only the top of the second inning. Stay in the game.
I know it's hard to understand the why behind events that happen in life. What possible good could come of missing your final high school season and final softball career season? How could such a disappointment be used for a good outcome? Why would God take something so special, like my senior prom, away? How can missing your graduations, something you've worked so hard to achieve, be removed as a moment to remember? It's ok to have those hard questions and still, stay in the game.
I'd be mother of the century if I could answer those questions for you. I can't. But I know when life pitches me a curve ball, I rely on a huge truth from scripture and I pray, it will see you through many disappointing times in your life...because there will be more.
Trust the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths smooth [straight]. Proverbs 3:5-6
This passage is among the most quoted or referenced when we want answers to life altering difficulties and events we don’t understand. How do we not just say the words without applying them to our lives?
To ‘lean not on your own understanding’ is really just another way of saying we need to live by faith. One of the best ways to live by faith is to watch how God has worked in our lives in the past.
We were not leaning on our own understanding when we lost everything in a house fire. We leaned on faith.
We were not leaning on our own understanding when we were homeless. We leaned on faith.
We were not leaning on our own understanding when Kari went to be with Jesus. We leaned on faith.
Leaning is living with confidence that God always does what is best even when you can’t see it as so. It is knowing that God can take a disappointment and use it for a far better outcome than if the original plan would have stayed in tact. It is trusting that God's ways and plans are far better than our expected paths and pursuits.
Faith is not denying reality. It’s not pretending you don’t have a problem.
Faith is not saying, “I’m not in pain” when you are.
Faith is not saying, “I don’t hurt” when you do.
Faith is not saying, “I’m happy” when you’re really grieving inside.
That’s not faith; that’s phoniness! Faith is facing the facts, feelings and figures of disappointing situations without being disheartened by them because you know that God is greater than the problem. Solomon knew that with almost every promise of God there is a condition attached to it. Promise - straight, smooth paths. Condition - trust Him with all your heart and acknowledge him in everything. Solomon also knew something of the conflict between the known and the unknown, trusting God for what you cannot see.
One of the best ways to trust someone is to know them. To know someone requires spending time with them. God is no different. He so desperately wants you hear from you. To be your best friend. Your loving father. Your love. And for you to know His son, your brother, Jesus. God delights in giving Himself to you.
5 Ways to AcKNOWledge God
1. Know you are completely forgiven
When you live forgiven you live in joy. Joy in what the Lord has done for you. He loved you so much he sent Jesus.
2. Read the word
The bible is your guidebook to know God and grow in His wisdom. There’s always something new to discover in Scripture. Love it. Study it. Memorize it. Think about what it says. As you read, look for what God is like—His character. Look for a truth you need to believe, and look for something you need to do. Apply it to your life.
3. Transform yourself
When you love someone and trust that they love you back, you want to make changes for that person. Not because you are controlled, but because you are grateful for that relationship and their love in your life.
4. Pray continually
Share with your Heavenly Father your joys, fears, goals, desires, and failures. We can’t hide our thoughts from God, anyway, and we shouldn’t try. Prayer is no different than any other conversation you have with your sisters, friends or co-workers. Talk to God just like that. Pray, just like that. And if you don't know what to say, just say thank you for all you're blessed with.
5. Active in service and church
Our church family becomes our extended spiritual family. As you grow in maturity, you will discover a desire to serve. God will place in your heart an area of ministry, and when you begin to serve, it will bring joy to yourself and others. Search for that.
The more you know God, the more you will love Him. The more you love Him, the more you will want to obey Him, because you know that will please Him. The way won’t always be easy, but if we trust Him, we are able to rest in His will for us and let Him direct our paths. And when he is leading you, it won't matter what pitch is thrown - you be balanced in the box and able to have a good take.