Today I a over at Arabah Joy for her weekly Grace & Truth link up. Come check it out!
In our house, basketball season is a big deal.The rest of the year seems to be in anticipation of the months between November and March.
But this year, basketball season was an even bigger deal than normal. My oldest, Brock is a senior and my youngest Brody is a freshman. They would get to play together while my husband coached them both. You could almost taste the anticipation of heightened expectations as the season got underway.
Although, I am not normally a big sports fan (you won’t find me glued to a TV to watch any game), when the three people you love most in the world are out on the court, you find yourself a whole lot more interested.
The year started off with a bang, and we had some great wins. But then something happened after Christmas. We hit a slump. We weren’t shooting well. Brock came home many nights defeated and discouraged.
As a mom, that was hard to watch. After all, I had watched my son struggle with his physical limitations. He is only 5’6″. In basketball, that is tough to overcome, but Brock put in hours and hours of hard work to get as good as he possibly could. There are some things you can’t overcome. After all, no matter how hard he worked, he couldn’t add inches to his frame or make his hands bigger, but the boy did add six inches to his vertical jump.
I had also watched Brock come to terms with giving up his dream of playing at the next level. So, as the season wound down and Brock’s shooting slump continued and the team lost more than they won, it made me angry.
I had many conversations with God that went something like, “You made him short when he loves basketball. He’s given up his dreams of playing ball at the next level. Couldn’t you at least let him end his senior year on a high note?”
To be really honest, I went back and forth with feeling sad for my son and angry with God for putting him through this. It didn’t make sense to me, and as his mom, I couldn’t fix it. I’d think I was at peace with it, and then we’d have another bad game and I’d watch his shoulders slump and that look in his eyes. It just killed me.
During the week, at practice, he’d hit his shots. One week, he hit 39 out of 42 three-point shots. Yet, during the games, he was consistently in single digits. And it wasn’t just him. Nobody on the team was shooting well. It was like the entire team had been jinxed or gremlins had taken up residence in the basketball hoops.
I know – sports are just a game. It’s not life or death and there are many things way more important going on in this world. But for a teenage boy who breathes, eats and sleeps basketball, it feels like the whole world.
The last game, the tournament game, didn’t turn out any better. In fact, Brock jumped to block a ball and someone undercut him. He slammed down onto the court and hit his head so hard, I didn’t know if he’d be getting up under his own steam. He did end up back into the game, but only after the trainer had staunched the bleeding and an goose egg-sized bump had swelled onto his forehead.
While Brock did end up in double digits scoring that night, we lost that game. As I drove home, I could barely keep my anger in check. It felt so unfair. Brock had worked so hard and I knew that my whole family was bitterly disappointed with the game and how the season turned out. It’s one thing to lose to a better team; it’s another to lose to a team you know you can beat if you had played better.
Regret and if only leave a bitter taste in the mouth.
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I almost didn’t want to pray, I was so upset. I guess that probably sounds extreme, especially if you are not a sports family or if sports are not such an integral part of your life, like they are ours.
I went grudgingly into my quiet time. I wanted to be okay with whatever God was doing in my son’s life, but I also struggled with how God appeared to be doing that. I WAS thankful that Brock hadn’t been hurt worse in that last game. He, quite literally, could have broken his neck if he had hit a bit differently. He could have also come away with a severe concussion or a broken bone. The fact that he didn’t even have a headache and only had some aches and pains was a testament to God watching over him.
Still, I hurt for my son and his dashed hopes of a great senior season. Worse, I couldn’t make it better. There was nothing I could do to change things or make him feel better. I felt helpless. Is there a worse feeling as a parent?
As I did my Bible study that morning, God quietly spoke to my heart. “Your word I gave you this year is enough. You want to share that message, that I am enough because of your own experience. How can I be enough when you walked through a deep valley of grief and still not be enough to walk your son through disappointment?”
You guys. It was like I had been in a dark room, standing next to a lamp, and I had finally thought to turn it on.
It is so much easier to trust God with yourself and your own hurts and disappointments, than it is to trust Him with your children’s.
But He is still enough. In fact, He is more than enough to meet every need our children have.
In many ways, parenting older children is so much more difficult than when they were little. Yes, they can dress and feed themselves, and it is a rare night that I am up with them now. I also just really enjoy my kids and the conversations we have.
But as our kids get older, their issues become more complex. We can’t fix it with a Spiderman bandaid and a juice box. Often, when our kids fall, it isn’t physically, and we can no longer pick them up, dust them off and set them on their feet. They have to do that for themselves.
It takes more trust to step back and not intervene when they hurt or go through hard things. Yes, we can offer our support, but often there is nothing we can tangibly do or should do, anyway. And that’s hard as a mom.
But as my son reaches the next stage and walks into young adulthood, I can rest in the fact that just as God is more than enough for me, He is also enough for my son.
So, what’s part of parenting are you struggling to trust God with? I’d love to hear about it!