This year, it's a different story. These little pitchers are amazing. They get up there and do their wind up and get that ball in there. Well, most of the time. Okay - at least 50% of the time. There are the wild pitches and some of them come right at the poor batters head, or arm or back or groin (they have to wear cups this year)....and it hurts.
It has caused a bit of fear to come into the game. There are those that seem to be naturally able to handle pain and they get right up in the batters box and deal. They don't get hit that much apparently. One of the twins is like that. J. gets up there and he hits the ball...seemingly fearless. I can't remember if he has been hit by the ball yet or not...that makes me think he hasn't - since, surely I would remember.
S. has been hit a record number of times. The most on our team. I am full of fear myself when he gets up to bat...and I am not the one in harms way. He has developed a fear that keeps him from wanting to be in the game at all. He will claim a headache, or a sore throat or a stomach ache, trying to avoid hitting. We have put our foot down (and it makes me sad) and told him he is on the team and he needs to overcome his fear...but doggone it - the next time he gets up there he gets pegged again.
But let me tell you about bravery. He gets up to bat and sure enough one is flung in there and hits him on the shoulder then glances off his shoulder and hits him in the chin - right in between the chin strap and the face mask. He goes down in a heap. Coach runs over, picks him up checks him out, encourages him and my little man gets on base and manages to steal two and slide home. Then next bat gets up there and swings the bat, and hits the ball. Wow. The common thing after you get pegged is to pray for a walk. So most of the kids that are scared of the ball stand there and watch it go by. So for S to get in there and swing - well...it is a small victory in and of itself.
Next game. He gets up to bat and WHAM! Right in the same place as the previous game...thankfully this time it did not hit his face...but it smacked the already bruised and sore part of his arm - he goes down. Coach again runs over, picks him up, encourages him and he goes to first and manages to bring it home. I am sure his next time up to bat that he is going to watch the ball go by praying for that walk. But no, my brave boy gets up in the batters box and swings away. Hits a pop fly to the second baseman....but to my eyes it was a home run...a small victory for my sweet boy. I could not have been more proud.
My eyes are full of tears as I write this. My little boy is not loving baseball right now. He loves the game but it has been hard for him lately. His fear almost consumes him sometimes. But with encouragement from his Dad and me and from his coaches he manages to pull it together and succeed. What a beautiful picture.
I see that God has given us this same thing. We live a life of fear at times. We struggle through countless difficult situations. And it makes us scared. What next? How will I manage? I don't think I can go through this again. I am sure you have thought of these things at least once.
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
The fellowship of believers...yes Church on Sunday - this allows us to be encouraged. To hear the Word and be encouraged at how we all struggle. How we find victory and success and can bear each others burdens.
1 But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead.
I encourage you to fight your fear through prayer, through the Word, through accountability in the Church on Sunday mornings and finding a friend who is willing to come along side of you...no matter how boring you feel your fear is to them...and get in the batters box for pete's sake! Swing away! Keep living the life you have been given. The hard things we deal with do make us better, they create depth and empathy and such great character. They make us more like our heavenly Father. And this is, afterall, one of our true rewards.
Do Not Fear.