Remember Who You Are
I enjoy being a football mom way more than I ever imagined I would. I told Ethan and Brendan, my two boys who are playing, they are spoiling their dad and I. They’ve each had undefeated seasons so far. I can’t imagine cheering them on yet in this new endeavor and seeing them lose. I’m sure that day will come, but for now – we are enjoying watching them learn and grow in knowledge and love of the sport and sharing the joy of each win.
I also love the sport for what it is teaching my boys. Ethan is still on the smaller side. I’m sure he will shoot up at some point, but right now many of the other 7th graders tower over him. He gets out there though with heart and sheer determination. He has no fear! The coaches play him again and again because they like his attitude and that he will go for the tough tackles that others hesitate in. If that doesn’t teach him volumes about attitude and determination, I don’t know what will.
Brendan on the other hand is huge for a freshman. He is sturdy with big hands. He also plays with all of his heart. Even though he’s only played two seasons before this year, he was picked to start on defense and punt return on the Pflugerville High School Freshman B team. At first, he was disappointed to be on the B team, but then getting to start and play through all the games has given him such great experience that he is growing in confidence and the coaches are getting a chance to see what he has in him.
Both Brendan and Ethan have growth related aches and pains they work through every day. Ethan’s is Sever’s Disease and we suspect Brendan has Osgood Schlatter’s – the equivalent of what Ethan has, but in his knees instead of the feet where Ethan’s flares up. Knowing they will outgrow it makes them push through the pain and keep going. Brendan comes home and ices and soaks just to ease the aches. Then he gets back out there the next day and kills it again. All with a good attitude. I am so proud of him.
That in and of itself is producing a determination and strength in him that is admirable. As if that weren’t lesson enough, Brendan had his first taste of politics on the field this week. An injured player from the A team, out four weeks, suddenly showed up on the B team practice field this Monday and told Brendan the coaches said he was going to be starting in Brendan’s position. Brendan was angry and bummed all at the same time. He came home after practice and was beside himself when he told us what happened. He believed it to be true.
Over the course of this year the most often used phrase I’ve said to Brendan on the ride to school in the mornings is, “Remember Who You Are.” This gave me a chance to drive that lesson home a little further. When I asked him if what his team-mate said threw him off his game, he admitted it did. I said, “He was likely trying to rattle you. And if so, he got the result he wanted today. More than likely he’s scared and feels like he has to prove himself again to the coaches. Until you hear from them that you are replaced you need to keep working hard, believing for the best, and remember who you are, whose you are, who is on your side, who is with you and for you.” I reminded him we can pray in those moments when people’s agendas cause them to act in difficult ways that rattle our worlds and to trust God with the outcome. I had him repeat scriptures to me out loud to see the effect they had on his mindset. He quoted scriptures as I said them. Verses such as:
If God is for me who or what can stand against me. Romans 8:31 (my paraphrase)
No weapon that is formed against me will prosper; And every tongue that rises against me I will show to be in the wrong. For this is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And this is their vindication from Him… Isaiah 54:17
Before God formed me in the womb He knew me, before I was born he set me apart; He appointed me as a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5
These were just a few of the verses he repeated. Whether he wanted to admit it or not in that moment, David and I saw his countenance changing and knew it was working. I finished by reading aloud to him Ephesians 6, reminding him the word of God is the sword of the spirit. It’s what we use to fight these kinds of battles where circumstances around us create storms of doubt and discouragement inside of us. Ephesians 6 also gave him a chance to remember we aren’t fighting flesh and blood. His battle isn’t with a peer who is coming back from an injury and wants his position. His battle is with the enemy of his heart who will do anything to throw him off his game in life. I then told Brendan our words have power, and yep – you guessed it, read him the verse about life and death being in the tongue, and told him not to let one more negative word come out of his mouth about this situation. To use the tools God’s given him, pray, and leave it in God’s hands – trusting him with the outcome.
And just so you know the rest of the story – Brendan went to school on Tuesday and talked to his coaches, asking if what the boy said was true. And to his pleasure found they weren’t removing him from his starting position of corner back, where he shines the most, but were going to find a way to give the other player a chance to rotate in and see how he does as he’s been out for so long. I’m so thankful too for Brendan to have an opportunity to learn compassion for a teammate. I asked him how he would feel were he in his shoes. That was a perspective he likely hadn’t thought of!
What a great teaching moment this presented to me on so many levels. I sent Brendan the image at the top of this blog Tuesday morning. A great reminder for him. All day I prayed for him when he crossed my mind. And I was thrilled when God came through for him in such a faith building way, and so quickly. Go God!
Let’s Pray – Father God thank you for the teaching moment’s life presents to us as parents to instill in our kids how to practically live out the truths of your word. Thank you for every moment they listen and apply what we teach to them. For anyone today who is walking through a challenging situation and taking it to heart and feeling afraid, I pray you remind them who they are, whose they are, who is in them, who is for them, and who is on their side. Bring to mind scriptures that can help them lift their eyes back to you and place there hope back in you. In Jesus name, amen