People can be more forgiving than you can imagine. But you have to forgive yourself. Let go of what's bitter and move on.
- Bill Cosby
I’m at our youngest son’s first baseball practice. The older brothers have all played, and Isaiah spent a number of years on the bleachers. Now it’s his turn.
And he’s at bat.
Zay is young for his team, and this tugs my heart because he’s small. He seems uncertain, too. He’s a gentle boy and doesn’t have a wild, competitive drive. But he lifts his bat. Positions his feet. Looks at the pitcher-coach. And when the ball comes in, he takes a mighty swing.
It’s a miss.
He takes his stance again. His shoulder sags and the coach notices. Maybe the bat is too heavy? They go to the dugout and find a smaller one. Then they take their places. The ball comes in.
We go on like this for a bit. The coach offers instruction and encouragement. Zay swings. I stay on the sidelines and pray. Another ball. Another swing.
And at last the bat and ball connect!
Isaiah takes off running, but instead of looking ahead, his eyes are on me. He wears a pure-joy grin. His arms are pumping. His legs are moving. But his eyes are locked solid on mine. I worry that he’ll trip. Take a header in the dust. But he stays steady, and soon he’s on base, a gap-toothed smile beaming bright under his blue helmet. He gives me a thumbs up. Then another. Two thumbs in the air and happiness running wild on his face.
I cheer and holler and whistle. Not because of his performance. Because I love him.
And the sweet child grins at me all the while.
We’re all like, that, really, aren’t we? If we’re honest, if we look to a deep place, we want approval. There’s a gentle pulse in the heart, a longing, that beats for acceptance. We hope for someone to celebrate us. To tell us we’re special. To cheer loudly, to see who we are, and to stand on the sidelines, rooting us on.
I’m so thankful that the Lord faithfully does this for me. His Word tells us that he’s with us, and he does this very thing.
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you with his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
What an amazing truth! That the Lord would rejoice and sing over me! I think of the times I’ve searched for approval, hungered for it, craved it. Like when I was an insecure teenager. Or when Lonny and I had ripped our own marriage to shreds. I remember when we moved and there wasn’t a friend in sight.
And the Lord had been there, rejoicing, all along.
Just because he loves me.
Isaiah makes his way around the bases. He removes his helmet and takes a place on the bench. What a blessing to celebrate my son. It’s my prayer that as Isaiah grows, he’ll take joy in the Lord’s rejoicing even more than he’s taken pleasure in mine.
May he walk in confidence of the Lord’s love. May he be comforted by the gladness. May he hear the loud singing.
It’s truly the most beautiful song.
Shawnelle Eliasen and her husband Lonny have been married for twenty-five years. They have five sons and raise their bevy of boys in an old Victorian near the Illinois banks of the Mississippi River. Their sons, Logan, Grant, Samuel, Gabriel, and Isaiah, range in age from twenty-one to six with Shawnelle home teaching the youngest three.
Shawnelle has been writing for six years, contributing regularly to Guideposts magazine, Daily Guideposts devotional and other inspirational publications. She would say that life with her men moves faithfully, on fast forward. But it’s her heart’s desire, her passionate prayer, to see God’s goodness and glory in the fullness of her days. She longs to see Him in the unexpected moments, unexpected places, changing the ordinary to extraordinary and bringing quiet, sustaining grace.