Missing the mark

A bat to the head and the scars to prove it {when good intentions go bad}

If you were to walk into my house at any given time (unless I know company is coming and I've hidden everything) you would find sports cards laying around. And even though they aren't allowed in the house, you'd find a ball. My boys like sports. Even my two-year-old is always wanting to play catch or shoot for the hoop. All year long we cheer at basketball, soccer, football, and baseball games. Thankfully, we've been injury free up until this past baseball season.


To be honest, I kinda hate baseball. The season is just so long. When it starts, we all have to bundle up and huddle for warmth as spring slowly enters Michigan. By the time we are finishing everyone is in shorts complaining that the bleachers face directly into the sun. Often, the games seem to be scheduled in the middle of nap time. We rarely make it to the 7th inning stretch without a fit because the snacks are gone, no more candy is allowed, and the toys we brought are suddenly "so boring".  Even so, there we sat this year to watch our oldest and middle pIay.


This particular game did not start until seven in the evening. Our team was up to bat, and since my boy had batted the last inning, I knew he wouldn't this time around. We weren't watching too closely because his little brothers were completely over it. They were busy running near the side field where we were standing. It was during that time when I heard a few people in the crowd take a sharp breath in. It was collective enough to catch my attention. I directed my eyes to the field and saw a little boy, right near the dugout, laying on the ground. I immediately thought "oh shoot, somebody, got hit with a ball." Before I had time to reassure my mind it couldn’t be Greyson. Another dad standing near us asked, " Isn't that Grey?”


 At age nine, my oldest is seeking independence, but sometimes he still wants his mom around. As we quickly walked closer to the dugout I was having a mental debate about whether  or not to go to him. Before I could make my decision, his coaches raced over. At the same time, I realized he hadn't been hit by a fly ball. He had actually been hit in the head by a swinging bat. Now there was no debating, my husband rushed out and swooped him up. 


Much later we learned that Greyson had noticed a bat lying on the ground. He had told me through tears that he hadn’t wanted a teammate to trip on it. He ignored the rule that you must have a helmet on outside the dugout and scrambled to grab the bat. What he didn’t account for, was that his team member was taking practice swings in the same area. Wrong place, wrong time. WHACK!


Have you ever felt like you just didn’t see the bat coming? Maybe your intentions were pure, but your timing was misplaced? Rather than take a step back and analyze the entire scene, you cannonballed right in. After all, you just wanted to help. Man, I’ve been there and I hate that place. Not too long ago I found myself smack dab in the middle of a similar scenario. It wasn’t until after I was lying on the ground in a puddle of tears that I started to ask God some questions.


When I did finally take some time away to pray, God led me to a really good book that helped me sort out my thoughts. Then he gently whispered to me, "I never told you to involve yourself there.”  The minute I heard that correction drop in my spirit, I felt a multitude of emotions. Embarrassment, anger, disbelief but also peace. My first thought was, “you’re just telling me this now?”  Even though I was the one who hadn’t asked in the first place, this project had taken up a lot of my time and I was feeling frustrated. Still, for the first time in a while, I had clarity and direction.

Weeks later, I was still unsettled. I was wrestling with feeling like a failure. The thing was, I had done a ton of work and helped in a lot of different ways and once I realized it was time to put that project down, I felt like a quitter. I don’t like to quit. Finishing strong and receiving praise and approval is much more style. I was having coffee with a mentor and giving her an update on the situation. I told her I felt dumb for missing the queues and that I was disappointed in myself. My mentor said to me, “but aren’t you glad that God loves you enough to not leave you in that place?”  I had let myself believe that God was just waiting to knock me down after I messed it all up.  But God wasn’t swinging a bat in my direction. The minute I fell under my self-imposed weight, He swooped right in. I was just too busy feeling sorry for myself to think of it that way.


The story didn’t just end when my husband carried our little man off the field. As we sat next to our son on the bench two women walked over. One was a nurse and she had brought us an ice pack, the other a Physicians Assistant. Both checked for signs of a concussion and took a peek at the sizable bump forming on his head. They offered solid advice and encouragement. After they walked away, I suddenly remembered my other kids. Seriously, how embarrassing. I jumped up from the bench and saw that the couple we were talking with had stepped in to help with them. One of my boys was playing catch and the other was being snuggled. Everyone was okay. Later that night, as I laid down in bed, I got a little choked up. All these different scenarios of what could have happened played through my mind and none of them ended well. We could have rushed to the hospital because of a serious injury like a cracked skull, a crushed eye or damaged ear. Instead, he just has a scar.


And do you know, my story hasn’t ended either. When I sat down to talk with God, His Holy Spirit offered me some solid advice and encouragement too. God placed people in my life at just the right time. When I compare my son's story with my own, it helps me better understand something that I learned years ago from a gifted teacher (thanks, dad). When it comes to dealing with the messes we can easily create for ourselves, it’s really important to grasp that 


 Correction is not rejection, it’s redirection. 


Isn't that so true? We all have scares. Sometimes they are easy to spot and other times we’re the only ones who know about them. But our scars aren’t there because of rejection. We’ve got to remember that our scars are there because they are a sign of our healing. Scares are marks left behind from the process of our Heavenly Father doing a good work in us.