I’m steadily coming to terms that with having not only all boys, but three of them, paired with a husband who is the head coach of a competitive football program who also played Division 1 college ball, that #mylifewiththesekids will entail a whole lot of sports! I mentioned before that my husband (who’s nickname is “Red”) and I are elementary school sweethearts, and he stalked me enough to keep me around throughout college as well. I went to his college football games sheerly for the excitement of “Michigan” football and to be a part of the 110, 000 plus screaming fans that attended religiously, but more importantly, to be that girlfriend who stood outside after the game proudly awaiting her handsome Michigan football player. Ok ok, and also to show that he was 100% not up for grabs to any lurking groupies. Never mind that I took books to the game and read throughout, causing evil blank stares from Red’s uncle John. Hey, I just didn’t get it! Annnnnd I still don’t! Guess I need to get my act together. That or someone needs to create “A Mother’s Guide to Learning Football”.
Here’s my Pookie in action back in the day!
Being the girlfriend of the #1 drafted HS football quarterback back in the 1999-2000 season, and then the girlfriend of a D1 University of Michigan football player did not inspire me to buckle down and learn the ins and outs of the football game. Nor did I care that much to learn as his wife when he took on the head coaching position for the JV Football team at his high school alma mater. But I have a feeling my days of feigning ignorance has come to an end, because as a stalker mom, I want to be intimately involved in what my boys find interest in since as their mom, it is part of my job to encourage, motivate, and be their biggest cheerleader. Don’t get me wrong, I was also my husband’s biggest cheerleader, I just ain’t know what I was cheering about, hehe.
Jabin, our first born son, has already demonstrated a passion for the sport, and even at 6 years old, he has played competitively for 3 seasons and just started his 4th with i9sports.com. I know that as a quick learner and a serious observer paired with natural athletic ability, that he will one day be a force to be reckoned with.
But today I watched my son battle fear, doubt, and unbelief as he tearfully declared he did not want to join the other players on the field as they warmed up and began practice. My husband and I exchanged confused glances, tried to nudge him on the field, but was again met with extreme hesitation.
“Jabin, what’s the matter? Why don’t you want to play?” I asked, with a wrinkle developing between my brow that translated my state of confusion and worry.
“My finger hurrrtttss!” He explained as he blinked back the pools of water glistening in his eyes.
“OK no problem! Red, can you grab him some ice?” My husband then led him over to an i9sports staff member where they hooked him up with ice. So I anticipated Jabin to be ready to play momentarily. But I soon discovered that wasn’t the issue. Last season’s flag football program put him in the 4-6 year old age group where he was one of the oldest players. He was bigger, faster, and filled with confidence knowing he was one of the best on the field. Today was different. This group of boys were in the age group of 6-9, so he looked up and saw that he was now one of the smallest, and fear gripped his little heart and convinced him he had no business playing with those boys.
I then had a conversation with myself while silently communicating with my husband. We took turns explaining that he no longer could play with smaller kids, because he was too good, just way too advanced. And yes, we puffed him up and slightly exaggerated as any loving parents would do. No judgement here, remember? LOL. We talked more, reassuring him how good he was and how he was so ready to go out there and just have fun, and slowly the liquid trail dropping down his face began to slow down, but as soon as we would give a little push for him to run on the field, he would break down again, exclaiming “Noooo, I don’t want to play!” For a moment, I considered suggesting we let him go home, but on the contrary, I had thoughts like “ummm, I know you AIN’T after we done spent this money!” and I wanted to drag him on the field whilst kicking and screaming and make him play anyway. But I knew none of those would be the right decision. I knew exactly what to do.
“Jabin, lets pray!”
DEAR FEAR, DOUBT, & UNBELIEF, I COMMAND YOU TO FLEE!
I bent down to where my forehead met his, covered his hands in mine, and began to cast out the fear, doubt, and unbelief that threatened to convince him he was not good enough.
“Father, in the name of Jesus, we come before you asking to soothe Jabin right now. Lord thank you for taking away the fear and the doubts that he cannot play with those bigger boys. Lord, remind him that he is strong, he is fast, and he is gifted, and that this sport is all about having fun, learning, and getting better. Lord we thank you for filling him with confidence once again, and the reassurance that you are with him and that your heavenly angels are here to watch over him and keep him safe. Lord we thank you for all these things, and we give you all the honor, glory, and the power, in Jesus Name, amen.”
Throughout our prayer, Jabin cried even harder, and at one point his cry reflected a sob. I know that the Lord met him where he was, and that even as a 6 year old little boy, he is sensitive to the Holy Spirit and he knows that when we pray, God hears us. After we prayed, I saw his tears dry up for the final time. He wiped his nose, and he directed his gaze towards the field.
“You let us know when you’re ready, ok?” I offered.
He discreetly nodded his head as he continued to study the other players. My husband and I exchanged glances once again, and then my husband, led by Caleb, all walked Jabin onto the field where we reminded him, “Jabin, you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to! Go have fun!” When he stepped onto that field and got in line, I saw those negative thoughts that he was feeding himself lose their power. I saw him relax, put his “game face on”, and listen to the coach’s instructions. I in turn felt my heart swell with thankfulness and gratitude, and also for parents that raised me to know and commune with the Lord. I stood proud knowing that with my husband, we were bringing up our boys in the way that they should go (Proverbs 22:6). Due to an overtired toddler by the name of Elijah, I had to leave the game before it even started, but when Jabin got home, he sat on my lap and showed me all the video footage his dad took. He was so proud of himself and his team’s victory!
Today, I watched my son learn a valuable lesson about how to give his fear to the Lord:
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG)