Friday, January 22, 2010

The little boy who stole my heart

   Fourteen years ago today, I was in the hospital preparing to deliver my second baby--our first son.  Grant came into this world at 3:12 on January 22nd, 1996.  After Elisabeth had been born, I could not imagine being able to love another child the way I loved her.  But from that very first moment I held this new baby boy, my heart grew exponentially; and he filled the space.  Through the years, he has continued to steal my heart.  
  Grant entered the world without a thought of caution.  In fact, just as I was about to deliver him, there were minor complications; but he made it through without a moment's hesitation and was born perfect and healthy. This is how he continues to approach life.  Even to this day, I'm not sure if he has ever thought about something twice before doing it.  If he has an idea, he goes with it....whether good or bad.  As a mom this can be quite maddening at times.  In fact, it drives me quite batty.   But it is how God has wired him.
   Grant has a cool demeanor and seems to have so much self-confidence.  It surprises me.  He cracks me up with the stories he makes up and tells or in the morning when he has to tell me every single detail of the dream he had the night before.  He loves playing with little children and it makes my heart swell to watch him play with them.  He is becoming a musician, and I am always surprised by his natural ability to "hear" the music.  He's not too cool  to build with his Legos or have Nerf wars.  He is at the age where he tries to "show up" his dad every chance he gets...but Dad can still take him in most things.   He enjoys reading, but he is also athletic.  And although he will say that he "hates" school, he is very smart.  (He just doesn't want anyone else to know it.)  Grant has never had a lack of friends, either.  Whereever he goes, people are drawn to him.  I think it is because he accepts people for who they are.  I've been moved by his compassion toward those who are hurting.  For instance, one year for his birthday he asked for no presents.  Instead he asked for family and friends to give money to donate to the victims of the big tsunami that his Indonesia.
  I am excited to see how God is developing him into a strong young man.  My prayer is that he will be a godly influence to those around him.  I pray that he will allow God to continue to work in his life and be moldable to God's working.
   Happy Birthday Grant!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Life's Wrestling Meet

Grant has taken up wrestling.  This is a sport I have never been interested in.  I grew up in a town where, although the school had a wrestling team, it was definitely not the favored sport.  When I was a teacher, the school's wrestling team was very strong and I attended a few meets; but it never had much appeal to me.   But now is a different story.  This is MY boy out there!
Wrestling is among the most ancient of athletics, right alongside running.  I can imagine Cain and Abel, and maybe little Seth, wrestling with one another out in the field.  I'm sure Adam had to step in from time to time to "break them up."  Wrestling today is one of the most pure sports, as well.  With two people matched up as equally as possible according to size, they step onto the mat with very little equipment or protective gear.  They shake hands and at the signal, they go to head-to-head, hand-to-hand.  Sometimes the stronger one wins.  Sometimes the quicker one wins.  Sometimes the craftier one wins.  Just the two of them with no one else to depend on and no one else to blame.  And when it is over, they shake hands again---no one is angry, no one is upset.  It is pure sportsmanship!

Everytime Grant steps out onto the mat,  my Mother's heart starts racing and my stomache begins churning.  A wrestling match only lasts 6 minutes at the most....but those brief moments seem to last an eternity.  I wrench my hands, hold my breath, cross my fingers, say a prayer, whisper a thanks, and then beam with pride as my son walks off the mat.  It is fun watching him win---especially in those 30-second-pin matches.  It is hard to watch him lose--to watch him struggle against another and not seem to be able to get the edge he needs.  But whether he wins or loses, I always feel so proud of him for getting out there and giving his best.  He does too; everytime he steps out onto the mat, he gives his 100%--his all.

Last weekend while at a tournament, waiting for Grant's turn to wrestle, we stood next to our friends whose son, Josiah, was wrestling.  He was wrestling for the championship in his division and it was a tough match for him.  We were up on the second floor of the gymnasium, right above where Josiah was wrestling, looking down on the mat.  As we stood there, with Josiah down by a few points and struggling to hold on, Josiah's dad was yelling for him to turn it around, cheering for him, shouting encouragements down to him.  I'm not sure if Josiah could hear his dad or not, but he did end up turning it around.  He won the match and took first-place in his weight-class!  And when he did, I looked at his dad.  He was beaming!  He was so proud!  It was as if he, too, had won that match!

And that is when it occurred to me.  Wrestling is not only an ancient sport; it is not only a pure sport; but wrestling is a life sport.  As we go through our days, weeks, months, even years, sometimes life is easy but at other times it is a struggle.  Sometimes we take what comes our way and we "pin" it down with no problems.  But other times, our circumstances are tougher and we wrestle with them--and it is difficult.  Sometimes it takes all we have just to keep from getting pinned.  Other times it feels like we are barely able to keep ourselves on the mat. 

But regardless of the circumstances--whether easy or difficult--God, the Father, is in Heaven cheering for us, encouraging us, and even offering us tips on how to "turn it around."  He wants us to win!  He wants us to pin it down.  When we are struggling with sin or circumstances, God's heart is wrenched; I believe His stomach must churn; I bet He holds His breath.  He wants us to defeat our opponent of sin and difficult circumstances.  He wants us to win!!!  When we do, He beams with pride for us!  When we---His children--win, He wins, too!

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)

"Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)