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  • Toni Wilbarger

Play Ball!


My great-niece Harper is five years old and playing T-ball this summer. For those who might not know, T-ball is like baseball or softball, but the kids are so young that sometimes they hit the ball off a tee. It's been a long time since I attended a T-ball game, so I'm discovering the joy of it all over again. The kids in Harper's league range from ages three to six. Some of the three year olds are so tiny their bats are nearly as big as they are. I'm having a ball (pardon the pun) watching them.


Each child bats twice, so basically it's two innings. No one keeps score; this is just for fun and to introduce the kids to the game. The coach pitches the ball three times, and if the player doesn't hit the ball, then they get to use the tee. After the kid hits the ball, then he or she runs to first base. What's amusing to me are the kids' reactions when they finally hit. Some have learned to run right away. Others, though, are fascinated that they caused the ball to scurry away from them. They stare at the ball and forget to run. Or they run, but instead of going to first base, they take off after the ball and pick it up themselves instead of letting the kids on the other team do it.


Harper has her own fan club. Besides her parents, she has her grandparents from both sides, her uncle, her great-grandparents (my mom and dad) and me all cheering her on. We've parked ourselves on or near the bleachers and wave to her as she runs to the next base or home plate. She looks for us and waves every time, which probably isn't recommended if you're trying to be an expert base runner.


I was thinking that as we journey through life, our experiences can be sort of like a T-ball game. We are God's little children when we undertake something new for Him-- starting a Bible study, for example, or figuring out different ways to serve Him. Sometimes we start out and our attempt really takes off (like a ball from a tee). But then we might just stand there, amazed that something worked, and we become stuck in that spot instead of following through with the next thing God would have us do. Or maybe we try to keep handling things ourselves when we should let Him take the lead, like our little guy who tried to field his own ball after he hit it.


But when we keep in communication with the Lord, we can feel free to run with the ideas He gives us. As long as we use our gifts for Him (and not for our own personal gain), we can embrace the journey and know God approves. If we're lucky, we have friends and family cheering us on from the sidelines. And maybe--just maybe--we can smile and wave at our Daddy as we run toward home.


Until next time,


Toni



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