Sunday, January 13, 2013

Basketball and the Octopus

Being a parent is an odd job.  The only real training you get is on the job, and the only real learning you do is after you’ve messed up.   Thankfully, Holy Spirit steps in from time to time (when allowed) and does some pretty profound things.

Lindsey has a new found love, basketball.  Yes, I know she does lots of things, but they are all on the coattails of her sister.  Basketball is the FIRST thing I’ve ever seen her truly get passionate about. From the moment she was introduced to the game she has done nothing but dribble around the house and visit the basketball court next door (supervised by a parent of course).

Being the gung-ho kind of gal I am, I thought I’d see if there was a basketball league in our area for her age.  As it so happened (and I don’t believe it was coincidence, I believe it was God) I found a Christian basketball league that was starting practices the same day that I called, and they had ONE SPOT OPEN on the 2nd-3rd grade team.

I excitedly told Lindsey about it and she promptly burst into tears.  I was taken aback to say the least.  So after some consoling I began probing, because that’s how I roll.   Don’t you like to play basketball?  Yes.  Do you want to learn the rules of basketball?  Yes.   Do you want to get to play with other kids?  Yes.   Do you want to get a cool uniform?  Yes.

Blink. Blink.

Then WHY are you blubbering?   “I’m scared.”   Then it hit me, one of the giants that grips my husbands side of the family had taken aim at Lindsey.  I’ve seen glimpses of this giant lurking around her before.  But never have I seen it grip her so, and it flat out made me mad.

I didn’t really know what to do, or say and I kind of did one of those “A little help here please God” prayers under my breath.  Then I opened my mouth and God filled it with words of liberty for Lindsey.

“Do you know what an octopus is?”   Yes.   “You know how it’s this big scary looking thing with all these arms?”  Yes.  “Well fear, is like an octopus.”  (Blink.Blink.)   “You see if you get close to an octopus, it reaches out with one of it’s arms and grabs you.  Then it grabs you with another arm.  Before you know it you’re so wrapped up in this octopus that you can’t do anything.”   (Blink.Blink.)

“Fear is the same, if you let it, it’ll wrap around you in one thing.  Then in another, and before you know it you’re so wrapped up in fear that you can’t do or try or enjoy anything.   There are too many wonderful things in life to experience to let fear stop you.”   (Blinking has stopped and the light bulb of understanding is starting to shine.)

“Basketball is one of those wonderful things that fear is trying to take away from you, and you can’t let fear do that…and sometimes as hard as it sounds, we have to do it afraid, right in the middle of being afraid we have to do it.”

She was suddenly calm, as she squeaked out “ok”.    I shared several scriptures with her about not being afraid because God is always with us.  Then the excitement of getting to play basketball on a team took over and she was downright giddy for the rest of the morning/afternoon.

Fast forward several hours and we’re walking across the parking lot to the gym.  I see the muscles in her jaws tighten, and the rims of her eyes start to turn pink…and I could just make out her whispers to herself “do it even if you’re afraid, do it even if you’re afraid”.

That one hour sped by.  At first Lindsey was hesitant and obviously nervous.  Then she loosened up a little bit at a time.  When we left she exclaimed “Basketball totally rocks Mom!”

At bedtime, after prayers I told her I was proud of her for facing her fear and trying.   She grinned really big and said “The octopus didn’t get me!”

Thanks God, because I totally couldn’t have come up with that on my own.

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