I always use to say that I was completely at peace when it came to Brian’s career. I trusted the Lord would put him where He needed him. It was the only area of my life I had patience with because I knew how hard Brian worked towards his dream and I just trusted one day it would all come together for him.
Well this is the point in my journey that complete peace was put to the test!!! And it failed miserably :(.
I shared with you already that Brian had a couple of seasons up and down from the minors to the big leagues with the Phillies. And 2008 was going to be my first season that I was going to travel with him again because we now had a baby girl and I finally had a career that would allow me to work anywhere. That off season he signed with the Washington Nationals. So it was going to be a new experience for both of us.
He went into the spring training feeling great and we loved getting to be together as a family. He didn’t make the team out of spring, but because of his little experience it was not a shock. So we packed up and headed to Columbus, Ohio where their AAA team was at the time.
Brian was used out of the bullpen as the closer and was pitching great!!! And praise Jesus he got called up very soon to the big leagues. He was going to have to meet the team on the road so me and Charlee (our baby girl) flew home. Brian’s last two seasons with the Phillies were so crazy to say the least that I didn’t want to move us to Washington until we felt like he was going to stay up there. I think in one season he had gone back and forth around five times or more. Every time someone got hurt he filled the spot until they came back. So through that experience I assumed that was what was going to happen again.
We were two weeks into him being with the team and he was doing good. He begged me to get up there to be with him. I remember him saying, ” What is the point in me doing this if we can’t even be together?”. Pride was holding me back! I guess I thought if I wasn’t there it wouldn’t hurt as much when it was time for him to go back down. So again I was back to square one in having trouble trusting God.
Against my better judgement I made flights for me, Charlee, and my mother-n-law. We flew to Columbus to pack up our apartment and then drove eight hours to meet Brian in Washington. By the time we got there the game was about to begin so we quickly threw everything in the apartment and headed over to the stadium. I was so excited to see Brian and finally get to be together again. At this point it had been over a month since we last saw him.
Everything was going perfect! We finally might be able to relax and just enjoy this crazy career. And to make it even better just as we found out seats Brian was coming in to relieve the starter. Perfect timing!!
…….NOW this is where I don’t even know…… wow….well for once I’m just kinda speechless. I didn’t think writing about this would make it feel so real again. It still hurts just thinking about how I felt in that moment. It felt and still at this very moment it feels like someone ripped my stomach right out of me. For the first time I was so mad God. I had no understanding. I had no peace. And I was so angry I didn’t even care if it made Him mad right back at me!!! I warned you that I’m honest and this is me being honest. I didn’t want to just trust Him I wanted answers and wanted them NOW!!!! Why?? How???
I guess you are wondering what is it that was so bad. Well up until this outing Brian was pitching good. He came into the game with bases loaded and no outs. Not the easiest jam to get some one out of, but it was his job and I’ve seen him do it plenty of times. But that wasn’t going to happen this time. It was like the flood gates just opened. He got four straight ground balls that just went through holes in the infield. If you don’t know baseball, ground balls is exactly what you need in that situation, but for whatever reason it just didn’t work. Now all the runs score and he begins to look defeated. The rest seemed like a blur to be honest. I think more hits and some walks. By the time the inning was over seven runs scored. Up until this point I had never seen him give up that many runs in a game much less an inning.
At first I thought wow that was some serious bad luck and surely because he has pitched so well this past month they will give him another chance. Two seconds later my phone rings. It’s my friend from Columbus so excited that her husband just got called up and they get to come meet us. I congratulate her, but I knew that they wouldn’t be meeting us. I understood that the only logical explanation was that Brian got moved down before he even made it back to the dugout. Now I wasn’t boiling just yet. My mind continued to battle with the “surely not”. Surely they wouldn’t have such little faith and patience. Which by the way they were the worse team in baseball that year. Why was this game so important anyways, LOL!! That was me trying to reason all this out in my head. But just like everything else, baseball is a business. Kinda sucks the fun out of the game, but that is whole other blog no one would really care to read anyways…ha.
Then my “surely not’s” came to a screaming stop! Brian meet us in the family room after the game with his baseball bag. That baseball bag only meant one thing. But the huge smile on his face confused me at first. It was so good to see him and hug him I didn’t even ask a thing. Just a big family hug first!
Ok so now here it comes….why the bags??? “I got sent down.” Still he is smiling??? At this point I wanted to run to the bathroom and just throw up. To say I was speechless just isn’t strong enough. I don’t even think I had it in me to have an expression on my face. Poor Brian asked if I was mad at him? He said are you going to talk to me? I know he was waiting for the fab words of encouragement I would always give him. I had nothing to give this time. All I could say was I just need some time. What I meant was that I need to have a huge heart to heart with God. I wanted to drive straight to heaven and give him a big piece of my mind.
Here is what was screaming in my head: I finally trusted you enough to come. He has worked so hard and all you do is continue to set him up for failure. Why him? When is this ever going to get easy? Why do you continue to put this dream in his heart if you don’t help him? Just when I let my guard down I fall on my face? I have no peace. I was content. You showed us more and you took it away. Why? How will I trust again? How will I have peace with this? Are you really in control of everything?
Pretty heavy heart right? In a second I had forgotten everything I knew to be true about our Lord and Savior. My hurt for my husband was so big that my flesh won the battle. And even though I tried to think of the truth I knew, I was so mad I didn’t even what to hear it from myself. I wanted to throw the towel in and say that’s it. We aren’t doing this anymore!
There has been plenty of times through Brian’s career he has told me “I’m done, I just want to come home.” And because I have never felt like his heart meant it, I always talk him right back to reality. Well he wasn’t saying that now and I was so shocked. I really thought this is it. If he says it, the truck is already loaded down we can just go home. But I was so wrapped up in my own self pity that I didn’t even have the strength to ask him how he was. I guess the smiles made me think he was better off than me…hahahaha.
When I went to bed that night I had no desire to pray. Instead it was just a long list of mad questions. I remember thinking “you say you know my thoughts before I think them so I might as well just let them all out here”. I’m super ticked off and I need some peace.
There is a song that says “you are good when there is nothing good in me”. The next morning I was covered in His grace. So undeserved!!!! I felt as light as a feather and covered in peace.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
I was so mad at Him! I just questioned everything He promised me. How and why did He give me peace that I couldn’t find on my own? I wasn’t even asking for peace from Him. It was more like a demand. And I truly didn’t except anything from Him because after all it just felt like He had failed me. So why would I believe He would answer anyways. And yet He did! I was humbled and so quickly put back into my place. He did hear! He was there!
Now I do realize what some of you might be thinking…. there are hundreds of thousands of people who have been mad at God for way bigger reasons. And I now agree that was not a life changing devastation, but in my spiritual walk this was the first time I felt like I was handing over my trust and He crushed it. So to me at that point in my life it felt huge. I truly believe this is where the big learning curve of God’s love starts to happen. Where the rubber meets the road. Are we going to trust even when we don’t understand? Will we let those moments bring us closer to Him?
Remember how I shared that Brian’s career was the one area where I thought I totally trusted. That is what makes this so crazy! I didn’t trust at all. In fact that’s what I think God made me see in that moment and that’s why I was so mad. I wasn’t mad at Him. I was mad because finally my weakness was unveiled. I just said I trusted Him in this area because it has been the one thing I have no (not any) control over. And by me saying that was kinda like checking it off the list and allowing me to focus on everything else I could control. Just like me holding off going to meet him there. That was my last attempt in controlling it. And I was so mad because I just wanted to pull the old “I told you so” when it all feel apart. I wasn’t sad about getting sent down after all my little faith already told you that I excepted for that to happen. I was mad that Brian had to go through that and the fact that we hadn’t even been there for three hours and it happened. It just felt like a big slap in the face.
Now looking back I have so much to be thankful for because of that horrible night. Most importantly is that I learned I can totally trust my whole heart with the Lord and He will not only forgive me, but He will still shower His love on my weak weak soul. I love that I can share the good, bad, and the ugly with Him. After all He knows it anyways. He just wants to hear it from me and for me to simply say “I can not be who you want me to be without you!”. I am weak and need forgiveness often. He hears from me a lot! 😉
Secondly…..all that smiling that my tough, handsome, and totally awesome husband was doing through this trial was because he was absolutely miserable there. He just felt too guilty to complain to me. How funny is that??? He said on all the teams he had played for he had never been in a locker room with a worse atmosphere and he was excited about not having to go back. Thankfully for the Washington Nationals, the organization cleaned house after that season and from what I have heard it’s been great ever since. So not only was God answering Brian, He was breaking me for good reasons. Now I ask Brian to please let me know what he is praying for, LOL! Being surprised has never really been my thing. We now try to keep our prayers on the same page. And I’m thankful that I went through that night believing he was torn and that I continued to be so mad and hurt because it brought a healing that wouldn’t have happened. I think it’s so neat that me and Brian are never down at the same time. I love that He gives at least one of us just enough strength to help the other through. I know that’s not luck or chance …that’s God’s grace!
And lastly….the friends we made that season back down in AAA are still some of our greatest friends in the game (even tough we never get to see them 🙁 ) . It was such a fun season. We had a blast! And like I shared before in other post, most of time in the minor leagues you have room mates so that you can afford to live in a nicer area. Well our room mates that year were such a blessing. They loved Charlee like she was their own and helped us so much. Even a bigger blessing was the manager’s wife was holding bible studies for all of us. She was so well educated in the Bible and very passionate about pouring it into us. She answered questions I didn’t even know I should have. We learned so much Bible history that summer and it began a craving in me to know more. That’s when I feel in love with God’s word even more. I started to truly understand how to read the Bible. Brian came home one day and said his coach told him that his wife was excited about how on fire I was for the Lord. I just remember thinking if only she knew I wanted to fight Him a month ago she might think differently. And as far as baseball went, it was fun and easy there! Minus the big paycheck, but here was a great example of the old saying money doesn’t buy happiness. Brian continued to pitch at his best. He never was called back up that year and we didn’t even blink an eye. We were at peace with it.
I almost forgot the biggest blessing of that season! We found out the last month we were there that we were going to add another sweet addition to our family! Big surprise to us, but we couldn’t help be so excited! So no we didn’t finish the season in the big leagues, but we got to go home and surprise our family and friends with something way cooler! Cole is the sweetest little reminder of that season.
Once again His plans were far better than ours! And I wish I could tell you that I haven’t faced any more moments like that again. But I can’t! In fact I think that’s what made writing this one so hard. (i’m surprised my laptop didn’t shut down from tears hitting it) We are still on this crazy journey. And the blessings are far better than the trials, but the trials still hurt. They still get the best of me and Brian. And we still wonder why in the world He continues us on this path. But He does and we are still here trying our best until he tells us differently. Brian gets asked all the time how much longer he is going to do this. I wish we knew that answer.
Some of you may wonder why then do I proclaim my faith if I still have the same struggles? That’s easy to answer now! His grace is enough and He gives me just that everyday. Some days it feels like barely enough, but then there are days where I am exploding with peace. And I have seen too many times the blessings that come through trials. Blessings I could have never even known to ask for. Trials will always be hard and they will always be there, but without my faith I might miss the blessings through them.
In closing I just want to share that God uses different things in each of our lives to reach us. Me and Brian at the end of the day are always thankful that in this season of our life He uses a silly little game to reach us. We are well aware that there is tougher trials that many face. But no matter how big or small someone thinks your trial is, if it’s big to you then it’s big to Him! You might not relate to the uncertainty of a professional sport lifestyle, but you too might be or has been mad at God. Tell Him! Maybe a lil nicer than I did the first time…whoops! Ask for forgiveness in your questioning of Him and pray like crazy for peace and understanding until it comes! There are days I feel like I am asking every five seconds for peace. I just know He finally answers just to shut me up. But whatever, I’ll gladly it!
Prayer for today:
Lord I want to trust in you with all my heart! Not most of it, ALL of it! I don’t want to see trials through my own understanding. I want to bring it all to you for you to make it right. Help me see. Help me believe. I want to praise your through every storm with a joyful heart knowing without a doubt you have gone before me. I don’t just pray, I fall to my knees and beg for this in Jesus’s name, Amen!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6