I Will Protect You: Lesson Learned on the Ball Field

Written by April Dawn White

softball pixabayCheers and chatter erupts from the dugout as a passel of ten and eleven-year-old-girls chant, “If I were you and you were me, I’d scoot your bootie back. I’d scoot your bootie back.”

Over the chatter of the opposing team, my daughter overhears the coach call her name. Rachel jogs from left field to receive instruction. Although, I cannot hear the conversation, I can see his action. The coach has called Rachel in as the relief pitcher.

Rachel approaches the mound and throws a few warm up pitches. Andrew, her brother, runs to the mound to deliver her face mask (a required piece of equipment). Rachel shakes her head from side to side, refusing to wear it for the warm up.

Pacing behind the bleachers, I holler, “Wear the mask! I made that face and I will protect that face!” The other parents and the umpire turn to me and we all laugh.

The umpire turns back to Rachel and says, “Pitcher, bases are loaded and you have zero outs.” My pacing continues as I sarcastically murmur under my breath, “Great, just great.”

As the game continues, the words I yelled across the ball field echo in my mind. “I made that face. I will protect that face.” God reminds me of a similar statement found in the Old Testament:

“I have made you and I will carry you. I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Isaiah 46:4)

On the ball field today, God spoke to my heart. He reminded me:

  • When a health crisis comes out of left field or when life throws you a curve ball, remember that the same God who made you will protect you.softball-pixabay

  • Be ready, watch, and listen for the coach’s voice. We never know when God will call our name for our next assignment, but we need to be listening intently to His voice over the chatter of this world.

Even though a neuromuscular disease struck me out of left field, today God reminded me that the same God who made me will protect me. I am listening to His voice and “It is well with my soul.”

There’s No Crying in Softball

Me and Rachel softball 2016 CROPPED“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:19, NIV)

I pull on my favorite JMU sweatshirt, elbowing the tiny faucets at the corners of my eyes. Tears trickle down my face.  Eager to pitch, Rachel pounds her fist in her mitt.  Wearing a determined game face, she appears older than ten and a half.

Rachel tosses a glove in my direction. This is my glove, the one I’ve owned since I was a teen. I stare at soft leather glove as if it is a foreign object.  Slipping it onto my left hand I examine the look. Rachel counts out thirty paces and asks, “Are you sure you can do this Mom?”

“Let’s give it a try.” I respond.

I stand amazed at what is about to take place. I lift my eyes to the sky and say a prayer of thanks. I’m about to play catch with my daughter, a feat I’ve lacked strength for over four months.  The faucets creek more and I turn so she doesn’t see the tears.

Every pitcher needs a catcher so I squat down, just a little. Rachel winds up and releases the ball.

“Steeeriiiike!” I yell out.home plate CROPPED

A slow grin spreads across her face and mine too.  She throws a few more over our chalk drawn plate. The faucets are creek more and I am weeping in my middle of our street. I weep for lost moments with my children. I weep because I didn’t think I’d be able to do this again.

I weep because this feels like an old self activity and I thought that old self had vanished.

Rachel understands my concern. “Mom, are you okay?”

I nod, “I’m fine, I’m fine” running the arm of my sweatshirt across my face.

20150520_175828-1In her best Tom Hanks impression from the movie “A League of Their Own” Rachel playfully jabs, “There’s no crying in softball!”

I release a full body belly laugh. This too feels like an old self activity.

Rachel continues to throw strikes and balls across our imaginary plate. With the strength given by God and new medication, I am able to pick the ball up and throw it back.

Even in these times of uncertainty. I take joy in finding God’s goodness in the land of the living. I will soak up every good day I have because “It is well with my soul.”

~April Dawn White

Photos courtesy of Author

Bus Stop of Blessings

Written by April Dawn White
Is it just me, or do you ever have feelings of inadequacy?
It was one of those blah days. I had no reason to possess this temporary humdrum emotional state. Yet, I could not shake feelings of inadequacy in every aspect of my life: writing, marriage, parenting, career, and friendships.
“Lord, change my perspective. Bless my perspective. Amen.”
I prayed those words as I drove to my parents’ house. Meeting the school bus head on, I slowed to a stop a few feet from my parent’s driveway. Bouncing off the bus and waving enthusiastically, six-year-old Ethan yelled, “Hi, Mrs. White!”
Two more balls of energy jumped off the bus, waving and hollering “Hi!” This brother duo was hard to miss in their neon yellow shirts.  It wasn’t until Finn and Ramsey turned to hug their dad that I recognized the writing on the back of the shirts:
Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for other believers in your speech, behavior, love, faithfulness, and purity. ” (1 Timothy 4:12, ISV)
Tears spilled down my cheeks as the full weight of what I had just witnessed crossed before me.
This past summer, Andrew and Rachel hosted backyard Bible Club every Wednesday. This K2K Club was complete with lesson, games, crafts, and snack. This was completely kid run. The theme for K2K Club was “Little kids learning about a big God.” Between seven and nine kids attended each week.  God abundantly blessed K2K as Andrew and Rachel led three boys, Ethan, Finn, and Ramsey to the Lord.
On the last day of K2K, Andrew and Rachel surprised the kids with neon T-shirts they helped to design. 
On this particular day, I prayed for God to change and bless my perspective. As the three young boys, Andrew and Rachel led to the Lord bounced off the bus, I realized the answer to my prayer, crossed in front of my car. 
 “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”
(Hebrews 10:35-36, NIV)
Within a matter of seconds, those feelings of inadequacy vanished. I had a front row seat to God’s abundant blessings.
What front row blessing have you recently received?
~April Dawn White

 

 

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Crown of Beauty

“[The Lord will] bestow on them a crown of beauty
 instead of ashes…for the display of His glory.”
(Isaiah 61:3, NIV)
I padded into Rachel’s room to return her missing hairbrush.  Oh, the drama displayed by my ten-year-old when such items are missing. I keep telling Rachel “I’m a no drama mama” but she continues to test her acting skills on the family. As I laid down her hairbrush (the pink one with a mirror on one side, because how else are you supposed to know what your hair looks like?) I noticed her open jewelry box and something didn’t look right.
Over the summer Grandma Clark, gave Rachel a wooden flatware chest which would normally hold silverware. Rachel repurposed the large walnut box to hold her costume jewelry. Nestled among the plastic bracelets and BFF necklaces was a golden crown made of diamonds and rubies. Yes, something was certainly out of place.
“A crown of beauty instead of ashes.” (Isaiah 61:3)
I lifted the beautiful crown from its hovel and gazed upon its beauty. We won this pendant at a silent auction in 2010 benefitting our friend, Renee Bach and her Ugandan feeding program, Serving His Children. I recall my husband eyeing the piece and suggested we place a bid.  “Diamonds are Rachel’s birthstone and rubies are yours, April we must bid” urged my beloved.  To our surprise we won and gifted Rachel the responsibility of taking care of this precious piece of realjewelry.
I rubbed the piece, admiring the intricate detail and gemstones. I soaked the piece in cleaning solution and polished it to a shine. How could this piece of jewelry be keeping company with the cheap counterfeits from the tween stores at the mall? This deserved special care and attention. Furthermore, it should be worn not stored in a box. This was meant to be displayed.
“…for the display of His glory.” (Isaiah 61:3, NIV)
As I held the polished pendant I thought about how God rescued me, not only by salvation through Jesus Christ but also from a two year battle of depression.
I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:1-3)
I searched through my own jewelry box and found a simple gold chain. I carefully slid the pendant over the clasp and looked in the mirror. “Thank you Lord, for trading my depression for joy and ashes for beauty. Amen.”
Each time I receive a comment on this necklace, I am able to share of God’s ransomed love and His desire to bestow on each of us a crown of beauty instead of ashes.
~Humbly,

 April

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First Day of School Lesson: Let Go and Let God

Andrew 7th grade & Rachel 5th grade.

“Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7, NIV)

 
“Hurry up and take the picture.” hissed Andrew and Rachel. The first day of school photo is one I will forever cherish, but the kids dread. Andrew is entering 7thgrade and Rachel 5th grade. After embarrassing my kids with a photo and a hug, I shout out, “I love you! Have a great day!” They run off, hoping no one heard me. I rub my hands together and laugh “My job here is done.”
I have my own first day of school tradition, coffee at Panera, with a group of other moms. This year marked the eighth year of meeting and catching up on summer adventures, the kid’s growth spurts, and overall concerns for the coming year.  Before we disbanded our caffeinated selves to Target and Staples, I asked “How can I be praying for you this year?” Balance was the main concern. These women were sincere in their concern for balancing work, family life, parenting issues, sports, and homework. Oh how I can relate. I shared my own prayer request. My longtime friend Sherrita, laid a well-manicured hand on my shoulder and said, “Girl you gotta let go and let God.”  
Let go and let God. She was correct. Over the years I have seen our faithful God work in her life. I think back to the time when she shared, over coffee at this same Panera, that her company was downsizing. Her secure job was being out sourced to another country. What appeared to be a crisis was the beginning of God’s miracle. After graduating with a degree in business, Sherrita chose to work for a large corporation. However, she secretly harbored a desire to own her own salon. After being downsized, my ever stylish friend enrolled in Cosmetology classes and much prayer. She is now a successful business owner of Fusions Salon and Day Spa.
I am thankful for the truth my friend spoke over me. Each passing day, God has used that coffee talk to remind me to “Let go and let God.”
What situation are you harboring that you need to turn over to Him? Let go and let God!

 

~April Dawn White
 
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Recommended Reading

“I cannot live without books.”
-Thomas Jefferson
 
‘Tis the back-to-school season. I love shopping for school supplies and organizing binders, but most importantly, I love books.
 
My fondness for reading was suspended until after graduating from pharmacy school. Reading for pleasure became a new hobby once I was no longer forced to study physics and racemic isomers. 
 
In honor of back to school I determined to share with you the books that have made a positive impact on my life and my family. This same list will be permanently available under the “Resource” tab. 
 

Inspiration:

Parenting: General


Parenting Girls:

Parenting Boys:

Parenting the Strong-Willed Child:


The Power of Prayer:

Marriage:

Daily Devotion:

 
Let’s keep the list going. What are your favorite books on family, parenting, marriage, and spiritual growth? Please share in the comment field below. 
 
Happy reading!
 
~April 

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