My daughter is 7 and plays basketball. I had the great privilege last night of taking to the court with the team to practice and scrimmage. My job was to create some friction in the midst of rebounding, i.e. be the punching bag in the middle. It was a great night, teaching little girls that they are strong and that they can be forceful.
I won’t lie. As we ran up and down the court, time after time, it was not easy. I never passed out I am proud to share, but it is definitely obvious that I don’t do this very much (especially when one of the little ones offered to run and get me water!) But again I say, what a privilege.
I was really struck by an immense feeling as I looked each of those precious ones in the eyes. These are all my girls. I only have one daughter on the court, but I had 8 pairs of eyes listening and watching. I had 8 little girls doing their best and lighting up with joy whenever they got a “Good Job” or “That’s right, you got it.”
And God really convicted me of this fact when, out of the blue, one little girl turned to me in the middle of a drill and asked, “Ms. Lana, do you think my hair is pretty?” Now this is not your normal 7 year old. She is intense and always focused on the game. As long as I have known her, she has always been about the business of competing. So when she stopped to ask me this question, I was stunned.
But it was at that moment that I realized that I was there for a lot more than basketball. I was there to assure her that she was beautiful and she did have value. I answered and told her that I thought her hair was beautiful, just like the rest of her. She smiled from ear-to-ear and ran on down the court. I don’t know what prompted the question, but I hope that she left with one more stone affixed in the foundation of her self-worth.
In my opinion, it is totally unchristian to believe that we only have to worry about our own children. As members of the faith community, our responsibility is to love all children that we come into contact with. It is our great calling to look into their eyes and tell them they are valuable not only to us, but to Jesus as well.
I am thankful to my daughter’s coach for allowing me to be a part of that process. He could be the kind of coach that doesn’t want any help. But we are fortunate to have a dad that loves to have other parents on the court in a collaborative effort.
I am not very good at basketball. But I believe that just by being there and having meaningful contact with those children, one day I might have the opportunity to help them deepen their relationships with Christ.
If I continue to be a cheerleader, lover, and encourager to all these kids, then maybe I might have earned access to their hearts in times when they need someone other than mom.
It is my hope that I am not just seen by the next generation as “Hope and Daniel’s mom.” It is my great hope that kids will always be able to know me and say, “That is Hope’s mom, she always loved me.” What an honor.
Praise be to You, for You alone have the ability to convince us of our great worth. Thank You for instilling deep in my heart the fact that I am beloved. Thank You for the people that You have used to accomplish that in my life. Now please use me to do the same for others – especially the children. Lord, I am not the best equipped to engage with the small ones. So I ask that You fill me with Your Holy Spirit, equip me for the task at hand, and shower me with discernment – that I might always recognize the opportunities when they arise.
In the name of the Lamb I pray,