We’re living day 29 of not being in baseball. We went into this season thinking we had a pretty good idea of what was to come. Our previous year had been challenging, but we felt like our hearts were being prepared for something good that was coming our way. Isn’t that how it works? If we stay faithful and work hard through the challenging times, we’ll be rewarded? Over the past few weeks we’ve learned that our hearts were actually being prepared to survive yet another challenge. A challenge that might have rocked our entire world if it wasn’t for the challenges we faced last year. Instead, this challenge has been met with open hands and a whole lot of confidence that God is about to blow our minds, yet again, with what lies ahead.
The past few weeks, we’ve watched everyone around us pack and leave for their next adventure. I won’t lie, it’s been hard knowing we aren’t doing the same. I’ve had to quiet my thoughts when I catch myself looking around trying to figure out why we are where we are. Over the years, Nick and I have spent a lot of time talking about not taking things for granted. I’d like to believe we’ve done a pretty good job of being still--in the moment--and not looking too far ahead. But as much as I’ve heard myself say, “baseball isn’t forever” there is nothing to prepare you for the feeling of actually not being in baseball. This is usually the start of the madness for us. Instead, the days have been slow and seem to drag on as we watch other guys continue to chase their baseball dreams on the MLB Network from our living room.
Now, we know this isn’t permanent. We know Nick will be playing baseball again very soon (hint, hint). At times, I still catch myself being envious of the all the people who are going, doing and playing right now. The feelings of frustration, confusion and worry still seem to creep into our mind’s even when our hearts fully believe this is a good, good thing. It feels like a race to the finish line but we aren’t being allowed to run.
This feels like a setback.
We lost Nick’s income so financially this has been hard. We lost our insurance so that has been scary. It feels like we’re starting over and our timeline is on hold until we figure out what’s next. I will never forget the day we moved back to California after Nick was released. I sat on the floor, surrounded by unpacked bags, and cried while I wrote out a list of what I needed to do to make sure we would be okay. I will never forget the next day, when I passed by the baby section in Target and cried again because even thinking about that stage of our life just feels so far away. This sure feels like, just when we thought we are about to come up out of the water we’ve been treading, another weight has been added to our ankles.
The problem with the setback is we begin to question everything. We’re so quick to question God’s timing during seasons of unknowns. It’s easy to be faithful when life is good and it’s hard not to question God when life isn’t going the way we thought it would. The whys, the what-ifs, and the poor mes start to consume our thoughts. Our mind starts telling us we’ve failed, we aren’t good enough, and maybe even says we deserve the setback we’re experiencing. With that being said, how can we say God’s timing is perfect if we doubt the timing of this for even a second? As humans, I think it’s pretty natural to question everything when life gets confusing. As believers, I know this is the time that believing, trusting, and thanksgiving really matters. I have such faith in God’s goodness, but that doesn’t mean that the midst of the setback isn’t hard.
So, how do we survive the hard times?
- Hard times have prepared me for hard times. If you’re currently braving a storm in your life and I can offer you any encouragement, it’s that there will come a day you will be thankful for the hard times. Hard times can make us stronger, humble, kinder, and more grateful than before. Hard times have made me the woman I am. Hard times have made me a wife that can take her hurting husband by the hand and lead him into the storm knowing we aren’t alone. Hard times have given me the chance to see God work in my life so I when hard times come, like now, I know this too shall pass.
- Family. Family first always. Surround yourself with people who will lift you up, feed your soul, and comfort your hurting heart.
- Practice thanksgiving. How many times has your Momma told you to count your blessings? Like always, Momma is right. Each day, we choose to wake up and be thankful for what we have. When you’re constantly putting your blessings before your worries, it’s hard to lose hope. We have a lot of blessings, and we have a lot of hope.
- Remind yourself every day that you’re capable of the end goal. Our dreams are written on our mirror as statements. I made Nick a highlight that he watches every day so he can remember what a stud he is. We are constantly watching movies or reading stories about people who motivate us. Doing this keeps us hungry. Say it, be it, do it.
- Stay ready. You will only truly believe the next opportunity is coming if you prepare for it every day. For Nick, the past 29 days have been like the offseason all over again. Workouts, diet, hitting, throwing, and practicing mental toughness. Every day he chooses to get better so that when the time comes to join a new team, he’s ready.
The problem with the setback is that it’s not a setback back at all. God doesn’t make mistakes. This is a transition to a chapter where we move forward. Tomorrow could be the day we feel the ankle weights come off and we start to float. Maybe it’s in a month, maybe it’s in a year. We refuse to let the stress of the unknowns paralyze us. Worship and worry can’t live in the same heart. Right now, we get to slow down and focus on what really matters. We have been able to step back and ask ourselves if our focus is on the things we can’t control or even what other people think about us. Faith in the right direction is being able to recognize how God is calming the storms and preparing a safe harbor. Sometimes we focus too much on what the winning lottery number could provide us instead of being thankful for where our feet are in this every moment.
I’m willing to keep fighting for the day we can be proud of the storms we weathered. How sweet it will be to watch Nick take the field when he makes his big-league debut. The day we can help the people who have helped us during these hard times. The moment I finally get to hold our baby in my arms. The setbacks will make each of these moments so incredibly special. Knowing we believed God would provide during our times of worry. Knowing we worked harder every time we were told no. Knowing people are watching what will happen next in our story and we get the opportunity to show them that God is leading us to the very place we need to be.
They say that every setback is an opportunity for a comeback, but what if every setback is just a pivot in the very direction you need to go and every comeback is just the moment the pivot reveals its purpose.
All my love,