When my daughter, Peyton, was eight, she was on a soccer team. She really struggled with being afraid of the ball for a long time, but I remember the day she seemed to have gotten past her fear and was really getting into the game. She seemed to be playing her heart out this time!
Then it happened. It was like a slow-motion scene in a movie. The goalie kicked the ball right to my little Peyton and as it plowed into her face, it literally lifted her off the ground and threw her back a few feet where she finally landed back down! Before I knew it, I was up and running toward her. I had no control, honestly. I didn’t even decide to run toward her, it was an instinct. My baby was hurt and she needed her mommy!
Or did she?
Her coach beat me to her and lifted her to her feet. He looked her in the eyes and said, “Are you okay, Champ?” She was crying, sobbing and almost hyperventilating and every mommy muscle in me was tense as I held myself back on the sidelines. “Yeeeaaahhhh…” she somehow mustered up. Then he said, “You know this won’t be the last time the ball surprises you like that. Sometimes that happens in soccer! You've got this! Come on, let's see what you've got!”
Wiping her tears off her face with her arm, she started to play again. Initially, I could tell she was afraid of the ball. But after a few minutes, it was like it didn’t even happen. She was playing hard and doing just fine.
I’ve had the occasionally ball plow into my face in life. I'm sure you have, too. You know, the kind that knocks you off your feet and throws you down? Well, my first instinct is to sit out on the sidelines and feel sorry for myself, surround myself with people who will tell me how unfair life is and how sorry they feel for me. I’ve heard it called a “pity party.” Ever have one of those? They are anything but a party!
Don't give up!
When the game was over, Peyton came running over to me and when we got into the car, she burst into tears and said, “That really hurt, Mommy!” and as she unloaded her pain and fear onto me, I realized that even though she was playing tough she still needed me to understand, but she didn't need me to rescue her. She just needed me to hear her and sympathize. Just knowing I was there was enough.
I comforted her and gave her a big hug. “Peyton, I’m so proud of you. You fought hard and you did so well! You were scared but you kept going. You’re growing up!”
I find I learn the most important lessons in life when I don’t give up. When I stay in the game and fight. When I find the courage to press on, sometimes in spite of my fear and pain by hearing the words of my Coach, who encourages me. Just knowing He’s there is enough. He encourages me with these words …
“Be strong and very courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” —Joshua 1:9
If you’ve been knocked down something in life, just remember, it’s not the last time life will surprise you like that! Sometimes this happens! You’ve got this! Come on; let’s see what you’ve got!