Stepping up to the plate

Kenna here, some of you know that my boys wrestle….both on AND off the mat.  It’s a great sport – intense – highly competitive – brutal – exciting – one of those sports that you either love or hate.  There is no middle ground.

But, my guys also play baseball.  It seems to me, as a spectator almost the antithesis of wrestling…the opposite side of the coin, if you will.  The season is wonderful to sit outside in a lawn chair and soak up some rays.  The kids all seem to enjoy it.  There is not a lot of pressure – relaxing – peaceful – easy going – laid back – and you can read a book in between innings!

I met a family the other night at wrestling practice who seemed to be “right on the money”.  They were so transparent and open about their lives and their situation.  The conversation gave me such a burst of holiday joy that I wanted to share it with all of you!

They are a young couple with two scrappy little boys who have just started wrestling in our novice program.  Cute as a button boys – clean cut – well behaved – outgoing little kids.  Awesome parents who seem to be connected on a couple level and who seem to really engage in the kids.  They were all excited about Christmas and bursting with energy (even after practice)!  This seemed like the baseball side of the coin to me.

And then, we started talking about the littlest member of their family – 11 months old and scooting around everywhere!  The baby boy was her sister’s child.  A little girl – 5 years old, also her sister’s child, with a very rare growth stunting disease (mental and physical) was home with the grandma.  The couple had just taken custody of the boy and girl….right before the holidays….the alternative for the kids had been the foster care system.    Wow!  Now THAT is intense – brutal even…definitely the wrestling side of the coin.

At least to me – the spectator.

Because, you see – if you talk to either Tanner or Tyler about their sports it is never really as clean cut as it seems to the spectator.  There IS a lot of pressure even to baseball.   Stepping up to the plate makes both of them nervous…playing certain positions can be very intense.  And if you ask them, wrestling can even be laid back – they are on the mat for three minutes and then they can wait for literally hours until they wrestle again.

And in talking to this great family, their situation wasn’t even clean cut to them.  There were no opposite sides of the coin. They had blended their family so beautifully and so seamlessly that I would never have guessed that all their children were not their biological children.  They had stepped up to the plate and taken one for the team.  God’s team.  God calls us to “care for the least of these” – and this great family had done just that.

It is so easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle and preparation of the holiday season.  It can be stressful, intense and even depressing.  But for me – hearing such a great testimony of God’s calling made me smile and soak up some holiday joy.

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