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Playing Doubles

Living with two college-age sons who are growing into young men sometimes involves me emotionally and spiritually in “games” I don’t want to play. As they test their physical limits and explore God’s plan for their lives, they sometimes enter competitions that look dangerous to me. “Why not play a quiet game of chess or Scrabble,” I suggest. “Oh no,” one son says. “I’m into stunt biking, a marathon trip to Miami and back, and a three-month trip to Alaska, living and sleeping in the car!”

I cringe at the possibilities, but do my best to let him fly and then pray hard for his safety. One day while I was far from home on a ministry trip, and needing prayer for stamina, I received this enthusiastic email from my younger son:

October 2

hey mom

every sunday i ask the church i go to to pray for you, and i hope its helping.

im doing real well, and I am letting you and dad know that I am going to nashville TN, this weekend, my friend is driving and we are going to try and get on a mtv show that will start recording this coming january for 2-3 months, it will be my first step towards getting famous, just like I have always dreamed and it may open the door for good jobs, you can also go to school while on the show so that wouldnt be a problem, but even the chances of me getting on this show are very thin, so I think it would be fun just to go try to get on, anyways Church was awesome this last week, opened my eyes to a few things, and life is good.

love...

With no way to talk to him directly about the wisdom of such a trip, I froze and forgot momentarily about the option of talking directly to my Heavenly Father. On this rare occasion, I forwarded the message to my friend Jeanne who also has a son the age of mine. Maybe if I share my son’s plans, I thought, they would feel half as scary to me.

Jeanne’s reply so aptly covered all the bases, as if she looked into my mother-heart and replied to every possible fear:

October 3

Hi Carol!

Yikes! You have such an adventuresome son. It boggles my mind! Mine is more like your older one, not like Ben—phew! I already have enough gray hairs, thankyouverymuch. The good news is that there’s such a "thin chance" of him getting on this show. Breathe, Mom, breathe!

Another plus is that he tells you these things, although I’m imagining sometimes you’d rather not know. He’s communicating. He’s praying, or at least believes in prayer enough to ask prayer for you. He’s going to church and awed by what he’s learning there. He’s aiming high. Sure, his methods are a little unorthodox, but God’s gonna protect him, right, Mom? Of course, right!

God must know you have much more faith than I, that’s all. He knew one son was my limit!

I’m relieved to have Christian friends, also mothers, in my court. They know what I’m feeling and help me apply faith when fear strikes.

That fear is often what Satan uses to get us off balance. Sometimes I feel as though I’m alone on a tennis court with my spiritual opponent Satan smashing one ball after another at me. Wham! Wham! Wham! I feel helpless, overwhelmed and beat.

But the truth is, I am never playing alone. Friends counsel, pray and care. And more important, Jesus is playing with me. We’re a team playing doubles. Those slams don’t worry him in the least. In fact, he’s smiling as he quickly moves all over the court, returning each one with power and ease. He’s almost enjoying it—knowing he, and I, are sure to win. Our Father in heaven too is cheering us on. And his Holy Spirit in my heart says, “Don’t fear. You and your sons are in my hands. Let them go. Let them play. I’m at their side, running with them—and together, we’re going to win.”By the way, my son never left on that trip to Nashville; circumstances forced the driver to stay home. (Thank you, Lord.)