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How long does it take you to learn your lesson?

We have been taught that all good things must come now! We don’t have patience, we believe we deserve all the good things in life as soon as we lay our eyes on the flat screen TV or car or house we can’t afford, Lord knows we can’t wait. Thank God for credit. Credit cards the devil of our financial situations. We charge and we pay four times the amount of the sticker price because we cannot wait until we can afford it.

I have learned to walk away from materialistic items that I want, because I have finally realized the difference between wants and needs. Well, also because I just don’t have the cash or credit that I used to! Seriously, I have realized I need very little, but I WANT everything. Can the same be said for our life lessons that God is teaching us through tragedies, situations, and events? The difference is we don’t want the lessons but we need them! A lesson we have all learned from the crush of our economy is that life isn’t good because of houses and cars and clothing, life is good because of family, nature, friends, and God!

How long does it take for one to learn their lesson? How long after a struggle you go through, or destruction of your life does it take for you to learn your lesson? I believe it takes as long as needed for God to really get His message across to you and for you to understand why you endured the tragedy or set back that you were put in. For some this can take a life time and for others a month, a day, a year or years.

My lessons seem to take me a bit longer to learn. You see I fight the lesson. I want to get mad, pout, and shout at God and let Him know that this latest obstacle really wasn’t necessary. As soon as I start to put my faith back in God and the unknown, and bring hope back into the front of the line in my thinking, my number is called, my lesson learned, the light bulb goes off and I realize why I was tripped up on my path. Then, and only then, do I realize the glory of God and the love He has for me. I appreciate the lesson, and I am blessed once again.

Let me give you an example of lesson that my son Jax has recently learned It took him a year to feel God’s grace and learn his lesson. But as he told me this morning, “It was worth it!” I wrote the following April 29, 2009. Please read carefully:

I picked my son up from his baseball practice yesterday. I had sat there and watched his practice for a bit seething inside. My son had gotten the very short end of the stick this baseball season due to little league politics and fathers coaching sons to make sure they make a team. I read a quote on the side of a Starbuck's cup from a woman named Brenda Stonecipher, that sums up what we all go through if we have a child in youth sports. She is a city council member and Starbuck's customer in Everett, Washington. "Give me world politics, gender politics, party politics, or small town politics......I'll take them all over the politics of youth sports."

After Jax's practice we picked up Cade from his practice and headed to Great Clips to get the boys haircuts. While Jax was in the chair, I kept thinking about what my son is going through playing in a league down from all his mates and where he is supposed to be at his level. Jax is a big kid and in sixth grade. He is playing with fourth graders half the size of him, and with considerably less developed skills. Father's all over town have come up to me, saying the same thing, "I can't believe Jax is not playing majors." I had already unleashed my tongue on several members of the board, so I just replied, "Yes, my son got screwed, but we are making the best of it."

I sat there looking at him thinking maybe I should pull him and save him more humiliation. But then I went back to earlier thinking, he has learned life is not fair and is unjust and it is important to keep plugging along and become stronger from the experience.

It was a glorious day here in the Bay Area yesterday. Jax and I sat on a bench outside waiting for Cade to finish with his haircut. Jax said, "Mommy, I don't think I can play on this team. I am embarrassed, I know all the things the coach is teaching all these kids already. I have learned these lessons about baseball three years ago, I am bored and I just don't think I can do it."

I said, "Jax, lets be happy for what you have. You are on a team playing the game you love. Let's take this opportunity to perfect your swing, your pitching skills and your fielding skills. Think of it as practicing for the future." Well, that didn't help. He was down in the dumps. Then I said, "Look at all those beautiful flowers in front of us. Which one is your favorite color out of the five? I know which color flower is my favorite." He said, "I don't like flowers."

Just then a mother and her daughter came walking up to Great Clips. The mother was walking, but the daughter was pushing herself along with a walker. She had a serious disability the prevented her from walking on her own, and quite awkardly with a walker. Her mother was smiling and the daughter said in slurred speech that came from the side of her mouth, "Mom isn't it a perfect day for an ice-cream." Her mother said, "It is a perfect day for an ice-cream!"

I looked at Jax and said, "That little ten year girl can't run, can't catch, can't throw, cannot even talk normally, she can't even walk, but yet my son, she looked at her day and took the good out of it, she rejoiced in a sunny day and some ice-cream. Jax Carter, what you just saw doesn't get any better at showing you life is what you make it! I have told you make lemonade from your lemons!"

He sat there with his face in his hands for two minutes. I figured he was crying for himself. He raised his head, looked at me and said, "The purple flower is my favorite. The blue one is a close second. I know mom your favorite one is the red one!"

I stood up, hugged him, and had tears in my eyes. He then said, "You know what mommy, I have so much and I am always complaining and thinking about what I don't have instead of being grateful for what I do have. I listen to your lessons mom about compassion, empathy and how great life is, you just don't know it. That girl just taught me a lot."

Thank you God for the wonderful lesson my son just learned. We are off to baseball practice.

Fast forward to today, April 20, 2010. My son is playing up in the league he is supposed to be playing in. I made him finish last years season. He was humiliated every time he walked by the field he was supposed to be on. He had a great season, but it was not satisfying to his soul for he knew he was playing with younger less experienced kids. At the end of the season he was chosen to move up to Majors, where he should have been for the season for the last three games. He went up to bat and held his head up high, and ripped the first pitch that was thrown at him. I could see he was still a bit resentful of his situation but I knew God would show us the bigger picture some day. Well, we were shown the bigger picture last night.

Last night my son pitched the game of his life: 85 pitches, five innings, six strikeouts and a hit that he ripped down the right field line that landed him a stand up triple! The best part? The men that passed my son up last year were watching Jax play, some were coaching the other team and some were in the stands! I could not have been prouder. My son learned a great lesson. God will reward you if you can look for the good in the situation you are in, hold your head up high no matter what, be kind and compassionate, take a step of faith and trust that God is going to turn it around for you. Well guys, God turned it around for my son almost exactly one year later. Jax was hot, and he was on fire!

Jax and I had the talk of his life this morning on the way to school. My son really gets how good God is and how even though at times we don’t understand why we are going through what we are going through God has a greater plan for us. If we stay faithful God will completely restore what you have lost plus more. My son reaped the Lord’s love and generosity last night! By Jax’s lesson that was learned God created a boy that will have blind faith in life and Him for a long time. Jax will have many more lessons in his life to endure, but he will always remember this one. By remembering how God was faithful in His promise to Jax to make him better than he was before it might not take Jax years to learn lessons like it did me, maybe just months.

On our way to the car last night after the game, I hugged my son, looked him in the eye and told him how proud I was of him As soon as that moment was over, three different men let Jax know that he pitched a hell of a game and what a great baseball player he is!

I have many lessons I could give you examples of and how I finally learned them, but I wanted to share this one with you.. You will realize that as parents we are God’s helpers. We need to guide our children as lessons are thrown at them. May all your lessons bring you joy, charity, grace, love, goodness and finally, may all your dreams come true!

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Congratulations, Jax!!

What a great story. What a great kid! What a great God!