As I sit in bleachers at many a youth baseball game, I love to hear the various phrases shouted by parents and coaches as they try to encourage the players. Some phrases are "old school" that we've all heard before.
"Good eye!" - when a batter lets a pitch out of the strike zone go by.
"Way to fight that off!" - when a kid hits a foul ball.
"Whaddya say, #2?" – as a batter makes his way to the plate. (That always confuses me, because the kid never seems to say much when he's trying to bat.)
Pop fly to the outfield - "You gotta run that out, kid!" for the runner and "Can o' corn!" for the outfielder.
Some phrases are unique to certain coaches and parents. One of our parents likes to shout, "Lay off that high cheese!" when a pitch comes in too high. One of Kyle's coaches likes to say "On the hop, boys!" to encourage the kids to hustle. One of my favorites is when a pitch comes in a bit too close to one of our players, and one of Joe's coaches likes to joke, "You gotta wear that one!"
We like to poke fun at my husband's very complicated advice to his batters: "See the ball, hit the ball." Mmmmhmmm. That's it. He claims it's a simple game.
The summer that Kyle was eleven he had a coach who was new to him. How I loved to hear this coach's shout of encouragement to his players. He had a unique phrase that I had not heard before. And I find that yet again, God meets me where I am which is so often in the bleachers at a ballpark. The Lord can use any place and any situation. And for me, he often uses the game of baseball and a field of children and coaches to teach me of His great love.
If my son (aka Little Thunder) got a hit and ended up safe on the base, I'd hear this new coach shout, "Hey, I see you out there on 1st, Thunder!"
If he was pitching and struggling - perhaps walking a batter or two - I'd hear, "Hey, now, you're ok. I see you out there battling, 2!"
He shouted this same encouragement to every child. Maybe the player was consistently making good plays and his success had become almost routine. Coach shouted out that he saw that boy. Maybe the kid really blew it and made a big error. Coach still shouted out that he saw that kid trying. He saw him get up, dust off and try again. He let those boys know that, individually, he saw the effort, the hustle, the fight. He saw them.
"I see you out there!"
Isn't that the greatest? Isn't that what we all want? For someone to see us out here? To notice us? If not to praise us, if not to thank us, if not to honor us, just to see us? Child, adult, mother, wife, husband, father, player on the field, player on the bench?
In our lives, we wish for all of our coaches, spouses, parents, bosses and families to see us and to appreciate our work. But we know that all of these folks are imperfect and they don't always see us. We often feel invisible and unappreciated and forgotten. But we are not.
God sees us. He sees us whether we are on top of our game or trying to earn our way off the bench.
When you struggle, when you can't seem to find the strike zone, when you are disappointed or lost or confused? God sees you out there. When you've been consistent, when you've worked hard and earned the raise, when you've made the play? God sees you out there. When the laundry was folded perfectly again, the budget balanced and that dinner was nutritious and hot and everything was on the table at the same time(!)? God sees you out there. And when the laundry is piled in a stinking mess on the floor and you took the kids through that drive-thru again and you couldn't quite make ends meet? God sees you out there.
Give thanks in all circumstances. Whether you got the hit and arrived safe at home or you struck out. Keep swinging. He is there and He never ever looks away. Hey, kid, do not let your heart be troubled. He sees you out there.
For He looks to the ends of the Earth
and sees everything under the heavens.