This weekend I had the rare opportunity of playing softball with my dad.
Growing up, my dad taught me everything I knew about the sport. It is clear to anyone who knows my childhood that I would not be playing softball in college if it were not for my dad. I used to hate it sometimes, especially the days when he made me practice with him before hanging out with friends, but looking back, I always had someone to take me to practices and to tournaments on the weekends. He would watch Rosie and I play, talk to us in the dugout during games, and analyze every pitch in the car afterward.
As I got into high school and on more competitive teams, I played at least three days a week and practiced once or twice a week. I was old enough that my dad could no longer force me to go out to the ballpark with him, but he would always ask, every week, several times a week.
In high school, Rosie and I started to have some success that was notable by the local newspaper. My dad would save the links and photos online and share them with our entire extended family. This has only progressed in college. He loves to take video of me playing a game, put it on YouTube, and send it out to our family and old coaches. He saves every newscast or article about me.
Ultimately, as a teenager, I became old enough to drive myself to practice, and he’s no part of my practices in college, but my dad still has made a point to never miss a home game and even has traveled whenever possible.
My dad is my biggest fan, and he is so proud of me.
As we went out to the ballpark this last weekend, at age 63, he is still pitching me change-ups and hitting me fly balls to the outfield. There is perhaps nothing he gets more delight out of then spending time with his children. In playing ball with me, I can tell in his face, it is pure joy.
As we were shagging balls at the park, finishing up my round of hitting last night, I started to think about my own father and about the joy and the pride he takes in his daughter. How fitting is it that we refer to our God in Heaven as our Father?
Our God who is in Heaven longs to spend time with us, to teach us, and to live life with us. He is there at every single one of our big games, in fact, He is with us wherever we go (Joshua 1:9). I imagine He likes to brag to the angels about each and every one of His children, each who was created beautifully and without flaw (Song of Solomon 4:7).
I am going to end with this, Psalm 139:1-10, 13-17, and my prayer today is that you see really, truly how loved and cherished you are by your Heavenly Father. There is nothing you have done that is too great to separate you from the love of the Father. Holy, amazing grace!
Oh Lord, you have searched me
And you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
You are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
You know it completely, Oh Lord.
You hem me in-behind and before;
You have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
Too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the seas,
Even there your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.
For you created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
When I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
Were written in your book
Before one of them came to be.