There is nothing in this world that hurts my heart more than watching one of my children struggle with a broken heart. You know, when one of our children experiences a deep hurt, I really believe that we as mothers might hurt even more than they do. We would do anything to take away the pain, but there are those times when there is absolutely nothing we can do. We beg God for help, and sometimes we even wonder if He hears our prayers.
If any of you are experiencing the pain of watching a child struggle with a broken heart, I’d like to give you some encouragement.
This past Friday night I watched in utter amazement as the Sumter High Gamecocks pulled off another heart stopping win in Summerville. The win sends them to Williams Brice to play for the state championship next Saturday. When the game was over, we all ran out onto the field to hug up on our boys. Like so many times before, I began looking for my oldest son, but this time, I wasn’t looking for a boy in a SHS uniform, I was looking for a young man in a SHS coach’s shirt.
I stood back and watched his joy as he hugged Sarah Kathryn, his wife, and I suddenly found myself overwhelmed with God’s goodness and faithfulness in Drew’s life. Tears whelmed up in my eyes, not because they won the game, but because God allowed me the privilege of watching Him take a painful experience in Drew’s life and work it out for his good.
See, just 5 years earlier, Drew’s senior year, the SHS Gamecocks played Byrnes for the state championship. As long as I can remember, Drew’s dream was to play football for Sumter High, and not just play, but to play for a state championship – against Byrnes. I couldn’t believe it when they made it all the way to the championship game and played Byrnes for the title. But, Sumter fell to Byrnes in that game, and I watched my son deal with the biggest blow he had ever been dealt; a dream since childhood crushed.
Now, in the scheme of things it was just a football game. There are far worse blows that can be dealt, but for an 18-year-old boy who had dreamed of nothing but that state championship ring, it was almost more than he could bear. That night he walked off the field for the last time with the runner-up medallion and a broken heart.
For months and months, he struggled with not only losing the state championship, but also with having to walk away from a game he loved more than anything else in the world. He would come down the stairs at night when the house was quiet and sit at the kitchen counter. I could see the pain in his eyes. His voice would crack as he asked the same question over and over, “How much longer is it going to hurt like this?” When he would finally go to bed, I would ask God the same question. Over and over I would beg God to release him from the pain, to heal his broken heart. My own heart ached so badly that I could hardly stand it. I can remember saying, “God, please, I can’t watch this much longer.” After a while, I honestly began to get worried. I never imagined that he would grieve as long as he did. He just couldn’t let it go.
One day in May, Drew had to go to his coach’s office for something. When he opened the door, there was football stuff everywhere because it happened to be the first day of spring practice. When he walked out and closed the door behind him, he felt something begin to stir inside him. Shortly after that, I got a phone call from him, “Mom, we need to talk.”
Of course, I about had a heart attack.
Drew had always planned to go into business with his dad and was heading off to college in Tennessee in the fall. However, at the end of the “talk”, Drew realized that God was calling him to be a teacher and football coach. For the first time in many months, I saw the joy return to my child’s eyes.
It was then that I realized that God had heard every prayer, every one of my pleas to take the pain away, but His answer had been, “Not yet,” because He had something so much better that He wanted to accomplish in Drew’s life. Sarah Kathryn pointed out something amazing. If Drew had won that state championship, then it might have been enough and he would have gone on to Tennessee and missed or delayed God’s calling on his life. But instead, the loss left a huge hole that God used to steer him down a different path - the path that he was created to travel.
Now here we are, 5 years later, and Drew is headed back to play for a state championship with his Gamecocks, this time as a coach. He went to a state championship his last year as a player, and he is going to a state championship his first year as a coach. How crazy is that? Only God could orchestrate something like that.
As I watched him hug family, players, heck, he hugged people he didn’t even know, all I could say was, “Thank you, God, for hearing this mother’s prayer and answering it so perfectly.”
“I love the LORD because he hears and answers my prayers. Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath!” Psalm 116:1-2
So Moms, keep praying…He is listening.
Have a great week!
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