I am realizing and experiencing so many feelings my parents must have felt as they raised me and my sister that makes my heart joyful and ache at the same time.
One of my daily devotionals truly opened my eyes to something I had never realized…it started with a woman talking about her child wearing the Number 11 jersey…and immediately I was locked in. That number is something I have cherished my entire life. It was my Dad’s soccer number his entire career and mine as well. It is also the day I got married. I even have it tattooed in roman numerals on my ankle.
I think of the years of competitive sports my parents endured. I don’t think I every truly realized just how hard that must have been for them – mentally, physically, financially and even spiritually. I think we focus on all of the positives, which is great, don’t get me wrong – the wins, the pride, the joy seeing us do something we love. While all of that is incredible and I am thankful beyond measure for all of the above, I want to take a minute to recognize the less than favorable moments.
The stress, the financial burden, the heartache they felt as their child walked off the field – tears streaming down their face, sweat and dirt stained clothes, melting into their arms after a tough loss, a game they poured their entire heart and effort into, only to fall short. I know how that loss felt for me…but what about them…my number one fans, my parents, I can only imagine how their hearts ached, how they would do anything in the world to take the pain away and make it all better, how every tear shed cut deeper…It hurts just thinking about how they must have felt.
Everything our children experience is magnified as a parent.
When I was disappointed after a tough loss or a poor performance – so were they.
When I was excited after a big win, a goal scored, an award received – so were they.
But on an entirely different level…
But it wasn’t until I became a parent and felt the heartache and pride of seeing my own child experience life, that I truly understood how my parents must have felt all those years and still feel today…
I didn’t realize it then…but I do now…and I am truly thankful beyond measure for the absolute dream of parents that God blessed me with.
I distinctively remember riding in the backseat of our minivan after a really tough loss…I had everything I needed, fresh water, countless snacks, a pillow to rest my head and blanket to cover my body so I could relax, forget about the heartache for a moment and just rest as my parents sat just feet away…driving us home from a far away tournament…
As I drift off to sleep…they drive, exhausted – physically and emotionally. They had work, life, finances, their own troubles to worry about, but in that moment they sat – sharing in my heartache, hurting because me, their child was hurting…they sacrificed so much, for me.
I am realizing this now…because of the understanding I now have for how Jesus sacrificed his life…for me, his child. My parents loved me like Jesus loves all of us…I want my children to know that they are loved just like that.
“Sometimes the harvest isn’t for us, sometimes we sow seeds, not knowing if they’ll ever grow. Sometimes we invest time and energy into a situation that may never see the fruit. But that doesn’t mean we stop planting.“
My parents harvested their love, support, comfort and grace in me, praying they would see the fruit, trusting God’s plan and parenting in faith. They never stopped planting those seeds. They always stepped out in faith and sewed seeds for my sister and I with faith that they would grow and one day I would bear the fruit. With their nurturing I now see all of the riches, all of the sacrifices, all of the emotions that come along with being a parent and loving with the heart of Jesus.
Thank you Mom and Dad for your relentless pursuit in making me feel loved, supported, cared for, heard, nurtured and for sewing seeds in my childhood, early adult life and still to this day so that I may reap the harvest. I may not have seen it then, but as I look back, I see it in an entirely new way, because of the love of Jesus.
Your favorite number 11.
Until Next Time on Kelsey’s Chronicles.