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Girl Meets God

    by Melissa Mathews

A Bush Hog, and a Prayer
Date Posted: August 17, 2003

"Just turn your affairs over to the Lord, and go on and do your duty." --Old Union soldier in Stephen Crane's Red Badge of Courage.

The Goins family (Dad, Mom, two boys, twin sister and me) lived in a great neighborhood.

We had this empty lot beside our house that had to be at least 3 acres. The boys in the neighborhood had turned it into quite a nice baseball diamond. It had a chain link backdrop, bases, and a mowed infield. The rest of the lot was a different story. Every couple of weeks this guy would come with a big bush hog and mow it. It was an event that always kept us a little on edge. If you left anything in the lot, it would be destroyed.

I can't remember how often we played ball, but I do remember that I did NOT have a baseball glove. So of course, I borrowed my brother's glove-- without asking. It kind of made me nervous, but what else could I do? I really wanted to play, and I really didn't have a glove.

This was a fine arrangement-- borrowing a glove in secret and returning it when I was done. The problems arose when I couldn't find the glove in the tall grass of outfield or just plain ole forgot to bring it inside. One night I remember staring out the window, looking on to the empty lot filled with weeds as tall as me, praying that it wouldn't rain. Another night I remember staring out my window praying that the bush hog man wouldn't come the next day. Such stress for an eight year old!

And that night, staring up at the stars with a knot in my stomach, I made a decision that would influence my thinking the rest of my life. A memory verse came to my mind: "Do not worry about anything, about what you will eat, or what you will drink, or what you will wear, [or if that baseball glove gets shredded by the bush hog]... For who, by worrying, can add a single hour to his life?" (Matthew 6:25-27). Why was I worried? Losing sleep over that ball glove wasn't helping anything. Worry didn't stop the storm from coming or the blades from swinging. It only made me grouchy the next day. And if the glove did get wet or chewed up, so what? It's not like that was the only ball glove in the world. I decided then that I wouldn't worry ever again. It was just a waste of time.

And having the young, fresh faith that I did, I took God at his word when He said "Don't be anxious about ANYTHING, but in EVERYTHING, with prayer and thanksgiving present your requests to God, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philipians 4:6-7)." So I prayed: "God please keep that ball glove safe, even though I don't deserve it." Then I got in bed, and went to sleep.

So, what are you worried about: The next house payment, a deadline at work, an unruly child? Worry stands no chance of fixing anything. It only makes us unproductive and unpleasant. Instead, pray about your worry, and turn it over to God. Trust Him, like a child trusts, that no matter what happens, He has everything under control. Take God's peace instead of Pepto Bismol.

So about that ball glove. I found it first thing in the morning, and put it away for the last time. I wasn't worried anymore, but I wasn't stupid either.

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Biography Information:
I'm a preacher's kid, pastor's wife, and southern belle who married a Southern California boy. Can you say 'culture clash?' Scott and I have four boys - Max, Mark, Jackson, and Grant who keep us busy with homework and sports.

Scott and I have been married 22 years and currently live in Northern California where we are beginning year five as church planters. I also teach 12th grade English and love it.

I would love to hear from you. Email me anytime at melissa.g.mathews@gmail.com
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