A couple of years ago, our boys decided they like baseball. I think because of Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin Ball.
But Jeff and I are not really the sportin' type. We play fantasy football. I ran track in the fourth grade. Jeff played actual football in high school. That's about it for us. I did buy a custom stick family decal for our Jeep that shows James holding a bat and Jonathan holding a mitt. So, you know, that counts. (It also shows Jeff and I holding coffee.)
Point is the boys were kinda on their own. We liked their interest in athletics, but we didn't really have any athletic interest of our own to contribute. So when they announced last season that they wanted to play baseball, we were rather useless to the endeavor. (But we played catch with them and stuff.)
And there was a problem. Our current city didn't have community baseball. Just the kid version of minor league baseball, actually associated with actual baseball. They had tryouts and regulations and requirements and fees for this, that, and the other. No way our late beginners would have made the cut. What to do?
God's mercy sent us to Idaho last spring, where they did have community baseball, and compassion on us, and a team coached by my mom's friend from church. The boys were able to participate, and they loved it. Didn't really, like, excel er nuthin', but they had a lot of fun.
Before this season, we moved nearer a community baseball program, but it still had auditions. I mean tryouts. Which was still an issue. Because our boys still wanted to play. ("Mom, did you sign us up for baseball yet?") Each time they asked, my heart wrenched. The available program wasn't as competitive as the other city's league, but still. There's a certain level of catching, throwing and batting required for any tryout, I would think. The whole business just seemed like an invitation to crushing disappointment.
I downloaded the application anyway, determined to go through the process and hope for the best. But our country address meant we'd have to pay the steeper non-resident fees, our kids would be on teams with total strangers, possibly playing against their own classmates, and of course it all hinged on the off chance that a scrap or two of skill lingered within two little boys who hadn't even picked up their mitts since the end of last season.
The boys, of course, knew none of this. They just expected baseball. No question.
I had set aside time last Monday to complete the application for each boy so it could reach the parks and rec office in the nearby city before the deadline, but before James left for school that morning, he mentioned casually, "Oh, Mom. Our P.E. teacher says the baseball applications are at the school office or city hall."
He meant city hall in our own little town. I wondered why they would have applications since the program was run by a different parks and rec. I went to their website and discovered that if I applied in our town for the same program, the boys would be put on teams with their classmates from their own little school, and then as teams they would enter the bigger program together.
I also discovered there was only one evening set aside for local signups, and it was that night! We had to go down to the city hall annex that evening or we'd miss the deal entirely. My Jeep is all cranky, so that required Jeff and his truck. I texted him. It worked for his schedule.
When Jeff got home, I told him the amounts of the resident and non-resident fees. He pulled from his wallet the exact amount of the resident fee. We crossed our fingers (Cuz, you know, that works. Crossing your fingers.), drove to the city hall annex, and handed in our applications. We lived neither in the big city that hosted the program nor inside the city limits of our own town, but after just a glance at our physical address, the official approved us automatically, explaining, "You get to pay the resident fee because you showed up here tonight, so that's a bonus for you."
Jeff handed over our wad of cash. Done deal.
But the million dollar question hovered on my lips. Heart full, I built up the nerve to ask when we should show up for tryouts. The key to the whole thing. The moment of truth.
Before I got the words out, our application was handed to the other official, and she said matter-of-factly without even looking up, "Because you're signing up through us, there are no tryouts. Your boys will be assigned to teams, and their coaches will contact you by the 18th of April. Everybody gets equal playing time because we bat the roster. You're all set."
Tears sprang to my eyes. Oh my goodness!!!
HOME RUN!!!! :D
(Look. I'm using baseball terms.)
But seriously! Look how cool God is! Local team with classmates and friends. Automatic acceptance with no tryouts. The resident fee. The exact amount of cash. And the timing!
The timing is my favorite part. James casually mentioned the town forms on the day I planned to turn in the city forms. And this was after his ten days off for spring break. If he hadn't remembered to tell me that random fact on his way out the door to his first day back at school, we would have gone through the other process, paid the non-resident fee, suffered through tryouts, and been put on teams with total strangers if we'd even been accepted into the program.
But because of where we live, and the way our town coordinates with the big city's parks and rec, we were totally covered. AMAZING.
Here's the thing.
We live in a little strip of a district, population 2,000, sandwiched between a district that serves 25,000 and another that serves 35,000. If we lived more than a mile or two east or west of our home, we'd be in one or the other of the bigger districts. Before baseball was even on my radar, God moved us into this little district.
It is because He brought us to this zip code that the boys will play this season. They get to enjoy all the benefits of the childhood magic of baseball just because of where we live. Not because they deserve it. Not because they're good enough for it. Not because they worked at it. Not because they made it happen. Simply because of our zip code.
That is Yahweh Yireh, the God who sees beforehand and provides in advance.
P.S. Our zip code is a picture of God's grace. :)