This wasn't an ordinary soccer game, first there were team pictures. The idea of this stressed me out a little, but I knew it was out of my control. I tried to make sure everything was at least in the dryer before I left the house, and the rest was up to my husband.
Gabe spent a bit of time looking for his shin guards. You can't play soccer without them; they are an absolute necessity. Titus informed him he wouldn't be allowed to play, but Gabe went ahead to the game anyways. I guess at this point my son was getting desperate. He prayed a prayer that might seem impossible, but to him it made sense.
"God, please help me find my shin guards. Let them just walk over to me."
I'm not sure if these words were uttered at home when he had a chance of finding them, or if it was while he was sitting on the sidelines of his game. This is one of those lessons that are hard to teach your child, but still you have to do it. Gabe knew his shin guards were lost on Thursday. He had three days to try to find them, however he didn't put much effort into it.
So now he sat, silently, crying on the edge of the game, not allowed to partake in the fun. Soccer has become a very large part of who he is. It has helped him to develop his social skills immensely, and it's worked on his coordination. For him to sit out must have been pure torture.
If you remember, I wasn't there. I was with my other two children. This is all secondhand knowledge. I was getting ready to walk out the door with Ariel, for her birthday party, when in walked Titus and Gabriel. Gabe's arms were filled with bags from Dick's Sporting Goods. I figured they must have taken a shopping spree after the game. I was wrong.
"It was all free. Some guy was giving it out."
This brought quite a bit of confusion for me. People don't walk around at the soccer field giving out bags of equipment. It's a nice thought. But that doesn't happen.
After some discussion, Gabe shared a wonderful story with me. Another dad on the team, saw Gabriel sitting on the sidelines, and decided to do something about it. He ran up to the sporting goods store, and made it back in time for Gabe to play the last quarter of the game. He bought Gabe a new set of shin guards, shoes, and a ball!
The most commendable part Gabe shared was how he said that simple prayer first, "God, please help me find my shin guards. Let them just walk over to me."
"I guess He used a person to bring them to me."
I love the way God loves on us. It blows me away. God has blessed Titus with a job that provides above and beyond what we could need or ask for. But God doesn't have to be confined to a box, or a set of guidelines on how He cares for us. He can bless us with a stranger's kindness. Yes, we could afford to get those items for Gabriel at any time, but how much would they have meant to him?
Now when my son sees his new cleats, or his new soccer ball, or the shin guards that walked over to him, he will see God's love and blessings. It was such a faith building opportunity for my son, and I am so thankful to that man for being willing to be a part of it. He spent a pretty penny on a boy he hardly knew. But he made a lasting impression.
God works in mysterious ways. And sometimes He just needs us to be willing to be those feet that walk something over to a little boy, or sometimes He needs us to step back and allow others to walk it over to us. We cannot be too proud to accept God's blessings in our lives. Not only did He provide those shins guards, but He went above and beyond with a new ball and cleats. Both were things that were not necessary, but they were very much desired.
The first season Gabe played soccer we told him he would need to try out the sport first to see if he enjoyed it. Then we would buy him the special shoes. We didn't want to invest a lot of money up front, if he was going to hate it. He loved it, and we forgot our promise of the cleats. He never asked for them again. We might have forgotten how much a new pair of shoes would mean to a little boy, but God didn't.
Gabe told the man in awe, "I've always wanted cleats."