We’re in this together…

Our son Jonah is an ice hockey goalie.

Most days it’s a fun addition to our lives, watching him play, getting hammered with pucks, and taking on a new challenge every game.

Yesterday, he had a crudey hockey game. He didn’t play horrible, but he got trampled and scored on 10 separate times. In goalie land, that stinks. In mama land, it’s equally as stinky. I walked into the locker room after the game to find my son with his head hung down, still sitting with all his pads on.

He looked tired and defeated. 

I tried to encourage him and make him laugh:

You’re pretty new at this hockey thing.

You played hard and stopped a million shots.

You’ll get ’em next time.

All my words of encouragement were good and maybe a tiny bit helpful, but he still sat slumped and dejected.

And then…light shined in.

A puck landed square in Jonah’s lap. I looked up to see a skinny little hockey teammate. He slapped Jonah on the shoulder and said, “Good job, Jonah. We’re lucky to have you, man. I’ve been there. It’s hard.”

He went back to have a seat. Jonah turned the puck over. Written on the puck was the word “WOW” in boy handwriting.

Jonah looked up at me and said, “Where are we eating dinner? I’m hungry.” And I knew he would be just fine. Someone – a teammate, a comrade – lifted him up. He said in a very simple way, “We’re in this together.” 

What a difference together makes.

There are dark and difficult times in life. There are also days that are moderately junky. There are embarrassing moments and times we feel let down, or like we let everyone around us down. What makes the difference?


God created the church for a purpose. He’s a God of relationship. When those around us rally and take a moment to recognize that we aren’t an island, we aren’t a ship tossed alone at sea, but we are a body, built and knit together in Him, this is how we reach around us. Who are the ones around you that need to hear –

“I’ve been there. It hurts. But you’re not in this alone.”?

Who is waiting to have the puck land in their lap and to be lifted up by the acceptance and warmth of the team?

Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s your pastor, maybe it’s one of the kids at your high school, maybe it’s your grouchy neighbor. Jesus, our Savior, walked the dusty road, and knows what it’s like. He embraces us because He loves even that which is broken, not just to fix it, but because it is broken and He can work with broken. He sees Together in broken.

Either way,  you are not alone. We are in this together. 

Jonah carried that puck around with him all day today. I think he learned an important life lesson long before I ever did. He can take a risk, he’s ready to be all in, because he’s not in it alone.

He has Together.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
                                                                                 Ecclesiastes 4:9
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly…
                                                                                 1 Peter 4:8

Smelly, sweaty prayers

In our house, one of my favorite things to spot is this giant bag sitting in front of my washing machine. It’s black and red and huge! I lean down and slowly unzip the zipper and wait for the smell. What wafts up at me?

Sweaty, smelly, little boy scent.

I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for that smell. I’ll wash those gross hockey sweat infested clothes for years on end, if he’ll let me. To me that scent represents so much more than just a gross boy who needs a shower. It smells like hard work, determination, commitment, and doing something with your whole heart, something he loves, and in which he finds unadulterated joy.

Now, I’m not sports obsessed. Nor am I a laundry slave to my 10-year-old. 🙂 But here’s the connection-

I think that God is a little like me opening the sweaty smelly laundry bag, when we offer our prayers up to Him. Lately God has gotten not just my prayers, but my blotchy, red face, heart’s cry prayers. He’s gotten my bottom of the pit, arms raised, seeking rescue prayers. He’s gotten my broken heart, life crashing down around me prayers. He’s gotten my frightened small voice in the middle of the night prayers.

It gives me comfort to know that, to Him, these prayers are a beautiful thing, like incense rising before Him…the sweet, sweaty smell of my precious, difficult, sojourning life on this planet. He collects my tears in an bottle. He calls my struggle “good”, when I can not. Then He turns it into something better than good.

What sweaty work have you been doing? What determined struggle do you see in your own life? From parenting wee ones and big ones, slogging through the work of grief, finding two more dollars to be able to make the utility bills, caregiving for a beloved aged member of the congregation, serving in a role that you don’t love, to loving those who seem unlovable. That’s all sweaty work.

And He loves our sweaty prayers.

May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.     

Psalm 141:2

As for my sweaty, smelly, precious hockey player. He’s equally embarrassed and loves it when I pray over him before each hockey game. 🙂