If you visited my blog about two years ago, you might have read the post about my son Jake, a type one diabetic entering into the NFL draft. At the same time, I was working toward my dream of becoming a novelist. (NFL Aspirations and novelists dreams: Follow the Fairytales as they come true.)
I’m reposting the text of the blog below and then giving an update because I’m simply amazed at how you can make life plans…then hope, dream, and pray, and then look back and smile, knowing that even if everything didn’t go exactly as planned, it went the way it was supposed to go. Life is amazing!
Here’s the blog post, then below that, an update and reflection:
I don’t remember the dream, only the worried face that popped into it. Jake. My four-year-old. Why was his face in my dream? Minutes later, a tap on my shoulder woke me.
“Had a bad dream, Mom,” Jake said.
I lifted the covers, pulled Jake close, and kissed the top of his head, amazed at this strange connection that allowed my son’s fears to travel from his dreams into mine.
Mom’s have connections like that with their children. Sometimes a prickle of worry regarding one of my kids will flash in my mind like a sudden rainstorm pocking up a calm lake. I stop, drop, and pray. Most times, I discover those feelings were on the mark, and my child needed prayers in that moment.
Jake had dreams of becoming an NFL player. What little boy doesn’t? Then as a sophomore in high school, he was diagnosed with type one diabetes. Jake refused to accept it as an obstacle. He wanted to play football on a college scholarship. He pushed himself hard: extra workouts, more discipline, never missing a practice. Jake gave his diabetes and his football dreams to God.
“Maybe God want’s me to have diabetes for a greater purpose,” Jake often expressed.
For the last last four years I’ve watched Jake start as a tight end for the Wisconsin Badgers. (Jake Byrne #82) Now, Jake has an agent and a good shot at the NFL.
Like my son, I proclaimed lofty dreams when I was a child. I wanted to be a novelist. I held onto that goal, learning and improving my writing skills in spite of rejection letters and self-doubt obstacles along my path toward publication. Now, an agent is reading my novel.
Jake and I aren’t sitting back, biting our nails as we wait for our dreams to happen. I’m working on my second book, blogging, and preparing to become a novelist. Jake’s preparing for the NFL draft.
If a boy with type I diabetes can work hard and become an NFL player, then his mom can be a novelist. Lofty goals? Fairytales? NFL player and Novelist. Sometimes we just know what we want and with God’s blessing, hard work, a little God-given talent, and support from others, it can happen.
Mother and child connections. Funny we’re both, at the same time, standing at the cusp of our dreams becoming reality, ready to wake up and be the people we were meant to be.
AND NOW, two years later, here are the updates:
Jake: Type 1 diabetic since the age of fourteen, has since been proactive combating the disease and mentoring diabetic youth. After playing four years for the University of Wisconsin as a tight end, he went on to compete in the NFL. Originally an undrafted free agent who signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2012, he has also been a Houston Texan, Kansas City Chief, and San Diego Charger. And he got engaged at Christmas to a lovely, wonderful girl. I welcome Emma Erickson into the family with a great big hug and lots of love!
Jake is moving forward with new goals and plans: Marriage plans and starting a foundation TYPE WON to help and encourage diabetic youth. He just moved to Dallas and is starting a new job with a PR/Marketing Firm.
Holly: Indie published one novel, Crooked Lines, and have two more to be released this year. Also, after following up from a mission trip after the 2004 Tsunami, indie published a non-fiction book: Tsunami 2004: Still Wading through Waves of Hope.
As a hybrid author-traditional and indie published, I now write write fiction and nonfiction, on a slightly different path than I imagined two years ago. But loving my writing life (fiction and nonfiction) and looking forward to my 2015 book releases and 2016, too!
Together: Our “mother-son connections” have brought us a book contract with Harvest House Publishers, due for a release date Early August: First and Goal – What football taught me about never giving up. We are so excited about this devotional and very grateful to Kim Moore, Senior Editor, who had faith in this project and who has been a joy to work with.
The rest of the family is doing great. My husband, Bishop Leo Michael, continues his work as an anglican pastor/bishop. (St. James Anglican Church, Kansas City)
Youngest son, Nick, plays football for the Ragin’ Cajuns at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. (Jake, above, supporting his team and wearing one of his shirts – holding our book contact).
And daughter Betsy is studying for her Masters and working as a teaching assistant at the University of Louisiana – Lafayette. All three cuties to the left. Ahh…as a mom, I love that these three are best friends.
Reflection: Looking back, I’m amazed at how far we all have come since that post, two years ago. There have been rough moments. Ups and downs. Times when we didn’t know what was next. Jake was cut and picked up, again and again…even brought back to the same team again. I’ve had my own moments of doubt and worry. But, through our moments of uncertainty, we commit our plans to the Lord. Looking back, we can see God’s Hand has been in our lives in amazing ways. He is good. He is faithful. Always.
During moments of doubt and insecurity, pray. Ask the Creator to show us the way. We are His creation and He knows us best and what is best for us.
Looking back or forward, Psalms 31 says it all:
In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commit my spirit;
deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.
Who wouldn’t want to be led by a Greater Power, the Creator and Source of Life and Love. Looking forward, here’s some advice from Psalms 37:4-6:
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
Simple but profound bit of wisdom. We can never go wrong by committing our life and plans to God.
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Psalms 16:3
I may not blog too much in the next few months as I’m in the middle of several writing projects, including a few non-fiction book proposals and finishing three novels…committing it all to the LORD. Will see where He leads us all next. I’m not sure of anything, but only that life is an amazing and wonderful ride with Jesus at the wheel.
Would love if you’d click over and “like” Jake’s TYPE WON Facebook page. While there, would you please subscribe to his mailing list by clicking on the “subscribe” link.
Thanks a bunch!
Looking back, how has your life changed in the last two years? Hopefully, even through the rough times, you’ve moved forward on the path toward your plans, hopes, and dreams. Hopefully, you’ve seen the hand of God in your life. Need direction? Got worries? Let me know. I’d be happy to pray for you.
Oh, and one more bit of news from me. My novel, CROOKED LINES, is on sale for .99 CENTS this week.