{when God [finally] opens the door}

So we have a local hero around here named Nevin Ashley. He is one of North Knox’s own and has
spent ten years in the minor leagues. WHICH IN ITSELF IS A VERY BIG DEAL. Whether you know him personally or not, if you are a Knox County native, chances are you are talking about him this week. And if you do happen to know him personally, you are certainly talking about him tonight!

He’s a local favorite, a great guy, and even though we all cheered him on through his many moves in the minors… His heart has always been set on the big show.  Major League Baseball.

I’m sure to many, after three years… four years… eight years of waiting it had to seem like that dream would not be realized. According to the Brewer’s website, he had his own moments of doubt as well, nearly retiring in 2013. It gets weary, standing in the hallway just waiting for that door to open.

And then, this week… it DID. After a decade working his butt off in the minors, Nevin got the call he had dreamed about since he was a little boy playing summer league ball.  Eight hundred and seventy games in the minor leagues, ten years of practice, playing, injury, moving, and waiting… it all paid off as he took his first at bat stance in a Major League game.  And our family, along with countless other families in the NK area became instant Brewers fans.

And we all cheered like crazy when his first at bat yielded a double and an RBI.  We hung on every word the announcers had to say about his plays in the game (Jim is, as I type, re-listening to them all). They were rooting for him too, they recognized the magic of someone called up after a decade in the minors.  All because he didn’t give up. All because when he felt like giving up, he had a wife who encouraged him to keep playing the game that he loved. All because he made the absolute best out of the hallway.

As my Facebook feed fills up with congratulations, well wishes, and posts sharing his story into the Majors… I wonder if he is pinching himself? All that wait… and here he is, playing Major League ball. EIGHT HUNDRED AND SEVENTY GAMES, you guys.


Are any of you in a season of waiting? Feeling your way down an unfamiliar hall just waiting for the door to be opened for you?

I know about life in the hallway. I know what it’s like to have a call on your life, a destiny, a dream… and to wait and wait and wait for that door to open. I thought I was on the verge of the door being opened, six years ago.  But the Lord had different plans. He knew exactly what I needed, and He had to take me into a season of waiting to teach me things. So that I could learn from Him how to walk in humility and peace and love. So that he could train my spiritual muscles to respond quickly to His bidding and slowly to injury.  

Like Nevin there were times when I doubted the dream He had given me… and then an encourager would come along. A message out of the blue from someone who had little idea of the season I was in that would say “don’t give up, He’s still going to do this thing”. A Word spoken at just the right time. He sees you, and He’s using this season.

And like Nevin, this very night I am pinching myself. My life is overflowing with praise for all He has done. For the doors He has opened. When I look back on the last few years and the wait that felt like an eternity… I can see why. I can see the refining. The changing. The growing. The persevering through injury. Learning to trust in seasons of transition and moving. 

I am still a million miles from the "big league", but today as my friend Jeanie and I walked from the jail with smiles on our faces we both felt the same thing- encouraged. Tonight as the kids at Sprouts leaned in to hear how specially they were created by God- I was full of hope.  A few nights ago as a teen said “we can trust you”- my heart nearly burst. I may not be playing in the Majors, or have my name spoken on national TV, but tonight I feel like I'm exactly where He wants me to be. And it's amazing. 

What even is my life? How did I get so darn blessed? How did that long season of waiting turn into this??

I wonder if Nevin is feeling the same thing?

What even is my life? I had almost given up… now I am catching in a Major League Game. How did I get so blessed? How did 870 games in the minors turn into this??

Be encouraged, my friend. If you are playing your 698th game in the minor leagues, be encouraged that the door is still there and it can still be opened. Be encouraged that this season of training is for the good. Be encouraged that He has a plan and a purpose, and that if God has planted a dream in your heart, He will bring you to it.

Tonight as we watched Nevin play against the Marlins… as we cheered him on with every play… I was reminded that dreams really do come true. It’s amazing to hear a corn fed Knox County boy’s name being called out by MLB announcers. It’s kind of a big deal.

I’m so not a big deal. But my God certainly is. And if He can put hands like mine to work for Him, what in the world could He do with you. Don’t shy away from a season in the hallway. Don’t give up when the door feels like it’s a million years away. Just keep doing what you can do where you are until He calls you up into your destiny.

And when you are sitting on your couch after a day overflowing with blessing (or in the locker room after your first game in the MLB), remember to thank Him. I can only imagine that Nevin has been… and I’m beyond certain that this girl is too.

Father, thank you for all the seasons of our life! Lord I PRAISE YOU for time spent in the hallway! Lord I praise you that even when doors are opened, it's not an END but a NEW BEGINNING! Father encourage those tonight who find themselves in a season of waiting. Encourage the ones who have grown weary in the wait... remind them tonight Lord that YOU are a God who is in charge, and who knows exactly what we need to walk in everything you have destined for us. Lord, we say tonight that we trust you... help us to praise you, wherever we are... even if it's in the hall! In Jesus Name...