Bottom of the 9th, #3 - Me, Mom & God

Bottom of the 9th - Me, Mom & God

Me, Mom & God

by Greg Popylisen
Senior, Centerfielder, Valor Christian High School

I was born into a four person family with a mother, a father, and a half brother from mom's previous marriage.  I grew up happy in life like most kids from strong families.  When I was in fourth grade, my parents had a rough time and decided to divorce.  As a boy, I didn't understand what was going on, but it angered me and I would lose my temper very fast.  In baseball games I was arguing with the umpires which was easy to do as a catcher.  I was ejected once or twice for arguing with the umpires.  Life kept moving on.

When I entered middle school, both my mom and my dad found new people to love.  My father married my wonderful stepmother Alison, and my mom married my awesome stepdad Tom.  These people showed me love that I had been missing; they showed me that the homes were strong again.  My temper started to subside.

In my eighth grade year, I applied to Valor Christian High School.  Leaving friends I had grown up with was one of the hardest things I'd ever done.  One of the best decisions of my life involved choosing Valor as the high school I was going to attend.  Valor and the people around me brought God into the picture in my life.  I had wonderful mentors both in baseball and in life outside of baseball who helped me come to the Lord.

I was lucky as a freshman and sophomore to be able to join the baseball team trip to the Dominican Republic.  That country changed my worldview about how people live outside of the USA.  You can never fully understand what it's like through stories until you see it for yourself.  All that those children had were beat up clothes, raggedy houses and the game of baseball.  Having the chance to play baseball with these kids and to see their joy even in the harshest conditions showed how great God is, that He loves all of us, and that joy and hope can be found in Him.

I came back from the trips and kept living my normal life, realizing how hard it is to carry out being a follower of Christ.  God always seemed to have a different plan than I had expected.  The week before finals my sophomore year, my mom sat my brother and me down at the dinner table and before words came out of her mouth, she began to cry.  She took a second and then started to talk, the words that came from her mouth cut open my heart; "Boys, I have cancer," she said.  My mind started to race and all I could do was sit there stunned with my mouth shut and eyes focused on my mom.  She told us that we had a long and rough road ahead of us.  

About a month later, mom began her chemotherapy.  The hope was to suppress the cancer until she could get a bone marrow transplant.  I began meeting with my mentor every week and we would talk about the situation and would pray over my mom.  Mom got the transplant that next Fall.  We were so thankful when the chemo and the transplant had suppressed the cancer to the point that the doctors couldn't find it.  We had witnessed a miracle!  I praised God for protecting my mom and my family.

About a month after Christmas, bad times followed the good, mom's cancer was back.  I was somewhat confused about all that was happening at this point and mom started to prepare for another transplant.  I finishedthe semester and began a Summer of baseball and family trips.  I returned from a family wedding and received a call from my stepdad, "Greg you need to come see your mom."   When I got to hospice I saw my mom for the first time in a week and her health had diminished severely. I could tell that she was on the edge of life and death.  I had some alone time with her to tell her what a great mom she was to me and how I loved her very much and she was the best mom a son could have.  Two days later I got a call at midnight from my stepdad that my mom had passed away.  Fear came over me, I didn't know what was going to happen next, I didn't know how to move on and how to live life without her.  God took the wheel for me.  He comforted me through this tragedy and brought peace to my heart.  

"While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them. "Peace be with you." - Luke 24: 35-37

This is exactly what God said to my heart, he brought a sense of stillness into me and comfort that I had never felt before.  God is watching over me, he took the cancer away to give me more time with my mom and gave it back to teach a lesson in Him.  

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham! Here I am," he replied.

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love - Isaac - and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.â€

Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you."

Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?"

"Yes, my son?" Abraham replied.

"The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"

Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together.

When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!"

"Here I am," he replied.

"Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son."

Genesis 22: 1-12

Just as Abraham gave everything to God, we need to stay faithful to Him and He will protect us.

Through scripture and prayer, I kept close to God through the roughest time in my life and He didn't leave my side.  He brought me through the trials of pain and suffering to see His true love.