A Basketball, A Bear, and Grace

As the mother of a son with Down syndrome, sometimes you wonder. You wonder if your child is being annoying or cute. You wonder if the person on the other end of his one-sided conversation can understand his convoluted speech. You wonder if his overly dramatic attempts at gaining someone’s attention have worn thin on their patience as they, weekly, dig deep to offer grace. And then…

Then, one day he walks out of church youth group with a basketball. A basketball given to him by a kind-hearted coach, teacher and fellow Christ follower. A coach whose motives I do not know but thank him for even if only telepathically. 

I kid. 

I know his wife, who is just as kind-hearted, and I’ll tell her to tell him that this absolutely made my mama bear heart leap for joy.


Not only was this prized basketball given to "Bear," but on it were written these words:


“BLAKE” – that’s his real name (LOL)


“Matthew 5:16”... “Shine”


The full verse is In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.


I’d like to think that my “little” (teen) Blakey Bear was being a light to others, sharing his smile, his joy and his desire for knowing God’s word. Maybe not. Who knows? Maybe he was just playing basketball and had a good day. (Even though he has Down syndrome, he can shoot some serious hoops!)


When Blake initially showed me that he was (proudly) bringing a Bible to youth group this evening, I thought for sure he would lose it, but not only did he bring it back, he brought back hope. Hope in the form of a basketball. Hope that if man can look past disability, hard-to-understand speech, and annoying, overly dramatic antics, then surely our most merciful God in Heaven looks past those outward things too.


In a not-so-perfect analogy, but a notable one nonetheless, Blake was given something he did not earn or deserve. He was given something based on grace just as we are saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. We don’t deserve it, we cannot earn it, but it’s ours if we will accept His gift (Ephesians 2:8-9). And, once we have it, true joy ensues, and we can shine, for the Light of the World has come into our hearts. 

And, just as my mama bear heart is overflowing with thanks, so too our hearts, if we've accepted His gift of salvation, should be moved by the kindness of Jesus and how He thought enough of us to give us the greatest gift ever... Himself.

My coffee cup overflows,