In His Image

In His Image Times have changed. I recall being a tall, lanky eighth-grader who stood out like a giant among my classmates. The temptation to slouch was there, but my mother always encouraged me to “stand up tall and be proud.” Proud of what? Proud of the fact that I was taller than nearly every boy in town? Taller than some of my teachers? Taller than my mother! I pondered the Biblical quote, “made in God’s image." Was this the image He had in mind? I wondered, why me? I felt like an oddity. Yet today I would fit in among a group of young women who know it is okay to play basketball at recess, to run faster than the boys in P.E., to reach higher and to jump farther. It is OK to ignore the makeup and mall fashions. A girl like me today would wear a T-shirt that says, "I'm not a tomboy, I'm an athlete." Girls today admire high school and college women who stand 6 feet 4 inches and more. It seems there is plenty of excitement in the Northwest about girls playing basketball, as evidenced by the recent Walla Walla College Friendship Tournament, hosting 12 high school girls' (and boys’) basketball teams. And there's the Oregon Conference Friendship Tournament hosted by Portland Adventist Academy with eight junior high school teams. I watch my very tall daughters, now in eighth and 10th grades, play in these tournaments, and I am pleased and proud—pleased that the girls are athletes, athletes who don’t play sports just for P.E. class. They play for the fun of it, the health of it. While some girls play because they have dreams of their futures and hopes of being professional basketball players, others just have fun using the talents God has given them. God doesn’t make mistakes, and He wants us to like ourselves the way He made us. Girls today are more comfortable with themselves than I was. I see in their eyes the joy of playing softball. I see it in their kicks on the soccer field. I see it in their grace on the basketball court. I couldn't be happier; and while I may wish that I'd had the opportunity that girls have today, I don't want my daughters to play sports because I didn't get a chance. I want my daughters to play sports because of all it teaches them. When a girl faces an opponent a head taller than she and has to work really hard, make a good fake and drive to the basket, she is learning that, when faced with an overbearing obstacle, she can make her own path to success. When she plays a grueling two-day tournament, she learns that she can reach deep inside herself for reserves she never realized she had. She uses her devotional time with God to help prepare her for winning and losing. When up against an impenetrable zone defense, she learns to become one with her team—each member working to solve a common problem. As the team members pray together before each game, they share a common connection with God. That is “Christian teamwork.” She learns that opponents are not enemies but friends challenging her to be the best she can be. She has learned that practice will improve her shot. She will use all of these skills again and again throughout her life—with school, with business and with relationships with other people. When the team members suffer a painful loss, they learn to face new challenges with the biblical principles of going the distance, of finishing the race, of staying the course“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7). For me, the years went by, and so did the inches. Five feet 10 inches … 5 feet 11 inches … 5 feet 12 inches (I couldn’t bear to say six feet!) … and finally stopping at 6 feet 1 inch. Now, at age 40-something, I think I understand what my mother meant … proud of who God made me to be, proud of the connection recorded in Genesis 1:26 (NLT); “Then God said, 'Let us make people in our image, to be like ourselves.'” I’m OK with the fact that I can see over almost anyone, that I use only the top cupboards in the kitchen, that I still have trouble finding pants long enough. And every Sunday afternoon, I enjoy the height advantage that I have on the basketball court in a recreational league! I’ve also learned that not all the benefits are for the girls. In the past I’ve volunteered as girls’ basketball coach at YMCA, Meadow Glade Elementary and Columbia Adventist Academy. Coaching is a unique opportunity to teach basketball skills that were never taught to me and my peers, a chance to learn and grow with young Christian women who are playing as a team—to laugh with them, to cry with them, to pray with them, to grow closer to Christ together.

In His Image

Times have changed. I recall being a tall, lanky eighth-grader who stood out like a giant among my classmates. The temptation to slouch was there, but my mother always encouraged me to “stand up tall and be proud.”

Proud of what? Proud of the fact that I was taller than nearly every boy in town? Taller than some of my teachers? Taller than my mother! I pondered the Biblical quote, “made in God’s image." Was this the image He had in mind? I wondered, why me? I felt like an oddity.

Yet today I would fit in among a group of young women who know it is okay to play basketball at recess, to run faster than the boys in P.E., to reach higher and to jump farther. It is OK to ignore the makeup and mall fashions. A girl like me today would wear a T-shirt that says, "I'm not a tomboy, I'm an athlete." Girls today admire high school and college women who stand 6 feet 4 inches and more.

It seems there is plenty of excitement in the Northwest about girls playing basketball, as evidenced by the recent Walla Walla College Friendship Tournament, hosting 12 high school girls' (and boys’) basketball teams. And there's the Oregon Conference Friendship Tournament hosted by Portland Adventist Academy with eight junior high school teams.

I watch my very tall daughters, now in eighth and 10th grades, play in these tournaments, and I am pleased and proud—pleased that the girls are athletes, athletes who don’t play sports just for P.E. class. They play for the fun of it, the health of it. While some girls play because they have dreams of their futures and hopes of being professional basketball players, others just have fun using the talents God has given them. God doesn’t make mistakes, and He wants us to like ourselves the way He made us.

Girls today are more comfortable with themselves than I was. I see in their eyes the joy of playing softball. I see it in their kicks on the soccer field. I see it in their grace on the basketball court. I couldn't be happier; and while I may wish that I'd had the opportunity that girls have today, I don't want my daughters to play sports because I didn't get a chance. I want my daughters to play sports because of all it teaches them.

When a girl faces an opponent a head taller than she and has to work really hard, make a good fake and drive to the basket, she is learning that, when faced with an overbearing obstacle, she can make her own path to success.

When she plays a grueling two-day tournament, she learns that she can reach deep inside herself for reserves she never realized she had.

She uses her devotional time with God to help prepare her for winning and losing. When up against an impenetrable zone defense, she learns to become one with her team—each member working to solve a common problem.

As the team members pray together before each game, they share a common connection with God. That is “Christian teamwork.”

She learns that opponents are not enemies but friends challenging her to be the best she can be. She has learned that practice will improve her shot.

She will use all of these skills again and again throughout her life—with school, with business and with relationships with other people.

When the team members suffer a painful loss, they learn to face new challenges with the biblical principles of going the distance, of finishing the race, of staying the course“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7).

For me, the years went by, and so did the inches. Five feet 10 inches … 5 feet 11 inches … 5 feet 12 inches (I couldn’t bear to say six feet!) … and finally stopping at 6 feet 1 inch. Now, at age 40-something, I think I understand what my mother meant … proud of who God made me to be, proud of the connection recorded in Genesis 1:26 (NLT); “Then God said, 'Let us make people in our image, to be like ourselves.'”

I’m OK with the fact that I can see over almost anyone, that I use only the top cupboards in the kitchen, that I still have trouble finding pants long enough. And every Sunday afternoon, I enjoy the height advantage that I have on the basketball court in a recreational league!

I’ve also learned that not all the benefits are for the girls. In the past I’ve volunteered as girls’ basketball coach at YMCA, Meadow Glade Elementary and Columbia Adventist Academy. Coaching is a unique opportunity to teach basketball skills that were never taught to me and my peers, a chance to learn and grow with young Christian women who are playing as a team—to laugh with them, to cry with them, to pray with them, to grow closer to Christ together.

July 01, 2005 / Perspective
Share