By: Alysa Bajenaru
I met my husband Jeff in college a few weeks before he signed a professional baseball contract. He spent seven years working his way up the minor league ladder with a few cups of coffee in the big leagues, and I was right there by his side.
We moved around. A lot. Five moves in one year was typical. And every time he was promoted, I would have to start over in a new city. Usually after having moved our entire apartment and driving across the country by myself. (Players are flown out immediately.)
Baseball life was crazy, but I was all in. It was fun and exciting to chase a dream together. But it was hard too. I struggled with loneliness. I struggled with finding my purpose. I struggled with anxiety. (Will he be called up? Will he get hurt? What will happen next?)
After hurting his shoulder in 2007, Jeff spent a few years out of baseball working in ministry. For those few years we had a place to call home. A community. A church. Friends. Neighbors.
And as much as we loved having that, our hearts felt called back to baseball. And as hard as it was to say goodbye, we were obedient. In 2010, Jeff signed a contract to be a professional pitching coach.
Here we go again. This time with kids.
So when I was invited to the IF:Local Leader chat last week, I wasn’t going to go. How could I be a local leader if the word “local” changes every few months? I’m a baseball vagabond. A gypsy. Then it hit me. The word local for me defines a community of women all over the world who are in this game of baseball. No one knows the complexities of this baseball life like we do.
As I started working through Jennie Allen’s book “Restless” I realized how the threads of my seemingly random life are not random at all. I have lived the last 14 years moving through every level of baseball for a reason. I have lived in stinky basement apartments, questionable hotel rooms, and unfamiliar towns for a reason. I have experienced the highs of major league glitz and the lows of minor league isolation for a reason.
It is no accident that with all of my wisdom and experience in this kind of life I am starting over at the bottom of the minor league ladder. God is giving me a heart for women in baseball. The women who are just starting this journey. The girl who is all alone in a strange town while her husband is on a road trip. The woman whose husband just got traded and is anxiously walking into the family section for the first time. The wife who is sitting in the hospital waiting for her husband to come out of his third arm surgery, wondering if his career is over.
I have always seen my husband’s role more clearly than mine. He has a heart for pointing young men to Jesus. He teaches bible studies in hotel rooms and leads chapel in locker rooms. His purpose in this baseball life is clear. But I’m just starting to catch a glimpse of mine, and my heart is pounding with excitement.
I don’t know what this is going to look like, but I know my “local” is not defined by a spot on the map. My local is women in professional baseball. This is where God has me, and this is where I will open my hands and say “anything” to God.
How do you define your local context? Share in the comments below.
Hi! I’m Alysa – dietitian, baseball wife, mom, celiac, justice advocate, and proud wearer of onion-goggles. From food & fitness to faith & family, I believe there’s inspiration to be tapped in our everyday lives. Join me! To learn more, click here.