Back in 2020 we shared the story of LeAnn Sanders Shelton, who lost her left arm at age 4 in a lawnmower accident.
With determination, she not only relearned how to do everything she needed to with one arm, but also how to play ball. She started out playing baseball on a boys’ team, then switched to girls’ softball when the sport came to her hometown.
Later at Pickens County High School, Shelton was a star pitcher and outfielder and a leading hitter. In 2013 she was inducted into the Dixie Softball Hall of Fame.
Now she’s head coach for the high school softball team at Columbus Christian Academy in Columbus, Mississippi.
“In March athletic director Billy Thomas sent me a Facebook friend request,” recalled Shelton, a member of Arbor Springs Baptist Church in Reform, Alabama. “Then in April he sent me a message to contact him.”
In 2019 she published a book, “Red Stitches,” about her life and softball career, which gave her many opportunities to speak to groups and share her testimony. She figured the message was about that.
Instead Thomas offered her the head coach position.
“He told me to take my time, pray about it and talk it over with my husband. And let me tell you, he wasn’t going to let me forget about the offer,” Shelton recalled. “I heard from Coach Billy every other week!”
Her husband was behind her 100%, as was the rest of the family. The night she and her son had their final meeting with Thomas, they went to Walmart and drove past a softball sitting in the middle of the parking lot. They turned around and she picked it up.
“I’m all about God’s signs,” she said.
With everything pointing that direction, Shelton took the job even though she was a little nervous.
“I worried about them not accepting me as a coach, but after the third practice the girls and I were cracking jokes,” Shelton said.
She says she knows softball “like the back of my only hand.” It taught her self-discipline and confidence when she needed it most. So she’s looking forward to coming alongside the girls and helping them be successful as a team and individuals. She sees it as a way to live out her passion and invest in them at the same time.
“I want to show the girls that through God anything is possible,” Shelton declared. “I’m far from perfect but I know I’m forgiven, so I can have peace every single day. They can, too. No matter what they’re facing, God can turn it around just like that.
“Our purpose for disappointment is when we find God’s appointment for something better,” she noted. “God is a pretty good catcher, so no matter what life pitches at you, He will catch it in His mighty and strong hands.”
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