Swim, baby girl!

My daughter is not what you would call a “natural swimmer”. She loves the water but attaining the skill of not sinking to the bottom has been something we have really had to work on. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of pools or the ocean. It stirs my anxiety… “Hey let’s all hang out around a giant potential death pool!” Not my idea of fun. One day when my kids are pro-swimmers, I might be able to relax and read a book while they swim… maybe.

So we are working with our girl. She is getting better. The other day, she wanted to swim to the deep end of the pool. Reluctantly I let her do it, while I swam right beside her. About half way to the edge she got tired. She lifted her head and restlessly flapped around in the middle of the deep in. Although I wanted to swoop in, grab her and convince her it was time to get out of the pool, I didn’t. Instead I started yelling, “Swim baby girl! Swim!”. Something clicked in her. She ducked her head underwater and swam like a pro to the edge of the pool. She was so proud and I was too.

This morning in church the pastor spoke on a passage in Luke. He talked about Simon (later Peter) making the decision to lay down his nets and follow Jesus.  The pastor’s main point was “getting in the deep end” with our faith – really trusting God and letting go of control.

The water/ocean analogy hit a cord with me. My husband and I have made the decision to “get in the deep end” with God and really trust Him. Since that time we have faced financial pit falls, failed ministry, depression, mysterious illnesses, broken relationships, painful moves, failed adoption, challenging parenting situations and more. I can not tell you how many times in the past 10 years I have said, “Lord, I feel like I’m sinking! I just need to catch my breath!” There has been so much good and blessing through the years but there has also been debilitating pain and struggle. So the whole idea “leaving the shore” and “diving deep” into following Christ, resonated. The longer I listened, bitterness began to turn. I thought, “Sure this sounds good from the “shore” but when you are being tossed by the waves with sea water going up your ears and nose, things get really confusing! “.

I remember feeling so lonely, confused and afraid… like I was drowning. I could almost see it – blankets of ocean, me struggling to get through, flailing around restlessly in the middle of the deep. But as we prayed, God gave me a  different picture.

I could see Jesus swimming next to me saying “Swim baby girl! Swim!”. I fought to get through. I ducked my head under water and swam. And as clear as day, I heard Him whisper in my spirit, “And you are now a great swimmer”.

All figurative analogies aside, an easy and calm life makes for a weak person. Through each trial and struggle, God has built strength. There is pain. There is confusion. But God draws me closer with each one. He builds endurance and stregnth through Him. To keep swimming (obviously I resisted the urge to name this blog “just keep swimming”) is to get up everyday and do that day for Jesus. Maybe it is big, maybe small but you do it all for the Lord with purpose and peace. It doing the ordinary things well. Its not complaining. Its loving unlovable ones. Its speaking up when you would rather keep quiet. Its working hard. Its obedience.

Today was a sad, sad day for our country. We are in turbulent times. We need to be strong not flabby and weak.

So, yes! Leave the shore, get in the deep end! Be “submerged” in the will of God! It is going to be hard and it is going to hurt at times. But, you will be with your God. You will know Him more deeply and You will become a great swimmer!

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
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