• Angelene Woodard

Why Fighting Weakness Feels alot Like Drowning

Joe, our seven-year-old son, is athletic. He has incredible body control, strength, flexibility, and speed. As a baby, he skipped crawling and went straight to walking. As a three year old, he skipped training wheels and went straight to a big boy bike.

Now, as a second grader, he spins on the top of his skull in breakdancing class, does one-handed cartwheels like a boss, entertains himself by doing as many push-ups as possible, and quite literally climbs the door casings in our home.

However, there is one thing he's not so good at. Swimming. Let's call it his weakness.

(I blame his mom. She never signed him up for swim classes. )

So this past summer we had a little impromptu swim lesson. There I am in the water, coaxing him into the pool, encouraging him to join me.

The water is too deep for him to touch the bottom. (I'm quite comfortable though. I can touch. And my entire tankini clad body is completely blurred under five feet of water - so I'm thanking God in heaven for that.)

The plan is for him to:

1. Swim to me.

2. Take a little break. Breathe. Celebrate not drowning.

3. Swim back to the edge without me.

He did it. He leapt as far as he possibly could in my direction. I think this was an attempt to jump instead of swim to me.

Of course, I caught him. Honestly, I don't even think his face got wet.

We do this over and over. As his confidence grows, I back out a little farther.

We were having a blast! He was swimming!

He was following my directions. We were cheering and laughing. It was mother and son bonding at it's finest.

He insisted I go out even farther.

That's when it got ugly.

He was getting tired. He was getting a little over confident, as well.

All of a sudden, I was the enemy. He demanded to know: Why didn't I grab him before the water went all the way up into his nose (and sinus cavity)?

Why didn't I tell him it looked farther away than he thought it was. (Apparently, I am also a mind reader.)

Why did I trick him into thinking this was going to be fun and easy?

And just like that, he stopped trusting me.

This is exactly the way it works with our Heavenly Father. He calls us into deep waters. He knows we are not skilled or qualified to perform certain tasks.

He also knows there is no way He's going to let us sink, if/when we accept the call to swim with Him.

See if this experience between my son and myself is similar to what we have with the Lord.

Parent: Trust me, Love. I am right here. I will catch you.

Child: I want to...but, I'm scared.

Parent: I know. It's alright to be scared. Do you trust me?

Child: Yeah. But I don't want to get in.

Parent: I cannot teach you until you come toward me.

Joe takes a big breath, a big leap of faith, and joins me in the water.

Parent: You did it! Good job!

Child: I did it! And you caught me. Thank you!

Parent: Wanna try some more?

Child: (reluctantly) Yes. But, don't let go.

Parent: I will not let go. I promise.

Child: Hey! Why'd you dunk me under the water like that?! You said you wouldn't let go!

Parent: I didn't let go. I dunked you because you need to learn how to hold your breath. It's critical to swimming.

See? Even when He calls us into unchartered territory, He is there with us. He holds us up high enough to be alright. And then He may give us an unexpected twist.

These challenges are for our good and for our growth. He knows best.

Trusting the Teacher is vitally important for success.

Child: I want to go to the edge by myself.

Parent: That's not a very good idea. You are not ready for that.

Child: I can do it. Please?

Parent: I will let you try. But you cannot do this without me, yet.

Joe takes off for the edge of the pool. His finish line.

There is not a lot of swimming going on. It's more like flailing and thrashing about.

He's oblivious to the fact I have to give him a little nudge here and there to get him to the goal.

Through all that struggle, he finally makes it to the edge.

There's sputtering and splashing. There's coughing and complaining. I have not seen this much snot exit the child since this past January when he had that gross head cold.

He then admits that he's not quite ready to do that again. At least not without me.

- Let us not attempt to swim this life without our Preserver.

- Let us not doubt that He's anywhere other than right there in the water with us.

- Let us recognize that He knows what we need to know and will teach accordingly.

- Let us not be oblivious to the life saving nudges He provides here and there.

Let's just admit when we're no good at something, even though He has called us to do it. Then wait for the Lord to teach us as only He can.

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