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Summertime is here! And that means a lot of time spent in the pool. Being a mom of 2 littles, I decided to get my kids in swim lessons and learn some survival skills in the water. We all know water is not only a place to have fun, but can also be dangerous. It requires us to use a lot of our energy to stay afloat and get from point A to point B. I was reminded of something vital as I watched my kids learn these crucial techniques.

Head Above Water

I watched on as the swim instructor carefully hovered next to my children teaching them to reach, pull, kick, and hold their breath under the water. At times, my youngest swallowed a bit too much water because she loves to stay under for too long, but this is part of the lesson. You see, the coach could have held on to my daughter the whole time.  Then, she never would have swallowed too much water – but she would also never have learned that she is capable of swimming on her own properly. One of best lessons came towards the end of the class — a necessary survival skill – learning to float. This is the go-to move if someone ever needs to catch their breath or take a break to regain strength. For my daughter, this came pretty naturally. My son, however, has taken a little longer at mastering this skill. My son is the eldest and is highly capable at doing most things successfully on his own after very little instruction. At the age of 5, he is also very methodical and tends to calculate cause and effect before acting. Floating is not natural to him. Having to depend on the water to hold him up doesn’t fully compute in his mind so he has a hard time not fighting against it.

Lord, Save Me!

As I was explaining to him how he can relax, spread his arms, and trust the water to hold him, I couldn’t help but say, “You know, the way we can trust Jesus to hold us up.” A simple swim lesson quickly turned into a life lesson on trusting God.

We are often thrown into new situations or life circumstances that we don’t always have the skill set to know how to survive in. We begin to sink, then our loving Father comes along and teaches how to swim, one stroke at a time. Sometimes we take in too much water, but we learn to adapt and come up more often for air. And when we need extra help, He is there for us to hold onto– much like Peter when he tried to walk on water. “Lord, save me!” he cried, and Jesus did.

There are days on our journey when we can put our swim lessons on display like Michael Phelps, trusting in the plan that the Lord has us in. Running our race at full speed ahead for the Kingdom’s glory. But there are also days we feel like we could sink to the bottom of the pool and life suddenly flips upside down. Those are exactly the types of days when we need to remember that last but most important lesson – how to float. When life hits you unexpectedly and knocks the wind out of you, there is no way to stay afloat in your own power. You can try all you want but you will only end up being more tired and scared than when you started. That is the exact moment when it’s time to flip over and rest.

Learn to Float

Psalm 46 says, “Cease striving” or “Be still.” Spread your arms open wide. Take some deep breaths. Realize that the water surrounding you could be a place of doom or it can be where your faith learns to soar – not in your own power but in trusting in the one who is the Living Water. The one who has been there the whole time and ready to hold you up. Jesus is always walking this life with us, coaching us through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Lifting us up and giving us rest in those moments when we cannot take another breath on our own. God is the one who can rescue us when we have nothing left to give of ourselves, and that is all He asks of us – just to trust Him. We do not have to prove anything to Him. He already loves us more than we can ever understand. God loves giving us opportunities to learn to swim and celebrate our victories in what He taught us. But, He also loves holding us close in times when there’s nothing left of us.

I don’t know where you are today. If you are like my daughter who fearlessly jumps and easily trusts; or maybe you’re more like my son who has trouble letting go of his own strengths and putting his trust in something he can’t control. I’ve been on both sides of the coin, depending on the season of life I’m in. One thing is for sure though. When I was at the point of drowning, I chose to flip over and float on my back – letting go of all my striving and pain to the only one capable of holding it all, while also giving me my strength back. It’s part of my story and because I’ve seen Him faithful before, I know I can always float on my back in the future when needed. And you can too!

Arms Open Wide

Have you thought of the position your body is in as you float on your back? Your arms are not stuck to your side. No, they are spread out as far as you can reach! Jesus assumed the same position on the cross – His arms spread open wide as He bore the sin and shame of the world. His arms are still open wide today, inviting us to come. Come to Him to find forgiveness, rest, peace, joy, love, truth, whatever it is you need. It’s found between those open arms.




Lindsey Pickrel
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