Sunday, January 1, 2012

Just Keep Swimming

I'd like to jump back in here without mentioning just how long I have been away, but I just can't help myself.  When I pulled up the page and it told me the last post was in August... I just couldn't believe how much time had slipped by.  To give myself a little credit, I did have a baby in that time and since then my days have been busy.  But I miss writing, and I miss really pulling my thoughts together to be able to post them here.

With the new year comes a new look for Circling Jericho, I hope you like it, and a goal of a post per week.  We'll see how that goes. I still need to finish my series on Control and Surrender, and also get our Vasectomy Reversal Story posted.  So I have plenty to start with!

But what has been on my mind lately has been about seeking God.  2011 was a hard year for our family, and certainly taught me a lot about control and surrender, but it also left me floundering a little bit and wondering why I felt kind of alone in all my struggles.  I wondered - since God wants us to seek Him, why doesn't He just show up when we decide to head His direction?  It would seem to make sense to reward us a little for figuring out which way we are supposed to be going, right?

The image of teaching my kids to swim came to me.  I spend hours in the pool with them in the summers, showing them, guiding them, training them in new skills.  There comes a time in learning to swim, however, when the child needs to transition from just swimming as far as they can hold their breath to being able to come up for air all on their own.  This is the crucial step in becoming an independent swimmer.

I tell them what they need to do and we practice the movements on the steps.  Then I have the child swim to me.  But instead of reaching out my arms to catch him like I always do, I take a step backwards.

The child can see my feet.  He knows his usual comfortable distance just got longer.  He feels the rising panic as his body calls out for air.  I can see him begin to get nervous and I step closer and catch him.  We go back to the steps and practice again.

The next time he knows that I am going to step back and that he has to lift his head, he really has to try this time.  It is so hard to watch a child at this point in learning to swim.  To see him struggle to combine the skill of swimming with a new one of lifting his head or turning over onto his back.

But he can't learn it at all if I never take that step back.

That one moment of abandonment when I take a step backward and the child realizes that he has to do this is the only thing that will move him to the fun of swimming anywhere he wants to in the pool.  He has to take a breath and keep swimming.

I think this year has been like that for me.  I am swimming towards God.  I am going in the right direction, doing (mostly) what He wants me to do.  And He took that step backward, willing me to keep going, to push through and take that breath and swim the rest of the way.

I can't say for sure if I have learned the new skill that He had planned for me.  But I know I haven't drowned.

I'm still swimming!


  1. Wow, Jen. What a great picture! Inspiring and though a little scary, also comforting. Just like you said, you know He's there...He's just making you grow by stretching you.

  2. About three years ago, I was swimming in an indoor pool with my daughter. She wanted to go to the deep end of the pool, so with her wearing three different kinds of floatation devices, I swam out there with her, side-stroking very slowly so I was a little in front of her and just with her as she went out and back.

    While we were doing this, I felt my guardian angel tell me, This is like what I do with you.

    Your metaphor takes it a bit further, though, because at some point God does take off the floatation device and we have to be able to do it on our own.