what to do when the water is over your head: three simple words.

We went swimming this past Tuesday.

The place was magical. We stuffed our winter coats into a locker, grabbed our towels and opened the door to a large balmy room that smelled of chlorine. Without looking behind, we stepped into the new world. A world of summer and splashing and slides that landed in a kiddy-pool.

It was a playdate that every February needs.

But my white winter body donning a suit to frolic in knee deep water? No thank you. I kept my clothes on and did a big thumbs up every twenty-eight seconds, complete with the “that-is-awesome!” smile. I chatted with my friend on the edge of the pool, both of us multi-tasking our attention between adult conversation and kid-patrol.

My son started to make his way out of the kiddy-pool and into the adjoining big-kids pool. Step by step he was slowly going deeper until the water was up to his belly-button. I called his name and he looked at me briefly.

“No, honey, that’s too deep for you. You have to stay over this way.” Could he hear me above the noise of the other children? I stood by the edge.

He turned around. His eyes were fixed on a yellow waterslide that seemed to cascade down from the heavens. It was the biggest slide he had ever seen. He began moving forward with weightless steps, bouncing himself into deeper water. I called his name again. And again. This time I was certain he couldn’t hear me. Everyone else could, but his mind was concentrated on that slide, and my shouts landed on deaf ears. Within a few short seconds he was past his chin and kicking frantically against the water, and just as quickly I was in too. I lifted him into my arms and walked us to the edge of the pool.

Needless to say, we had ourselves a talk about water and danger and swimming lessons starting as soon as possible. And next time I enter that magical pool land? I might wear my swimsuit, bring a whistle, and take my phone out of my pocket. Perhaps I will also bring along a makeshift rope so that there can be a boundary line between the pools. Children need to see the boundary.

Don’t we all? There is nothing as deceptive as that slow decent into deep water. Eyes, that lamp of the body, become clouded, fixated on something else. Our ears turn deaf to the warning. What we desire is what we walk towards. It’s what we see and hear and it all feels fine until the moment our foundation feels out of reach. Fear sends you flailing and doubt chokes the hope. That foundation may be only four inches from your kicking feet but you can’t feel it so your body never stops fighting the water.

waves“… and beginning to sink he cried out, saying ‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him…” Matthew 14:30-31

Lord, save me.

Weary one, that’s all you need. Three simple, heartfelt words. Lord, save me.

I am a mother, made of flesh and bone and selfish tendencies. But my child in the deep end? I would have jumped in to help him no matter what the circumstances. It’s this parent-child love that goes beyond the natural. I’m so thankful for it. It gives me faith in His love.

And it does take faith to cry out. It takes faith to believe in His salvation, the solid rock that our thrashing feet long to stand on. It takes faith to accept that a straying sheep would have a loving Shepherd, and it takes faith to fix our eyes, the raw desire of our hearts, on Him and His ways.

The yellow slides will always be there to beckon you out into the deep. They are not worth it. You see the slide, but can you see the struggle?

Keep your feet on solid ground.

“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.. My shield and the horn of my salvation.. He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters.. the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” Psalm 18

“Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation..” Isaiah 28

A sure foundation. That’s what my boy needed. He needed something to stand on, or the water was going to take him down. What do you have to stand on? Who are you or what have you done that you can straighten your legs and stand firm in righteousness against a world that thrashes ugly? Who are you that you can stand when your own flesh spews sin?

But you see? That’s why salvation is so precious. That’s why it has nothing to do with our righteous worth or we’d all be sinking together. But that Rock; that precious, life-saving Rock- salvation, Yeshua. We can stand. You can stand.

And the boundaries that warn of the deep end? It’s His word.

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25

“Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart… Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way… Let your mercies come also to me, O LORD- Your salvation according to Your word… Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word… Your hands have made me and fashioned me; give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments… Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides… I am Yours, save me…” Psalm 119

May this be the prayer and desire of our hearts.

With all the love!

Aubrie

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