So we remind them, "Summer's coming, and you need these skills to safely have fun at the lake!"
My youngest has been in lessons for the shortest period of time but has done so well that this week she was moved up to the next level. She no longer would be in the "little" pool, but would begin to learn real swimming skills in the big pool! She was a little nervous, but the instructors thought she was ready, so we encouraged her to give it a try. By the time we arrived for the lesson she was ready!
I had brought a book, thinking I would get caught up some reading during the lesson, but I couldn't take my eyes off my child. The pool was deep, and she clung to the side. She clung to the teacher at she tried kicking with the flutter board and floating on her back and front. My exuberant, smiliest child had a hard frown of concentration. It was the first time I'd ever seen her look stressed. I moved from sitting on the bench to pressing my nose against the glass wall separating us. She saw me and gave me a solemn wave. She was struggling. I was struggling. Everything in me wanted to go in there and pull her out of that pool.
At the end of the lesson I waited pool-side as she jumped happily into the water over, and over. And while I dried her hair I quizzed her about her feelings during the lessons. "Was it too hard?" "Was the water too cold?" "Did you have fun?" My 4 year old reassured me that it was fun, it was cold a first but then got warm, and she liked learning to swim. She bragged that she had been in all the parts of the pool that her big sister and brother go every week!
Of course, this mommy didn't recover quite so quickly!
And as I reflected on how my heart broke watching her struggle, I thought of my Heavenly Father and what it might be like for Him to watch His children struggle. I wondered if there's a part of Him that would like to swoop down and rescue us as we walk through the valley. I imagined the tears in His eyes as He notices the look of hard determination in our eyes - we will not give up this time. And then I could see His smile when we've come to the other side, so pleased with ourselves; the work was worth it!
And we've grown! We are new and different.
We were never promised an easy life. But with the Lord as our focus, we can do the difficult and even accomplish what we thought was impossible!
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat
down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men,
you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Jesus suffered on the cross SO THAT we will not grow weary and lose heart.
Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow....