“We know these things are true by believing, not by seeing.”
My Daddy and me, many kicks ago.
The little pink bundle that made me a mom turned eight last week.
And what a ball of emotions I have been.
Her softball team wrap-up party fell one day after her birthday, which also happened to be the last day of school. This culmination already made her seem older but that night, I actually saw her grow.
My Baby faced her biggest fear.
Ever since this child could breathe, going under water has terrified her. Regardless of swim lessons, floaties or even holding on to me, My Girl wouldn’t even entertain the idea of total submersion.
Even in the tub.
Sure, she’d play Motorboat Motorboat Goes So Slow, but the lips were as deep as her face was allowed to sink.
But on this night, something was different.
“I don’t think I want my floaties tonight, Momma.” It was on her mind as soon as we left the school parking lot.
“Do we have goggles I can bring?” She questioned as we stopped by the grocers.
Finally, it spilled. “I think I might try swimming under water tonight.”
I was thrilled. So proud My Girl might finally do what I’ve always known she could.
We arrived at the party a touch late; the usual for us. The pool was overflowing with splashes and giggles and water toys–but not a single floatie in sight.
She hurried to join her team.
I watched as she waded into the water, uncertain of her next move. Her anxious smile bobbed up and down to the rhythm of the waves. Would she do it?
I moved closer to the edge of the pool. She and a friend were neck-deep in eight year old excitement when she looked my way.
“Momma, I wanna go under water, but I’m scared.”
“Go for it, Baby. I KNOW you can do it!”
She moaned, “I just don’t like going under.”
“How do you know that? You’ve never really tried. And besides, I’m right here. You can do this!”
Just then her friend disappeared below the surface, popping back up just as fast. “C’mon! It’s fun!”
Positive peer pressure swirled.
With cheeks full of air and goggles properly in place, My Baby went completely under for the first time ever.
I don’t know how she held her breath because she emerged with the biggest grin I’ve ever seen. “Momma! I did it!!!”
And just like that, she grew up a little more.
By the end of the hour this once terrified dog paddler had become a hand-standing, forward-rolling, underwater tea party sensation.
I watched with amazement as she flitted like a fish who’d discovered her fins. She was alive. Free.
As I stood there, I recalled my Daddy’s words: The greater the risk, the greater the reward.
Some of my fondest memories stem from some of my most terrifying moments. Moments I was really alive. When I had to take a big breath and trust it would be worth it.
…Crossing the narrow dam along Grandpa’s pond on the tractor with Daddy.
…Jumping from the edge of the pool into Daddy’s arms.
…Letting go of Daddy’s hand at the altar.
…Praying for forgiveness and salvation with him beside my bed.
Huh, that’s funny. I thought this was about my daughter…
Later that night as she recounted her many underwater talents she reasoned, “You know, I think it was the goggles. It wasn’t as scary once I could see.”
“That may be true,” I said, “but you didn’t know that until you went under.”
Faith doesn’t imply a lack of fear, it’s doing it scared.
As long as we’re breathing there will always be ways to take our faith deeper. Whether we’re 8 or 80, each of us has fears to face and freedom to embrace.
Maybe all we need is a pair of goggles.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” ~Hebrews 11:1