Wednesday, September 19, 2012

He Walks Us On The Water

“Mom!  Take a picture!”  I hurry to open the camera and focus in time, but as with most of my shots today, the result is a blurry dash of boymotion into the deep end of the pool.  He’s a newly-minted “expert” (evidenced by the swim test bracelet on his ankle) and we’re at his aunt’s pool showing off his skills.  His lungs heave with glee and pride and confidence as he pulls himself over the edge for yet another fling into the waters.  My heart swells with pride, too, but my lungs are another matter. I think they’re breathing again for the first time in years.  Five, to be exact. 

Matt is the oldest of my triplets and has always been physically adventurous.  Anything involving a ball or net or finish line taps into his competitive drive and sets him into reckless motion.  No one is certain about that day 5 years ago.  Not one adult at the family picnic saw it happen.  Our best guess is that a floating beach ball triggered a Pavlovian response and sent his little toddler arms reaching for the bobbing toy which momentarily kept him afloat before he slipped into the very same deep water where I am watching him swim today. 

He’s aware of his history here.  We’ve told him how Mommy’s eyes were lifted to the exact spot she needed to see, how angels’ wings kept his head above water for an unknown lapse of time, how the scar on Daddy’s leg was made by the concrete tearing skin as he slid to where tiny hands were flailing for rescue.  Matt knows that in his second year, he was on the receiving end of a miracle.  The only thing we never told him about that day was that he should be afraid to get back in the water.  To be anxious about the prospect of another accident.  To worry that the next time, rescue wouldn’t come.  From the minute he was pulled from the water, we began to focus the event in a positive light, barring fear from any dark corner in which to linger. 

I, however, with an adult’s rear-view mirror full of life’s broken pieces, admit it’s been hard to pull my own mind from the abyss of dread thinking.  It’s tempting to fence off every perceived danger and adopt a fear-first/never-rest instinct about parenting.  Living care-free in the midst of a care-filled world seems like the most unreasonable thing a parent could choose to do.  And yet, as I watch Matt joyfully toss his body into the water, I realize that I’m really watching the fullness of the miracle unfold.  Matt’s body was saved that day but his soul – the seat of his emotions, personality & will – has been saved every day since.  It’s a glimpse of purity that only a young child can give… the ebullience of life before the puncture of fear. 

I breathe a few easy breaths, inhaling thanks and exhaling praise as I soak in that moment of understanding.  Father, may I never sow worry into my children’s minds and may I always remember the joy of this day when I’m tempted to partner with fear.  Keep me from thinking that it ever adds value to my heart.  My prayer ends with another shout from the jump-crazy boy.  “Mom, watch this!  I can walk on water!”  He belly laughs as he marches over the edge and momentarily looks as if he is taking a step across the pool.  He tumbles in and comes up smiling.  And this day, I come up smiling, too.    

Matthew 14:26-31
When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the lake, they were terrified and cried out in fear.  
But Jesus said to them, "It is I.  Don't be afraid."
"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
"Come," he said.
Then Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water.  But when he saw the wind,
he was afraid and began to sink.  "Lord! Save me!"
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.
"You of little faith," he said.  "Why did you doubt?"


  1. Jen, I can't even imagine what you must have gone through 5 years back. I marvel at your courage and I applaud you for encouraging your son to get back into the water. I've got so much to learn about not giving in when fear grips my heart. So grateful our God never gives up on us. God bless you, Jen!

  2. Thank you, sweet friend :-) Yes, it's a process to learn and then really internalize the truth that God is good all the time. His mercies are new each day! Blessings prayed for you and your family :-)