You never realize how much you trust someone–or someone trusts you–until you’re in a panic-inducing situation.
Belle had her first experience swimming in a lake on this trip, and she was a bit panicked, even with her life vest on. She has never before been in water where she could not feel the bottom, so the instant she jumped into the water and she realized there was no bottom to feel, she started swimming in circles and breathing heavily.
I know how she feels. When this season of life started, I felt like I was drowning. I couldn’t feel the bottom of the abyss of despair. I had no idea what to do.
But Belle did. She swam over to me and leaned into me. I held her up a little bit so her face was a bit more above the water and cooed lovingly at her. She wasn’t interested in moving away from the dock area, a little scared, and I eventually helped her back onto the dock.
When this whole thing began, I sat on my bed and quite literally cried out to God, tears streaming down my face. As I worked through the panic and despair, as I came to realize I really did have other mental demons I needed to deal with, I felt Him holding me and letting me know I could trust Him. And as I did, I stopped panicking as much. There were quite a few times I had no interest in going deeper, in feeling like I would suffer more pain–I wanted to stay comfortably on shore and watch Him work from a distance. But I have learned I can’t do that.
I want Belle to be comfortable in all water, and the only way to do that is to expose her to those situations. I won’t ever force her past her comfort zone, but I’ll insist she try it. (And my little cousins were very insistent.) I could see in her face she wanted to be out with us but she was scared of not having a footing.
I had wanted for so long to truly see God in my life, but I was afraid of being put in an uncomfortable situation–no one likes to suffer in any way. But those experiences help us to truly experience God.
So when we panic, we know we can lean into Him and He will protect us. He will not let us drown.
Like Belle, I had to have a thoroughly uncomfortable situation to really see I could trust Him. And now, while things are far from perfect and this is not yet over, I know He will not fail me.