It was my first year of middle school summer camp at Camp Jubilee and I was excited to have a new yellow and black polka dot bathing suit, but yet even more thrilled to be swimming in the pool with the “older” girls. Wow they could flip and do such amazing tricks from the diving board. It was all I could do to keep my head afloat. Doggy Paddle was the only swimming technique I had ever known. In all honesty it still is! There was no money for swimming lessons in my family and the only time we headed to the water was when all four of my sisters along with mom & dad would be cramped into the back of a little camper shell on the back of dad’s small pickup truck and would head out to Atlantic Beach for a weekend of potted meat, saltine crackers, Vienna sausages, swimming and fishing. Now I was in a pool where most definitely my lack of experience was beginning to kick in. I couldn’t dare allow the big girls to know that I did not know how to swim.
Little by little I would edge on just a little closer to the drop off at the deep end of the pool just so I would have the appearance of a skillful swimmer. I would hold tightly to the side, laugh and cut up with the others and certainly no one would ever suspect that I was a novice. Suddenly a large splash into the pool made by one of the teen aged divers , caused me to lose my footing. The water went right over my head and I slipped and went plummeting under in the deep end. Feeling paralyzed with fear, I began to panic and gasp for air and take in water through my nose and my mouth. It was a scary feeling as I began to tell myself “kick, just paddle back up to the surface.” I had sunk so close to the bottom that I was getting really nervous and began to swallow more water. “Kick, kick you can do it just kick yourself back to the top.” Struggling, I mustered up courage, stretched out my arms and was able to kick up to the top long enough to scream out for Help! At that moment the lifeguard threw me one of those red & white life rings and a counselor jumped in to save me. What a relief to feel the arms of my rescuer so tightly around my waist and to feel at that moment that everything was going to be o.k. Yes, I was going to be o.k. and more importantly to me, I was going to live!!!
I have had times in my adult life when I was paralyzed by the same fear that I had that day as a child. Not knowing how I was going to make it or come back up to the surface. How will we survive on one paycheck after I lost my job, how do I survive the doctors diagnosis after finding a lump, how will I survive a crumbling marriage, the sudden death of a loved one? At different times I felt like I was gasping for air and I was going under. I have had to realize that God did not give me that “spirit of fear” but instead he has given me his power and love to overcome those fears. Let’s face it we all have fears and have experienced times of uncertainty. Friends there will be rough times when you just have to take a hold of God’s promises. I love to find rest in the following scripture:
Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
SO this lets me know I will be o.k. Better yet why should I fear? I have a great assurance because I found out a long time ago that MY life guard walks on water! Bev:)