In Over Your Head

As an avid swimmer, working as a lifeguard at a small neighborhood pool several summers during college was a great blessing. One unexpected result of those years of training might not have been as appreciated by my children. It’s hard to turn the lifeguard “switch” off once you have had it flipped, so the older two could recite the pool rules as if they were etched on the lenses of their goggles!  Then there is the youngest, Jonah. Yes, please, laugh at the irony of his name. This fearless guy had not read the “mom was a lifeguard” memo because, well, I guess because he couldn’t yet read? I tried to teach him the rules, but his attention span was gone as quickly as a waterbug across a pond. Jonah was quickly learning how to swim but had a thrill-seeking personality. I had to remind him often he must wear a lifejacket in the deep end. He was convinced he was ready to navigate the diving board without a safety device and would test my boundaries.

One day while preparing to leave our sweet neighbor’s house, (can I just say God bless neighbors who let you bring 6 and 4 year old boys to swim out their energy multiple times a week?!?) we were quite tired because we had stayed longer than usual. (This is me setting you up for my mommy brain lapse.) We picked up the water toys and placed them in the shed, packed up our things, and I unbuckled Jonah’s lifejacket so I could leave it hanging on the fence.  Then I noticed one stray pool noodle. I told the boys to sit in the chairs by the gate and turned for a second to throw it into the shed.

SPLASH! Before I even whipped around, mother instinct told me what I would find. Add to that equation lifeguard-trained reflexes, and I am sure I would have given Wonder Woman a run for her money. The spin and my entry into the water were almost simultaneous. I saw Jonah sinking down on the other side of the pool. The lifejacket made it into the water yet was doing little for him now. He grabbed the cord of the jacket but his efforts were fruitless to get his head above water. I remember it in slow motion, but in real time it was all over in a matter of seconds. I scooped my boy up out of the water and held him tightly in my arms. His eyes were as wide as saucers when he took a big gulp of air. Those moments had seemed like eternity to him. “Momma!” he exclaimed, “you saved me!”

The experience convinced him that his mother was right; he still needed the jacket. In fact, later, after he had become an excellent swimmer, I had to convince him that he could do it—maneuver those deep waters without a safety vest.

How is this like us spiritually?

 Are you trying to distance yourself from something God has wrapped around you as protection, like the lifejacket?  Are you still holding on to a safety device while God is calling you to deeper waters because He knows you are capable of more?  Do you feel like your head is underwater and you are swimming for your life…holding on to a cord of hope?

If you can relate, soak in God’s word:

“Don’t be afraid….When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down!”  
Isaiah 43:1-2 

God is our watchful lifeguard with perspective we don’t possess. Trust Him today!

About Selynda Vass

Selynda Vass is now outnumbered in an all male household, (including dogs!) so she loves some good girl time! She shares a passion for parent and children’s ministry with her husband. An author and speaker with 15 years experience in social services, her best learning has come hands on as a mom to the children with whom God has blessed her through marriage, birth, and adoption. She graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University with a BA in Family Psychology.