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The Lifeguard

Meg Chaney

They sat as a group by the side of the pool, listening to the instructor. Before they jumped in the pool there were rules to follow, a list of directions to attend to. And then, they jumped. Not holding the instructor's hand, but free fall. Would there be a bottom? Would they be able to stand? Some where fearless when it came to this, others held back, one or two even needed a hand, especially on the first few days. But slowly they became confident with this first step, because... they knew they could stand. And so they jumped in, cool water in the hot morning sun, drenching them from the feet up. But standing in the water wasn't enough. Next, next they had to put their head under, once, twice, five times. Five times they had to put their head under, trusting that their breath would hold. Trusting that the life guard was watching them. 

You should have seen my daughter's face at this point. She glowed with happiness. She was so proud that she had dunked her head under water. It was just the beginning of learning how to swim, but she was proud of this first, substantial step. 

The first step is not being afraid. The first step is to just put your head under water. Some of us take forever to even make it this far. We don't trust our lungs. We're afraid of putting our head under, for even a second.  

But she did this.  

And then, the life guard asked for something more.

He had her lay on her back, extend her arms and legs, and float. To trust the buoyancy of her young body, to trust that, while he wasn't holding her, he was near by to catch her when she started to sink.  

To trust that he'd always be right there, each time a new task was placed in front of her. 

And then she was placing her feet against the wall, pushing out into the unknown. Swimming towards the lifeguard. Propelling her little arms and legs forward. 





My mommy heart was scared for her at times. I worried that the life guard would be distracted, that he wouldn't realize just how small she was. The other members of her class were head and shoulders above her. What was shallow to them was deep to her.  

But he always caught her just in time. Just in time his arms reached out and pulled her back in. 

She was never truly outside of his reach, even when she was flying through the water. Even when it seemed like she was all alone.  

Even when her future was unclear, she had to trust in what she knew. She knew that he had kept her from sinking before. She knew that he had always been there. She knew that he spoke honestly to her. So she pushed out from the wall, tried moving her arms and legs, and tried to see what would happen next. Sometimes she didn't get very far. She was still small, and weak. The life guard said it would take time, time to build up stamina, time to grow and continue to learn. But again and again she was in that water. For two weeks she showed up, practicing those skills. At the end of the lessons, she wasn't quite there yet. But the skills she had learned so far where so important. Trust, trust in her own ability to breathe. Trust that she could float in the water. Trust that the life guard would keep her from sinking while she learned. 

There are days when I feel so weak. I find myself, barely being able to move my arms, starting to sink. But I know, I know God has kept me until now. I know that His plans for me have been in place since the beginning. So, I stretch my fingers out, stick my belly up in the air, and try to float. I float through the waters of this life, sometimes smooth, sometimes rocky, trusting that God will protect me. He will protect me in new territory, in the unknowns. He will protect me, as I continue to let go of my children, and let experience God for themselves. He will protect me, as we face moves in our future, new places, new adventures. He will protect me on the easy, rolling days of motherhood, and on the days when I sense just how deep the water is. He will places His hand on my back when I start to sink, and hold me steadfast. 

He has always caught me. He is my refuge and strength (Psalm 94:18,19.22).

His plans are good and true (Jeremiah 29:11).

He loves me and has called me to a purpose (Romans 8:28).

I can't go anywhere that He hasn't already been (Psalm 139). 

He has written every day of my story, and that of my children (Psalm 139).

And so, I trust Him as we start on a new adventure. I trust Him, when He asks me to jump, free fall into the water, waiting for the bottom to come. I trust Him, when I lay on my back, ears muted by the water, face toward the sky, knowing that He is the Creator of all. He is my ultimate Life Guard. He is worthy of my trust and adoration. I trust in what I know.