Thursday, July 12, 2012


It's the first week of swimming lessons, and six sensational kids stand in line to go off the diving board. Some have done this before, others only a couple of times before, and two this is their first time EVER jumping off the diving board. My daughter Carissa is standing shivering in line, because she is all of 40 pounds soaking wet. Carissa recently graduated Kindergarten and she is entering the first grade in the fall. She will be starting a new year, and she will be making new friends. A lot of new things happen when your young. A lot of first time experiences, liking jumping off the diving board, and into the deep end all by yourself. 

Do you remember the first time you jumped off a diving board? If the experience wasn't tough enough many watchful eyes of other kids and grown ups gathered around the pool waiting for you to jump just intensifies things that much more. 

Here she is waiting her turn. I am standing just a couple yards away, and I can feel the tension building up, as she waits very anxiously for her turn to arrive. Heart pounding, pulse racing, I can hardly breath as I wonder if the mounting fear will over take her, or will she be able to move forward into what she is being called to do.

I am proud of her for trying out something different, for getting way out of her comfort zone, and doing not only something new that she has never done before, but something VERY SCARY. 

As each child jumps off the diving board it brings Carissa that much closer to her turn to jump. The first couple of kids jump off the board as if it were no big deal, and one calls back to the rest, "come on don't be such a scaredy cat" -- his dad had to remind him that just last summer he was the "scaredy cat", although he emphatically denies it. This third grader had a case of selective amnesia. How quickly big kids can forget that they were ever once afraid.

Half the kids have already gone, and there are only 3 kids left. The young girl who looks to be about a 3rd grader is standing in front of Carissa dreading that she is next. This young girl is voicing her fears which is making Carissa's own fears heighten. I can only imagine what must have been racing through my little daughters mind at this moment. How many times must she have contemplated giving in to her ever increasing fear, and turning back. Now it is her turn. As she takes a deep breath to ready herself, a little soft soothing voice of a friend says, "Carissa you can do it!" It was her friend Ethan whom Carissa met in Kindergarten this past year. She looks over her should and her worried eyes are met by his loving friendly beautiful blue eyes, and once again he give her encouragement, and says "Carissa you can do it!" 

Now it is Carissa's turn. Having watch the little girl before her conquer her fear showed Carissa that she too can do it. Carissa was not just a little hesitant, she was filled with intripedation, and worry. She was facing fear, and she was scared. I was standing by her side telling her that she can do this. She said, "But Momma I have NEVER done this before. This is my very first time EVER!" I encouraged her, and said Honey, there is a first time for everything, just like the first time you rode your bike or scooter, or when you first jumped into the water from the side of the pool. You can do this. You are ready. Go for it. She kept saying "Momma I'm scared. I'm scared" as she inched her way forward. I kept reassuring her that this is her time, she is ready, and she can do this as she moved forward.

I saw how reluctant her hands were as she grasped the silver metal railing, and climbed her way up the two steps onto the diving board. I saw how her arms & hands began to shake, as she took each step closer to the edge of the diving board, and how the board became wobbly, and her little legs became wobbly. I was also wobbly on the inside, but that soft reassuring voice of GOD spoke to my heart, and eased my worried mind, and told me that, "She is ready."

Carissa paused for a few seconds, looked back, and I encouraged her to move forward. I knew if I showed one once of worry, concern, or uncertainty she would see it on my face, and immediately turn back, and once she turned back there would be no getting her to try it again, that day, that week, for the remainder of the swimming lesson, and maybe not for the rest of the summer, so I kept reassuring her that, You can do it! 

Standing just a few feet away from the edge she cried out, "Momma, I am scared!" I cried out to her "Honey you are Brave, this is your day to jump, you are ready to do this. I love you. You can do this". Carissa took a few more steps, and soon she was standing at the edge of the diving board. Her wobbly legs were making the board wobble even more. I felt like my heart was going to explode out of my chest. What must it have been like for her?

The board was unsteady below her, and oh how scary that is when the platform below you is moving & shaking, you are suspended in air, and below you is the very deepest end of the pool, and you are just a little girl just learning how to swim.

Carissa glances over her left shoulder, looks at me with great desperation, and utter disappointment, and she cries out, "Momma I'm not Brave, I'm scared", and this Momma cries out back to her precious little daughter, "Honey you are Brave -- Brave is doing it scared!"

Carissa faces forward, takes a deep breath, and jumps. 

She surfaces the water exhilarated, and hears the roar of the crowd, tears pouring down my face I cry out, You did it Honey, You did it! You are soooo VERY Brave!  

Carissa's hard work is not over yet. She swims forward from one end of the pool to the other. I rush to the other end of the pool to meet her. I grab her towel and wrap the towel and my arms around her, pull her close cheek to cheek and tell her how sooo VERY proud I am of her, for being Brave

The little third grade boy that tried to discourage her before by calling her a scardy cat was standing right next to us, and proceeded to tell us that because "she took sooo long, didn't jump right away, and was scared that she was not Brave". 

Carissa respectfully and confidently informed this young guy that "Brave is doing it scared!" -- that's my girl!

GOD's Beloved Daughters are Beautiful & Brave and when we walk forward in faith I can imagine GOD saying -- that's My girl!

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