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That Time I Almost Drowned

** I am HONORED to feature a guest blog from my spiritual sister, Erin Arruda! There just aren't words for how deeply Erin, her husband Mickey, and their beautiful girls have transformed my family and our church family (where we co-labor for the Gospel). Erin is a POWERFUL liberator who helps women and men to believe and to passionately pursue everything grace has purchased. Deep, disarmingly engaging, and a true "equipper," Erin is author of the book, Unadulterated, and a founding leader of the Worthy Tampa Women's Conference. (I highly encourage you to check out their site!) I just know you're going to LOVE her as much as we do! - Chuck

I was so young, too young to die, I thought. My dad was just out of reach from where I was underwater. We were in a hotel pool on our way to see my grandparents in Ohio like we did every summer. The water was so refreshing and my legs felt free from the confines of the car we’d been stuck in for 10 hours. I was near the shallow end, but it was too deep for me to touch. Didn’t my dad know that? Didn’t he remember how little I was? 

I locked eyes with him and he put his arms out. Here he comes to save me, I thought. But he didn’t. He went low under the water with me. His gaze fixed on me, while his hands waved in the water. He did the most confounding thing in that moment. Instead of coming nearer, he began to back up. My body locked into survival mode; I took a fresh breath and put my head down so I could see him. I pushed my body, kicking and flailing my arms. The closer I got, the more he would back up. Until finally, I caught him. He caught me, perhaps. He hurled me in the air in celebration. 

And somewhere in between the rise and fall of his embrace, I realized I wasn’t drowning. I was learning to swim. 

There seems to be very little difference in the midst of it, right? It’s hard to tell when you’re underwater, reminding your arms and legs how to move in the pool, that you’re not–in fact–dying. Your body rejects the notion, and sends panic to your heart. It beats faster; and in response, you move quicker. It feels like the absolute worst way to learn anything. But it works, not just in the pool, but in the ways of following Jesus. Check out His promises. 

Isaiah 43:2

“When you pass through the deep, stormy sea, you can count on me to be there with you. When you pass through raging rivers, you will not drown. When you walk through persecution like fiery flames, you will not be burned; the flames will not harm you.”

Why would we need a reminder that we will not drown, unless it seems as though we might? 

I just came to the other side of a season where I thought, for sure, metaphorically speaking, I was drowning. Turns out I was learning to swim. It seemed the closer I got to Him, the further and further He would move back. It was like there was a place He wanted me to get to. Or maybe He just knew what I was capable of and how far I could go. Finally, I reached Him. I passed the swim test. And with one swoop into the air, I felt in my spirit His celebration and His joy.

Do you feel like you’re drowning in something? You’ve prayed; you’ve sought Him, you’ve asked to be released but you’ve been called to keep swimming? If you’re in that season, let me just remind you, there are places the Lord wants you to go. There are things He wants you to learn for your safety, for your health, for your enjoyment, and for His kingdom. When you find yourself in the deep end learning how to swim, or feeling like you might drown, take a deep breath; search underwater until you see that His eyes are fixed on you. And keep swimming toward His marvelous face. 

I’m telling you, friend, He is trustworthy. 

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“There are things He wants you to learn for your safety, for your health, for your enjoyment, and for His kingdom.“ Love this. Thank you!



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