Monday, February 7, 2011


Swimming lessons.

When I was about five years old, my mom and dad wanted me to have swimming lessons.

Let me rephrase that…my DAD wanted me to have swimming lessons. My mother was (and still is) terrified of the water. Because of a childhood incident, she never learned how to swim. My dad? He grew up by the water, swimming in the surf of the Pacific Ocean practically from the time he could walk!

Anyway, Dad overruled Mom’s fears on this one – and I found myself at the local community pool for lessons.

I did quite well.

I listened, I obeyed all the rules – I was a good girl, and a perfectionist.

Until, this one particular day.

You see, the pool was divided into lanes. And each lane had a teacher, and a specific set of skills to learn. When you mastered the skills for that lane, you "graduated" to the next lane.

So, having graduated from Lane B into Lane C, I was eager to complete my training.

"OK, boys and girls," the new teacher barked out. He was a "he," and he was mean. He had "drill sergeant" written all over him. He might as well have said, "OK, you bratty little pool rats…"

The first thing he wanted us to do was swim across the ENTIRE pool from one end of the lane to the other.

Well, my swimming skills were pretty good – but I had never learned how to "breathe" while swimming. And in Lane C, you couldn’t touch the bottom.

I knew this, and I was terrified.

When it came my turn, I started out – thinking that maybe I could just swim REALLY FAST and make it to the other side on one breath.


About 20 feet out, I stopped for air, and started to struggle.

I’m not going to tell you what the kindly "commandant" started yelling. Frankly, I don’t really remember – the brain has a way of blanking out trauma. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t kind.

He finally rescued me, and pulled me back to the side of the pool. I tried to explain to him that I had never learned how to breathe – he told me I was lying, and just not trying hard enough.

"You hold on to the side of the pool until you decide to try," he barked.

I began sobbing.

And then I saw something I will NEVER forget. A sweet, kindly woman (my mom) turned into a swooping, avenging eagle. She practically flew herself over to the side of the pool, and yelled out to my instructor to come over to talk to her.

She gave him the biggest "dressing down" I have ever witnessed in my life. She was self-contained, but the fire in her eyes was a sight to behold!

Every time Mr. Congeniality started to protest, my mom shut him down – "I’m not finished yet, sir."

There was some discussion (argument) between the instructors of Lane B and Lane C. Miss B claiming that she wasn’t supposed to teach "breathing," and Mr. C saying that he wasn’t either.

This drivel was halted by my mother. She informed Miss B that she would indeed teach me how to "breathe" – and she would take extra time after class to do so. And you, Mr. C, will "never again" talk to my daughter like that or I will report you.

"Do we all understand each other here?"

Like errant schoolchildren, both instructors acquiesced to the power and authority that was my mom – "She Who Must Be Obeyed" – and I was treated VERY kindly after that.

I’ll never quite forget how it felt when my mom came to my rescue – when she defended me, when she fought for me.

It’s the same with the Lord.

Sometimes we just don’t have the skills to advance. Sometimes we don’t have the knowledge. Sometimes we find ourselves "out in the deep end" where we can’t touch, and we panic.

And Mr. Lane C himself, our hateful and cruel enemy, is right there to harangue us. To belittle us, to shame us, to shout us down – to take us out of the action, and to tell us to "hang on to the side of the pool" where you belong.


Do you see what I see? A swooping, avenging EAGLE! The Lord Himself!

He puts that old devil in his place. He fights for us, defends us – He tells that devil that he is NOT ALLOWED to talk to His children that way.

"Do we understand each other here?"

And the enemy must acquiesce to the power and authority of our Savior.

Then the Lord turns to us, and teaches us what we need to know with patience and longsuffering – with love.

"Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light." (Matthew 11:29)

Hmmm…with Him by my side, I might just try swimming in the "deep end!"

BLOG = “Blessedly Leaning On God!”


  1. I love your mom. Thanks for posting this, my spirit is getting stirred up big time. It's like this message is alive...God is speaking this directly to me. To God be the glory!

  2. Oh Sharon, a side of your mother that I never knew really existed! And like the Lord, who is loving and gentle...there is the "other side", the Protector and Defender we need sometimes. Thank you for encouraging me to go out to the deep end, trusting that the LORD, our God is there,waiting in the, by the side of the pool.
    Love it!

  3. Oh Sharon, At the start of this I was with your mum, I cannot swim and don't like water over my head, as my baptism approaches at some point soon, I am clinging to the side a bit. Ah I misread one bit thought you said she threw herself into the water, but what she did do, yes I can relate to that too. I am praying that Our Lord will gently give me my eagle wings in lots of areas at the moment. God Bless and thank you for this _ Nita

  4. Oh how blessed you are - to have a mother that would swoop down like an eagle to protect you! sandie

  5. Hi Sharon -

    This is a slam dunk piece. I was cheering big time in my heart place. Your mother had me high - heart high - Oh yeah!

    Once again, Sharon, interesting, that I posted Part 2 of my piece today and mentioned (near the end) about the Lord defending...and then I came here and read this. This added more fuel to my fire because in Part 3 of my piece, it gets into some justice moves from our Lord. I was somewhat hesitant about expressing some things but what you have placed here confirms that I should proceed...and I shall.

    Thank you, Sharon, and PLEASE thank your mother!

  6. Blessings Sharon and PRAISE GOD for your mother and her authority in Christ plus her protective instinct! Thank You Lord for being an eagle and raising us up on eagle's wings, defending us and fighting for us against the wiles of the enemy but mostly defeating Him by Your Victory power! I love the correlation from swimming lessons to spiritual ones and I believe that you're ready for the deep end! SWIM STRONG and BREATHE in HIS SPIRIT! (I never got rhythmic breathing right, all in the water or all above but in and out, way)! Thanks for this delightful dip!

    Peace, love and JOY,

  7. Praise God for you protective mother.

    I identified with this story in many ways - I'm remembering my own swimming lessons in the 7th grade...I still don't know how to swim at 58 years old :) None my age were needing to learn to swim - i guess - they put me with the toddlers and made me blow bubbles. For a 12 year old, that was humiliating, so I never went past the first day!

    I'm as fearful of water as your mother appeared to be. But I didn't have the same character of a mother as you apparently did. In hindsight, mother facilitated my fear of water.

    I longed for my mother to care - to stand up for me - to protect me - to love me...but she didn't know how. Because of this, I can contribute my strong sense of the Heavenly father's love for me. I looked to Him for what was lacking in my personal home life. I am who I am today because of His strong authority and protective ways over my life. But... i still do not know how to swim in the physical. But Spiritually, God gets me to the other side of the vast body of waters that present themselves in and around my neighborhood of daily living. His humble gentle heart and ways cause the fears in me to vanish. With Him by my side - the waters shrink under His authority. But I often have an instant "panic" attack before He brings me back into the safety of his all encompassing LOVE and CARE.

    Did you learn to swim? If the Lord needs me to swim, He'll teach me - otherwise, I have no desire :) I'm not a duck - I don't need to get wet to know who I am in Christ. :)

    I loved your sharing, as usual. You always show us JESUS..

  8. Debby - Oh good!! I love it when the Spirit starts to move! Get ready to jump in and swim!

    Janet - Yeah, Mom can be tough when she needs to be! God is with us in the deep end, isn't He? The Strong Protector and Defender. And I LOVE how He tells the devil - "You cannot talk to My children that way!" Let's get our faith "floaties" on and jump in!

    Nita - I think that the Holy Spirit is going to be with you in a POWERFUL way when you get baptized. I don't think you're going to be afraid at all. And as far as having eagle's wings - yes, I'm praying for that, too.

    Sandie - You'd laugh too - because my mom is THE most gentle and soft-spoken person I know. Except when someone bothers her "babies!" I am very lucky to have her.

    Sandra - I will convey to my mom that her love and protection for me was a lesson to many of us. Love that God gave you confirmation for your next post. They're powerfully written, Sandra - and many need to hear their message. Welcome to the deep end!!

    Peggy - Thanks! I loved your comment. And I am especially taking this advice to heart - SWIM STRONG! Oh yes, Lord - give me the ability and courage to be out here where I can't touch - where I can't make it to the other side unless You breathe Your power into me!

    Patrina - I loved your comments - how you expanded on the "water/swimming" idea. I'm so glad that you found peace and strength and protection in the care of the Heavenly Father. He does indeed get us to the "other side," doesn't He? Sometimes He helps us swim across, and sometimes He just parts the water!
    And thanks for your very kind comment - that is my one desire - to always show Jesus.
    (Sidenote: YES - I did learn to swim, and spent many, many hours in the surf of the Pacific Ocean. Dad cheered me on - so did Mom, but with a rather frozen smile on her face!!)


  9. Sharon,
    I love that take..."sometimes He just parts the waters" Yeah...that's a great reminder! Thanks :)

    Patrina <")>><

  10. YES!!! I never got to the computer until late last night and almost missed this one! I LOVE it! Maybe it's because I'm such a water wienie, or maybe it's because I love to be avenged, but I just loved it all the way around.

    There is nothing quite like knowing that the One who will swoop in like an eagle is the One who taught the eagle to swoop in the first place!

  11. Debbie - Oh I loved how you said that!! The One who swoops in like an eagle is the One who taught the eagle to swoop! So true, so clever - so THRILLING!!


  12. The same eagle that 'pushes' them out of the nest - also swoops to their rescue!

  13. Patrina - Oh, I'm loving how you continued the analogy!! Good stuff!



"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

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