Swimming in the Kingdom

I’ve been afraid of the water for almost sixty years; so when my granddaughter Lilly asked me yesterday why I didn’t like to swim, I decided it was time to be honest with her. I had skirted the issue before when she had noticed my reluctance to get into the water, but I was ready to tell her the truth. I told her that I almost drowned when I was her age, and that made me afraid of water. She said, “Didn’t you know how to swim Gigi?”

I told her I didn’t know how to swim at the time but I did learn later. She wanted details, so I told her that my father threw me into the deep end of a pool a few years after I almost drowned. He was determined to get me to swim, and he was tired of waiting. Sink or swim is an effective method because fear is a powerful motivator. I was already afraid of the water, so it made sense to use that fear to help me learn to swim. Lilly was sad that I didn’t like to swim because she’s a little fish who loves the water, but now she understood why Gigi stayed near the edge and always had a noodle near by. She offered to help me swim better. Her sweet offer makes me want to swim better because it comes from her heart.

God knows I am a visual learner, so He used the image of a country club pool to help me understand my struggle with the water and my search for community. I don’t belong to a country club; but there is one near my sister’s home, and she is a member. Club members may bring visitors as long as they don’t overstay their welcome, and I’ve gone with her a few times. I don’t recall a time when I ever felt unwelcome, but I was definitely unwelcome at the pool in my dream.

In the first dream, I was swimming happily with a dear friend who was a member of the club. It was a beautiful image of how I would so love to feel in the water, but the sweet moment was cut short by an angry voice screaming from the side of the pool. I saw a man pacing back and forth, telling me that I did not pay dues and should not be in the pool. I was rattled by his rage and started treading water so I wouldn’t sink.

His wife has a different concern. She is yelling instructions because I was not treading water the proper way. I tried to follow her instructions, but fear got the best of me when I noticed all the angry faces and heard loud voices screaming for me to get out of the pool! I stopped treading water and started sinking. Now, this was a familiar feeling.

I found strange comfort in sinking, but loving hands lifted me to the surface. A calm presence guided me to the safety of the side. I was clinging to concrete, coughing water, and wailing like a two-year-old. When I stop sobbing, I noticed a man kneeling in front of me. He looked down with loving eyes, and I realized I knew Him. He was the same man who had been on the pier fifty-eight years ago when daddy pulled me out of the lake. He looked over my head and said, “This all belongs to My Father, and I’ve already paid your dues. So enjoy it.” The dream ended abruptly, and I woke wondering what it all meant.

This morning, the dream picked up where it left off last week. The kneeling man was bidding me to look behind me. I thought He meant the country club belonged to His Father, so I expected to see the same scene I had seen before going under the water. I knew the man was Christ and imagined He meant He would help me deal with the angry mob, but He had something much different in mind. His sweet, loving presence made me forget about the danger of letting go and gave me the courage to turn around. I saw an image I could not have imagined on my own.

Crystal clear water stretched as far as I could see in every direction. The beautiful body of water was filled with people of all sizes, shapes, and colors. They were swimming, floating, talking, walking, or simply sitting. There were no paddle boards, boats, tubes, noodles, or floatation devices. There were no sides to this pool, and the temperature was perfect.

Everyone, including me, was suspended in water that felt like a warm, loving embrace. I moved and felt the sensation of freedom. I dove under the water and saw legs all around me. There was no kicking, thrashing, or splashing because they was no need to struggle or impress in this pool. Fear wasn’t present in this body or in mine because I was connected to Love that flowed through the water and each of us.

When I came to the surface, I looked around and noticed Christ laughing and clapping His hands with delight. He had been waiting fifty-eight years to watch me swim. He was loving every moment, and so was I. Everyone smiled at me, and I couldn’t help but smile back. Such a different scene than the one at the other pool. This was kingdom community at its best.

When I awoke from the dream, I was as rested as I’ve ever been. I smiled when I realized it was morning, and my very first thought was Psalm 51:12.

“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit. “(NASB)

There is joy in His salvation, and love is His kingdom. His Holy Spirit will sustain me with a willing spirit if I will simply let go of my fears and swim with the heart of one who trusts His love to keep me afloat.

 

 

Loving & Swimming Lessons:)

We opened the pool on Monday when we celebrated Memorial Day. I was, and have been, very nervous about having the girls around the water. My fear of water is deep within my heart, and I was afraid of passing along that fear to the girls. I steered clear of the pool when they were in the water, but today was a beautiful turning point for my heart as God used the pool to give me loving and swimming lessons at the same time.

This morning was a turning point for my heart as I decided to accept and embrace the love God placed in my path, and I did so with a true non anxious loving presence. My heart was light and as full as it has ever been. I relaxed, let go, and “simply and bravely” loved. That was the title of the baccalaureate message Pastor John delivered to the graduates last Sunday; and while I was getting the message into pamphlet form this morning, I realized the title aptly described the lessons God had for me this week.

Lillyann swam on her own for the first time Monday, but she truly got it this afternoon. She just wouldn’t quit swimming back and forth across the pool. She had her water wings on, but she let mama let go and took off on her own.  Mama’s lessons finally clicked for her, and God’s lessons in loving and swimming finally clicked for me too. We both simply, and bravely, let go:)

After lunch, I decided to swim in the pool while the girls were napping. I prayed that I would not relay my fear of the water to the girls and asked God to please help me. An amazing thing happened when I got into the water. I started swimming, floating, and playing with abandon. There was no floundering, flailing, or thrashing about. I swam and played until the girls got up, and then I played for another hour and a half with them. They saw my excitement, and it was contagious! They especially loved it when I swam under the water and tickled their toes:)

God took away the fear I so worried would be passed along to my sweet little grandbabies and replaced it with delight. I am still in awe and don’t understand exactly what happened today, but God used Lillyann’s letting go and delighting in her new found freedom to get across His lessons for me. My heart has had on its water wings (the Holy Spirit), and my body had all the right motions for swimming. I knew what to do, but knowing and doing are two different things. Today, I loved and swam with abandon as I let go of my fears. I was as close to God as I ever have been in the process.

I shared Lillyann’s delight in a beautiful way because I knew exactly how she was feeling. That’s the way it is with love, as well. We laughed and loved each other as we played in the water, and we shared a very special moment. She kept telling me that I was her best friend while we were swimming together, and that was icing on an already amazing cake today. Love is like swimming; God waited for me to let go of the fears that were keeping me from loving as He desires. Just as mommy and I delighted when little Lillyann took off across the pool, I could imagine God doing the same when He saw that His swimming and loving lessons had finally paid off:)