Eighty bucks, 45 minutes for 5 mornings and she told me by three-year-old would be swimming the width of the pool at the week’s end. To hear her talk, Miss Rita has been teaching since I was little. For the first two days of lessons, parents cannot stay to watch (unless they want to hide inside the house, so the kids can’t see them). By Wednesday morning, kids who have been floating around in life-jackets and swim rings at home, are swimming on their own, with their sweet little faces in the the water, and their eyes wide open.
Yesterday, I took videos of my middle baby jumping off the diving board — before she jumped the teacher assistant would tap her arms and say, “reach for the sunshine” and then tap her shivering legs, saying, “fast kicks.”
In between videos, I watched Miss Rita work with a little buddy who wasn’t getting it quite yet (by the way, she has assistants–those jumpers aren’t just on their own entirely). She would hold him on her lap and move his arms for him, saying, “reach, reach, reach.” Her experienced arms teaching his the feel of a correct stroke. And then, back his little face went into the water as she swam next to him, her lips near his ear, “Reach Joe! Reach! Fast kicks, buddy! Swim! Swim! Swim.”
Her voice is strong but kind–she isn’t hollering orders she’s proclaiming direction and encouragement.
And I wonder in the morning when I can’t get food on Beckett’s highchair tray fast enough and Audrey is asking when breakfast will be ready, and where her vitamins are, and if I know where her stuffed dog is, and I’m tripping over the hammock Charlotte constructed for her baby out of my kitchen towel if that is Father God grabbing my arms and saying, “Reach, reach, reach.” His strong muscles stretching mine—stretching my patience, so it gets deeper and stronger, stretching my kindness, my understanding.
And, when I miss it. When I am just not getting it (have you ever noticed that God gives us many opportunities throughout the day to rely on Him and display Him?), He pulls me again close to Him–if I’ll let Him–and with His Word and His Holy Spirit reminds me what the reach feels like. Revived and reminded I stick my face back into the water of days with little ones as He proclaims, “Swim, Jennifer, swim!”
If I hadn’t sent my middle baby to swim lessons, she wouldn’t have cried when I left the first time (and the second time). But, she would have missed the product of the practice. Today, after 45 minutes of jumping and swimming at home, I had to stop Charlotte and wrap her–chattering teeth and thumping heart–in a towel and make her take a break. She has complete joy in the water now–she isn’t fearful because she has heard the voice near her ear, “Swim, swim, swim!” and she listened.
Momma, God is always stretching us–He’s always trying to move our arms a bit further and get our kicks a little faster and steadier. I don’t know what He is proclaiming in your ear today, maybe it’s “Trust me, trust me,” or “Keep giving, keep giving,” but I pray today you will stick your sweet face in that water, listen to Him by your ear and do what He says. He is bringing you to a place of more joy and freedom as He stretches you.