Anger and hatred are the real enemies that we must confront and defeat, not the 'enemies' who appear from time to time in our lives.
- The Dalai Lama
This morning, while waiting for my son at swim lessons, my eyes are drawn to a little girl in the beginner lane. Her classmates are in a single-file line at the pool's edge. They're practicing jumping in.
The little girl is at the front of the line and she is frightened. She's in position. Knees bent. Arms reaching forward. But her toes curl tight over the tiled rim of the pool, and her little face wears worry.
Her instructor is in the water, with her arms also stretched forward. She's offering words of encouragement and the safety net of her catch. But the tiny girl stands frozen, unable to jump. She's bound to the edge of the pool by invisible cords of fear.
And I wonder, as I watch this child, how often I take the same position. Standing still in the thick mire of fear.
Sometimes I can hear the Lord whisper... It's okay, Shawnelle, just trust. I'm here. Sometimes a promise comes through His Word, strong and shining as the mid-day sun. But I tremble. Cower. Hesitate to take a jump of faith.
Even though I know His arms are there.
Tension builds as time ticks. The line of expectant jumpers grows squirmy. The little girl squeezes her eyes shut and then opens them fast. She breathes deep.
The instructor catches her and there are claps and cheers. My own heart celebrates the leap, too. If she hadn't jumped, this little one wouldn't have experienced growth or blessing...
Or the joy of faith fulfilled.
Lord, where do you want me to trust you today? When I hear your encouragement, help me to jump right in! Amen.
Shawnelle Eliasen and her husband Lonny have been married for twenty-five years. They have five sons and raise their bevy of boys in an old Victorian near the Illinois banks of the Mississippi River. Their sons, Logan, Grant, Samuel, Gabriel, and Isaiah, range in age from twenty-one to six with Shawnelle home teaching the youngest three.
Shawnelle has been writing for six years, contributing regularly to Guideposts magazine, Daily Guideposts devotional and other inspirational publications. She would say that life with her men moves faithfully, on fast forward. But it’s her heart’s desire, her passionate prayer, to see God’s goodness and glory in the fullness of her days. She longs to see Him in the unexpected moments, unexpected places, changing the ordinary to extraordinary and bringing quiet, sustaining grace.