Did you know you are raising a miracle?
Parenting a wonder?
If you have a child, you are.
I’m discovering this more and more every day.
Let me explain…
Yesterday before the sun came up, we hit the road to travel over two hours away to a state park where my girl would swim two miles in an open water swim meet. Two miles. Non-Stop. In a lake. With hundreds of other water warriors.
Did you see that it was TWO MILES in a LAKE? Just didn’t want you to miss that part, because wow.
My girl had been working tirelessly for over two years to make the cut for this meet. It’s been her greatest goal and hardest challenge. It’s been an obsession with every meet to get the time she needed to be invited into this ridiculously difficult feat. You should see her swim notebook, packed with pages of times and goals and graphs. She’s a force to be reckoned with, that one.
After all her attempts to make it into the meet, she ended up just one second away from the cut. Her coach had mercy on her desperate attempts and let her go anyway.
I was against it from the beginning. I mean, there’s the long drive to the meet, the getting lost finding it, the preparation and the caring for my other child while I’m gone, and all the other details that are just a nuisance to my comfort zone. Then there are the brain-eating amebas that threaten to invade her brain and take her life, like another local girl who met a tragic death from such a thing.
And of course, there’s the hidden fear that she will fail, she will drown, she will…
In some way. Any possible way, really.
I can’t have that, now can I?
But my girl was relentless in her desire- unstoppable with her passion for grabbing hold of this new exciting challenge, one which many great swimmers have steered clear from and for good reason. It’s a grueling adventure of epic swimming proportions. But her need to do it was typical of her can-do spirit and her tenacity that doesn’t quit. And of course, her profound determination dissolved my own limits of worries and what-nots, because this is how parenting goes, right?
Our kids take us beyond ourselves and we are forced to let go- of us. We must break free from our barriers to allow them to cross their own.
It’s hard but necessary. And whether it’s from suffering or adversity or a gruelingly long road of dreams and achievements our kids travel down- we learn this slow ripping off of our own vulnerabilities is what allows our kids to flourish and fly. Because they are their own miraculous wonder, and who are we to keep them captive in our safe secure sanctuary?
So we went and she had only swum in open water one time before- just a week prior to this meet. The funny thing about this is that my girl had no idea the swim was so long. When I first found out, I almost cried. Maybe I would have if I wasn’t surrounded by other parents and her coach. I was stunned and when I told my girl about the distance, she was too. I watched her face turn into shock, and within seconds, a smile as she said, “Oh. Really? Wow. Okay, I got this!”
I didn’t believe her.
This is hard to confess, because why wouldn’t a mother believe in her kid’s incredible abilities and determination? This is the kid that won’t miss a practice- for anything. Her motivation is planted so firmly in her spirit, it’s palpable and unbreakable.
I don’t dare break it- but I am a constant worrier of this one. She keeps pushing me to trust in her and ultimately trust in her Creator- not in the confines of my own distorted perception of miscalculated failures and wonky what-ifs.
She’s not a what-if girl. It’s a wonder she came from me. Truly.
So after the long drive and setting up on the shore, signing in, and marking her body with swimmer number 229, we waited for her age group to be called. They gathered with the masses from surrounding states and listened to the rules of the event, learned the sign for ‘help’ if they were in peril so the lifeguards on the kayaks could save them, and I noticed the paramedics standing on the shore.
I was buzzing with both excitement and wonder, yet trembling with fear and falsehoods.
I keep believing the lie. The lie that my girl doesn’t have what it takes to endure, persevere, withstand or rise among the victorious. I suffer greatly at the hands of doubt. I wrap myself in the flesh of human nature and protective parenting that doesn’t bode well with a miracle.
I hear The Mighty whisper gently, soothing those aches and cringes in my soul…
“She is mine. She is my miracle. Let go…”
But I choose not to fully believe this proclamation and this promise when I am grappling with the ordinary, grasping onto worst-case scenarios and real-life threats. I sometimes grip harder with an intense need to protect my child, possessive and punchy- as if I know best.
Ah, ye of little faith.
I stood on the shore with the binoculars to my eyes, searching for my girl over the long stretches of splashing surface water, filled with tiny bobbing heads. All of a sudden, one swimmer began to stray from the flock and take an immediate hard turn toward shore.
Oh, God. It’s her.
I told her coach standing next to me, gave her the binoculars, and started to unravel…
“Why isn’t that kayak going over to her!! OH my gosh, what is WRONG WITH HER? Why aren’t the lifeguards swimming to her? SOMEBODY HELP MY BABY! I knew this was too much. TOO MUCH!”
Her coach, who knows my neurosis all too well, explained that she doesn’t look to be in distress, because she is still swimming and she knows she needs to raise her hand out of the water if she needs help.
We began heading toward the area on shore that she was swimming toward, my feet fumbling on the sand as I tried to move them as fast as I could, keeping my eyes on my girl with a fierce and frightened gasp.
The dialogue in my head spilled out.
“It was too much. I knew it was too much. Oh God, why did we do this? What’s WRONG with her? Oh Lord, please let her be okay!”
As this swimmer got closer to shore, we both realized it wasn’t Cassidy after all.
Shock and relief.
The coach took the binoculars and searched for her back out in the endless stream of splashing arms and bobbing heads and found her. She was actually keeping pace and looking strong.
Break down, averted.
You see, I’m at the ready for the worst, the what-ifs, and the worry that can bury the best of intentions, the greatest of dreams, the hardest of goals. I’m the parent who loses her phone and immediately thinks I have missed “The Dreaded Call” during those five minutes looking for it. Anxiety is an insidious beast. It resides fully alive in me.
It spills out everywhere.
And this fierce little budding water warrior is catapulting it off the charts.
But this issue isn’t about all these details really. It’s about the belief in a God who is in charge, and my struggle to accept that it’s true.
It’s an ongoing battle I always lose. And I wonder when I will finally step out of the ring and allow God’s mighty Hand to work freely in her life without me standing in the way, holding down the bar, shutting the gate, or stifling her spirit simply because I struggle to believe. It’s exhausting, really. I’m no boxer.
It’s a banter I reckon I will shuffle through with every new and glorious cliff she dangles over with her eyes peering wide and beautiful over the edge, beaming hope and life for each new flight she takes.
I stare at the fall, the depth, the danger-
She gazes at the sky, the wonder, and the dream of new heights.
Years from now, I envision standing at the airport sending her off to a dangerous foreign land to serve the sick and the suffering. This mission she has already firmly planted in her heart to do.
And I know that my flesh will fight, but my God will win.
He always does.
She’s His miracle, after all.
And this truth?
It’s the most important thing we can surrender to, with each one of our miracles.
Care for them, teach them, lead them. Encourage them, inspire them, nourish them. Catch them, console them, carry them. Empower them, show them, believe in them…
And realize they are the handiwork of God. His glorious creation. His divine art and magnificent gift to the world.
We’d best not get in the way of His plan and purpose for their lives.
No matter how much we love them.
Because the truth is-
He loves them more.
So here’s to letting go.
Over and over and over again…
She did it. With ease.
Let us never forget we are all raising a miracle and parenting a wonder right before our very eyes…
An amazing accomplishment for a determined little girl ! I find it difficult to REST in these truths as well! God bless you precious Christian mommy.
Thank you so much for coming by to celebrate this with me, Tammy! <3
That is my girl strong and determined!
We are sooooo BLESSED. <3
Kenya G. Johnson says
This so wonderful. I’m so glad yesterday was a success. I saw all your “along the way Facebook posts”. It’s so hard to be outwardly happy and supportive when the inner mom is scared to death. Your heart hurts for wasn’t hasn’t happened and what might not even happen. I don’t know why for me I can’t just freely enjoy every moment. Watching games for me is torture unless my son is winning by leaps and bounds – like ridiculous leaps and bounds. I totally check out of the decision making when it comes to signing up for this or that. I say, “That’s between you and daddy.” I know I’ll be the main driver, the worrier of whether he’s getting enough sleep, getting enough to eat, having enough time for homework, making it through the school day without being tired…. signups are on daddy and then I get onboard.
That’s a great way to handle things- pass it on to Daddy! 🙂 I get it though, Kenya. It’s a nonstop challenge to let go and allow our kids to live without our constant worry!
Mary McLaurine says
I love this so much! I think every parent goes through this. Such a conundrum. We teach them to walk, to talk, and prepare them as best we can to launch off into the great big world but when the time comes for them to take flight, even a practice flight, we want to pull them back, instinctively protect them from any perceived peril. And boy, do we as parents find plenty of peril! lol
It sounds as though you both accomplished a lot that day. Cheers to Cass for her great accomplishment due to all the hard work she has put in preparing. Wow!
And cheers to you for realizing that we can’t hold them back, we must let them practice what we’ve preached since they were wee babes. This, my friend, was written straight from your great big, beautiful heart. Lovely.
I love you, sistercake. SO much. Thank you for your beautiful words and for ALWAYS being RIGHT there with me- through the hard steps and the celebratory leaps!
Janine Huldie says
Aw, absolutely amazing and congrats to your strong, brave girl, Chris!!! <3
Thank you SO MUCH Janine!! XOXO
Love love love!!! So proud of her and SO not surprised of her success. She’s awesome. She is a miracle and she is His! What a blessing. So hard to have a child and forever have our heart walking around outside our body. That panicky feeling of worry…. The worst. May God help us to trust Him! ❤️
A to the MEN, sister. I’m so grateful for your support and love. <3
Lisa thomson says
She really is a warrior! You must be so proud! When I was reading this I was anxious for you and can recall countless times my kids put me on the edge. It’s hard to know when to let go and believe…they’ve got this and when to freak out LOL. Love the photos. Your daughter is an example of your wonderful and loving parenting skills, Chris.
Lisa, I SO appreciate you. Yes- my gosh this isn’t the first time and I’m SURE it won’t be the last that I will be “on the edge”. 🙂 Thanks so much for your mama support, my friend!
Wow! Congrats from a longtime swim mom to you and God’s miracle, Christine!
I love that you have been *there* my friend! Thanks so much for celebrating this with me! <3
oh wow!! So young and so confident!! You’re quite right to feel so proud, Christine!!
Thank you so much, Roshni! She really is amazing. It’s ALL her. 🙂 I’m so proud.
Julie J Severson says
Oh Christine! I’ve got the goosies now. Not only from the thought of being in the cold water that long, but also at the thought of the amount of determination and grit embedded in your girl!. I just know she’s on her way to a beautiful, purpose-filled life! You and your husband are doing an amazing job raising your children.
Julie, thank you SO MUCH for your vote of confidence in my girl! She’s really something, I tell ya. 🙂
Approximately 97% of the things I worry about never come to light. Doesn’t mean I stop worrying though. But sometimes I do think of that stat and try to work my way out of the worry logically. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but it’s always worth trying.
I get it girl. OH do I get it! 🙂
Susan Knapper says
And the Spirit of God was hovering over the water. Gen 1:2. Great article ❤️ As a parent of a college swimmer this is still true. Great reminder and Gods blessings on your family
I so appreciate you celebrating this with me- you KNOW the life of a swimmer and I will be YOU in four more years. 🙂 I love your scripture reference, Susan. Just perfect. <3
Walking for two miles wears me out. I couldn’t imagine swimming for two miles. That’s amazing.
Aw thanks SO MUCH!! It’s so fun to think you have met her, ya know? It makes it more personal. You are such a dear to come over and read this and celebrate her with me! (And oh yeah… I cannot even IMAGINE swimming that distance.)
Jennie Goutet says
Just. Unbelievable. (Except that I do believe it and of course she could and of course she did). But still – unbelievable. If that makes any sense. 🙂
YES- it totally makes sense, Jennie. 🙂 You are SUCH a love to come over here and celebrate this with me! Love you, friend.
Lynn Simpson says
Our kids take us beyond ourselves and we are forced to let go- of us. We must break free from our barriers to allow them to cross their own.–This is so true! We project ourselves on our kids, but thankfully they have a spirit that says–wow, I got this! Congratulations to your daughter. Just you taking her, being with her, shows too, your believe in her, and are a wonderful mom!
Thanks so much, Lynn! Our kids are their won- no matter how much we connect our *stuff* to them. I appreciate you celebrating this with my, my friend!
Wow! You’re both an inspiration! I had a really hard time letting my daughter get on the bus to go to kindergarten. I can’t imagine standing by as she swam two miles. In a lake. Thank God for the strength to do things we never could even dream of!
A to the MEN on that Joey! I’m so grateful you came by to read this and celebrate it with me! 🙂
This is SO great!!! I love that you remind us that our children are God’s miracles!! I need that reminder while living in the trenches with my children.
YES! I need this reminder often too. Thanks so much for reading this Cynthia!
Man, she’s awesome. Always determined and always strong. I remember when she sang with her beautiful voice in front of her peers.
I really do get this because when I see my kids do it, it’s so amazing. Things I am away afraid to do. And their ability to get back up again after falling, both literally and figuratively, is astonishing.
I love that you remember that, Tamara! Oh friend, I just love that. <3 It's an ongoing and glorious journey parenting our kids, isn't it? 🙂
Alison Hector says
Wow Chris! I love how you detailed your inner process and how you wrestled with those emotions that seemed to overwhelm you. But God! Your daughter’s faith and determination are a lesson to us all to cling heartily to our dreams and see them to fruition. Bravo!
Thank you so so much, Alison! YES to all you said! 🙂
Marie Kléber says
She is such a gem Chris!
It must be so hard to let go when it comes to our kids. Though you are right we should trust God and trust his plan.
It’s up to us to let our kids do their experience knowing all is under control.
Thumbs up for your girl!
Thank you so much, Marie! IT IS so hard- but so necessary. We must trust in his plan and purpose for their lives- no matter how we feel about it!
Wow! What an accomplishment! That determination and drive will serve her well in life. Good job, Mama, letting her go and helping her with her goal. 🙂
Thanks so much, Katy! It was an amazing accomplishment for SURE. For us both. lol 🙂
Kristi Campbell says
Such an incredible accomplishment! I know your mama worry well, my friend. Too well. But when we let go? They’re flying! So much love to you and your awesome girl!
Thanks so much Kristi! I know you get it. <3
Stephanie ReadsWell says
The best ever approach to parenting I have ever read. Inspiring someone is more important 🙂 Nice post.
Thank you SO much, Stephanie! 🙂
Oh my gosh!!!!! Amazing! I have wanted to stop by this early summer to read your(always) robust and inspiring BEAUTIFUL writing and me found this story of your determined fireball swimming beyond your worries and anxieties to the finish line she strived for whether you believed or or not! What an amazing athlete and spirit!! God is preparing her..and you..for perseverance ahead for her God blazing dreams! You my dear..worry and all..are her mama..and I sense more alike then you want to admit! Beautiful!!!!
OH Kathy, I absolutely LOVE your incredible comment. THANK YOU!!
*God is preparing her..and you..for perseverance ahead for her God blazing dreams!* <-- YES. Such a beautiful truth I believe too. <3
My Inner Chick says
**Care for them, teach them, lead them. Encourage them, inspire them, nourish them. Catch them, console them, carry them. Empower them, reach them, show them…**
And you are a miracle in my life, Chris! xx
I literally catch my breath, every time you comment. I love you Kim. YOU are the miracle, love. YOU are. <3
Stacy Voss says
Man, girl, I just LOVE your writing. You take an incredible Cassidy moment and use it to reflect a truth that shines so much deeper. Wow. Just wow. Thank you for the gift of your words!
OH Stacy, what a blessing to know you read this and appreciate the message! Thank YOU for your beautiful comment, my friend. <3