By Rebecca Greebon
Two summers ago we went on our first international vacation as a family. Mexico was our destination, and with much excitement—and a little trepidation on my part—we packed up and flew to blue waters and white-sand beaches. We were all ready for new adventures. Our kids are practically part fish, growing up in a Texas river town, so we planned a fair amount of swimming and snorkeling to fill the time.
Our first snorkeling venture was not smooth. As much fun as we had jumping into the river, the freezing water and lack of visibility made our little girl nervous. The mangrove trees were overpowering, the water was dark, and the designated swimming path was narrow. She was not happy at all, ready to be done before we even started.
When she refused to be comforted or cajoled into embarking on this new adventure, her daddy swam over and placed her on his back. After much discussion, she tolerated it, but just barely. Patiently, he swam at a steady pace, despite the challenge of a little passenger. She looked so adorable, perched like a tiny turtle on his back with her blue goggles and serious expression.
About halfway down the canote (the name for the part fresh water, part salt water rivers that run from inland to the lagoons), my husband felt her begin to relax a little. Her death grip loosened, and she sat more comfortably. He felt bad that she was missing out on the action, since her view was limited to trees and the water line and the fish and other creatures were down below. So he raised his head and explained that they were going to implement a system. He would swim on as she rode, looking below for interesting things to show her. When he saw something, he would raise his hand on the side she was to look, and she could duck her face into the water to see.
I got to witness their teamwork in action as they came down the final stretch into the lagoon. The boys and I had already reached the end, and were waiting for them to catch up. I stood watching as the pair of them swam into sight. Suddenly, my husband raised his left arm, finger pointing up. Without changing expression or pausing for more than a quick breath, my daughter leaned over and stuck her face in the water on the side of his raised hand. After a few seconds, she sat back up, repeating the process several more times to either side.
It was one of the most precious things I’ve ever seen. I had tears in my eyes even as I laughed—as did more than a few others who witnessed this display of a nurturing father and trusting child. Thinking on it later, I couldn’t help but contemplate what a great literal representation of God’s love it was.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28–29 NIV).
It’s such a simple, yet profound concept, isn’t it?
When we’re tired, or scared, or can’t see clearly, all we have to do is reach for our Father, and he will carry us. He doesn’t mind a bit. We’re not too heavy for him. He knows the way, and he will get us there safely. It’s what he does. And when we begin to relax, when we finally figure out that he’s got us and it’s all under control, he’ll know we’re ready for his signal. He’ll start giving us a sign or two, here or there. He’ll point out when and where we need to look, because he doesn’t want us to miss the good stuff.
We need to trust him, and then allow him to do so. We must take a deep breath and understand there’s no shame in hitching a ride when we need it. It’s the best way to see the wonders we’d otherwise miss. It’s also the best way to make sure the path we’re on is the right one.
Rebecca Greebon is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and child of the One True King. She has a passion for sharing with others how amazing they are, how much they are loved, and how blessed every day is, even when we are lost or distracted or completely over ourselves and the world. Rebecca blogs at theriverchick.com.
Photograph © Caleb Jones, used with permission