The last 365: Saving Eliza

If you only read one entry of mine – read this one. If you only share one entry – share this one. If you never come back to Heaven Not Harvard, but we find a way to make a miracle, then God used me today and that is enough. If you are a blogger at all, please read to the end for a special challenge.

With all the kids heading back to school, it has really hit home that this is it. This is my last year of being home with my daughter all day, everyday. Next year she will be heading off to school. Our home and church won’t be her whole world anymore. She will have teachers, friends, and experiences of which I am not a part. Daddy and I will still be her most important people for a while, but those days are numbered as well. We are already being replaced by a tiny pig in “temporary” residence.

1544503_10202334006971616_974680681935303742_nSomewhere on Facebook (I can’t remember where) I saw a post that said, essentially, “someday my child will leave home and take her memory of me.”

I felt like that spoke to my heart in such a profound way. I was immediately humbled, taking a moment to really consider what memories will she take? Am I really giving her my best attention and focus despite the medical challenges and physical limitations? Who will I be in her mind? In her childish, imperfect memory, will I have gotten more things right than wrong? Will I have made sure to treasure every story, backrub, lengthy ridiculous excuse about why she cannot possibly go to bed right now? Am I parenting with intentionality?

I resolved to really spend this year making all the memories I can, and this post just ignited the passion to make every second count. My last 365 with my baby girl at home, I was teary-eyed thinking about it.

And then I was challenged by a friend to do the #sing2lines challenge for #savingeliza. This little girl is a friend of a friend’s friend, making her more than just a face on the screen. I had donated when I first heard of this cause and shared the links on my Facebook page. I follow their gofundme page www.savingeliza.com and remember to pray for her, but I get busy. Her story gets lost in my daily busyness. When it gets brought back across my mind, I am struck all over again by the horror of her disease.

Because, she is more than just a faceless cause, in her place, I see my daughter who is just a few months younger than Eliza. I feel the crushing weight of knowing that her parents are counting down the number of days Eliza will able to sing, dance, talk, breathe; they will  be counting the days until they watch her have seizure after seizure, knowing eventually she will die and it will be both heartbreaking and an end to her pain.

Laying in bed, snuggled up to my Lil Bit this morning, I read her father’s words about Eliza’s disease and sobbed.sing2lines

Last July, our 4-year-old daughter Eliza was diagnosed with a rare terminal genetic disease called Sanfilippo Syndrome-Type A. In one terrifying instant, we were told that we would have to watch her fade away before our eyes.

Eliza and other children with this disease are missing an essential enzyme for normal cellular function. Over time, a toxic material called heparan sulfate builds up in their brain and body leading to severe disability and death before they even reach their teens.   This disease affects both genders, all races, all countries and continents.  It is everywhere and the world needs to know.


Eliza Today and Her Future

Right now Eliza is a fun loving 4-year-old who loves to sing, run and MOST of all, cuddle. She loves to play dress up and horse around with her rowdy big brother Beckham. She is, however, beginning to show signs of the disease in her learning and attention. And if nothing changes, it will only get worse from here.

By age 6, most children with her disease have irreversible brain damage and lose the ability to speak. As the disease continues to tear through her brain and body, she will lose the ability to walk and eventually she won’t even be able to feed herself as seizures ravage her body.

I watch the video and see a beautiful, creative 4-year-old girl who has until she is 5 before her brain and body will begin to show permanent damage from the ravages of this syndrome.

Her parents are literally counting down their last 365 days with their baby girl being able to walk and sing. She may live a few years longer, but in increasing pain. This is the stuff of nightmares, but it is their reality.

They have been ferocious in raising money. But they are short around $700,000 from my understanding. In Ohio, a potential gene-therapy experimental treatment is waiting to clear FDA hurdles and raise the final funds to make Eliza’s miracle happen.

Her parents are doing everything they can to save their baby. Including start their own Facebook challenge. Across my newsfeed, the #ALSicebucketchallenge is taking over, which is amazing. They’ve raised over $15 million since it began. Last year in the same time frame, they raised $1.8. Awesome! If we can get just get everyone who sees this message to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or wherever – maybe we can reach $700,000. Seems like a modest goal compared to the $15 million doesn’t it?

Click on this link to see the origin of this challenge and news story about the family as of yesterday. Don’t miss seeing this little girl so full of wonderful preschooler energy.

http://www.rightthisminute.com/video/saving-eliza-launches-sing2lines-campaign

When I watched the video of her parents trying to decide if they should keep her baby toys in case she needs them again, I cried with them. When I listen to what will start to happen when she turns five, I shuddered. Wait – didn’t that say she is already 4 1/2?!? Her days are ticking down like the most hideous ‘Poe’esque clock, with a genetic sword swaying over her precious little golden head.

There are no words that accurately reflect how important raising awareness and funds are to me. We are donating as a family as we can, but our contribution feels like barely a drop in the bucket.

All I know is that the world will know were are Christians by our love, by our love – so I’m doing what little I can to love on this family.

I’ve posted her story and challenge all over Facebook, so much so FB started making me pass a human (captcha) test before posting. And I’m hoping, and I’m praying. So if you’ve read this far, I’m asking you to do three things 1)Donate! at www.savingeliza.com If everyone who read this post, donated a dollar, we’d have raised $15,000 so far. Please donate whatever you can. No amount is too small. 2)Do and share the #sing2lines challenge!!  3) share this post on your preferred social media – get this content to every inch of the globe!!!

If you’re a blogger or author, I’m issuing another challenge – reblog this. Share this post on your blog. I’ve only been doing this for a few months, so my following is small, but if you blog and your followers blog, we can keep this going long enough that Eliza never has to stop singing.

I hope you take a minute to donate, another to sing, and really do some soul searching today. How would you parent if you knew this was the last 365 days?

Our Jar: Sanctification of our lives

Sanctification is a beautiful process of how God cleans up the mess we've made of our lives, if we let him change what we pour into our lives.

Sanctification is a beautiful process of how God cleans up the mess we’ve made of our lives, if we let him change what we pour into our lives.

Watch this wonderful illustration about how prayer changes darkness in our lives when we open the gates wide and pray.

What a moving illustration about how God is pouring His light into us as we pray, changing our perspective in even the darkest circumstances.

Lately, I’ve had one issue weighing on my heart, sanctification: being transformed into holy beings. The challenge of sin and accountability in the modern body of believers is difficult because we have to balance love with obedience to God’s word.

I wrote about the process of sanctification earlier in my post The Race Set Before Us, and the struggles with judgment and criticism in Winning the Mommy Wars.

1 John 1:7 ESV  “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”

Our fellowship with each other is important because we can support each other in the sanctification process. It is hard being the only person in a group to stand up for what is right.

In talks with my stepson, who has not accepted Christ yet, I share my faith. Partially, his concerns are about giving up the “fun” things in life. He is struggling with choosing Christ because of the intense peer pressure of high school and his fear of being the only one choosing not to swear or talk about sex.

I want to help him understand why I do choose to be different from the world even though, it is sometimes hard to stand for Christ.

I created this video to demonstrate my experiences in cleaning up my heart so sanctification isn’t such a mystery, being appropriately transparent so he sees that my need for God too.

I don’t want him to think this change in me is anything less than the miracle of Christ in my life.

I want my children to see my sanctification as the miracle of Christ in me that it is. Click To Tweet

Ephesians 5:8 ESV “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”

We were talking about how to clean up our lives. He was overwhelmed by how daunting a task that seems.

Thanks to original sin, we humans start out pretty messy and only get worse through our contact with the world.

God wants to clean us up. He wants to set us apart for holy use, but are we preventing Him from doing that? Are we getting in our own way? I was.

What are we putting into our jar?

This video is an object lesson I created to show what we allow in our lives matters, whether it is friends, television, music or movies.

Are we filling ourselves with darkness faster than we’re filling ourselves with the light?

Hard to be sanctified when we're pouring in darkness faster than we're letting in His light. Click To Tweet

Some days, I feel weighed down by the abundance of worthless garbage the world pours into our lives. We live in the world; we can’t hide from it, but we can be more cautious about what we let in.

Philippians 4:8 ESV “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Sometimes, it isn’t easy to know where to start. I decided to make one choice at a time, using Philippians 4:8 as my guide.

Sanctification is a step by step journey.

Instead of just eliminating worldly things, I started adding more Godly things: praise songs, praying, reading the Bible and listening to sermons.

I ran out of room for the world when I ran TO God, adding in good things like praise. Click To Tweet

The more good things I chose, the less the world appealed. In time, I became truly changed, more full of God’s light, hopefully a growing witness of God’s grace and love.

Matthew 5:16 ESV  “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

What once felt like things I’d have to give up to be “in” with Jesus, were really weights keeping me from experiencing true freedom in Him.

I can’t make my children choose God, but I can live the JOY I have in letting go of the world.

The Race Set Before Us

Ever get advice at the starting line of a marathon? They say, run your race. We have to run the race set before US. Not compare our journey with another's finish line.

I was talking with a young wife in our church, discussing the amazing witness of another woman we both admire.

She is a beacon of light, hope, love and faith to all who meet her. She is an on her knees, give it all to God kind of woman. In the midst of the hardest times of her life, she serves everyone else.

“I can’t see myself ever being like her,” said my young friend, dejectedly.

“Of course you can’t see that today. Call me in twenty years,” I answered, “and tell me who you are.”

I am really looking forward to seeing this young woman grow in her faith. My heart rejoices to see her hear God’s word and be changed by it.

I’ve watched her cry under God’s conviction, but be so utterly changed that she calls me rejoicing. It is beautiful.

Yet, in that moment of comparison, she sounded so defeated.

Just like the #Olympics - Winners run their own race to the best of their ability today. Click To Tweet

I prayed about how to encourage her, thinking how my mentor encourages me where I am, while still holding me accountable.

I suspect many new believers get discouraged because they fall short when they compare their new walk with someone who has been walking God’s path for decades, because they cannot see how God can/will change them over time.

We have to run the race set before us.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

What a miracle that truth is! We are new in Him!

Sometimes though, we get so caught up in preaching this joyful verse we forget to talk about the tough work of cleaning out the old.

Your house has been sold to a new tenant, but you still have to clean out the attic with its years’ worth of things, garbage, junk. You still have to sort through it all, working in the clean up.

Jesus made your heart His home, but the cleansing process only BEGINS overnight. Click To Tweet

When the Holy Spirit opened my eyes, I did have a miraculous change in perspective, but my entire life was not instantly changed.

My heart instantly wanted to change, but I still had a lot of sins I’d been hoarding, sinful choices I thought I could make and still have Jesus.

Several years ago, I watched some television that displayed blatantly sinful behavior. I thought I could keep watching these shows because I was an adult and wouldn’t let it affect me. I thought I could serve God and still hold onto these earthly things, that if my heart was His, it didn’t matter what my eyes saw or my ears heard.

I lied to myself about the importance of my daily choices while I was trapped in sin. Click To Tweet

Then one day, after my total surrender to Christ, I saw five minutes of a new show that changed my perspective. The darkness of that show was palpable, tangible to me.

I left the room. God whispered I didn’t need to put that in front of my eyes where it would seep into my brain and affect my heart.

All of a sudden, watching those shows didn’t feel like a freedom, but like a weight drowning me in the muck of this world.

Christ paid my debts. I have no claim on my eyes, ears, tongue. He bought the whole package. I needed to give myself over to Him completely.

Ever get advice at the starting line of a marathon? They say, run your race. We have to run the race set before US. Not compare our journey with another's finish line.

Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV  ” . . . let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith . . .

Christ is showing me the race set before me. He is gloriously perfecting my faith. My journey isn’t supposed to look like any other until the end, when we are all made perfect in Heaven.

My journey isn't supposed to look like any other. My race is sanctifying me for His purpose. Click To Tweet

I have cleaned up my television viewing, language, tone of voice, attitude, gradually peeling away the layers of sinfulness from my life and my heart.

Several years ago, I couldn’t have imagined being the woman I am today. I was drowning in shame over who I had been and who I was at the time.

But I started running my race. I can’t see whom I will become. But God can. I just have to have faith in Him and His plan for me.

2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

The process God uses to clean up our lives is called sanctification, the process of being made holy, being set aside for sacred use. It is a life-long process.

For someone who loves deadlines, finish lines, achieving a goal, I struggle with an open-ended process. I want to be able to see the finish line and work to get there.

But in my past, I believed I had to clean myself up to get to God. I didn’t understand I just needed to come and let Him cleanse me.

I thought it was something I had to achieve, like when I used to run.

I started running to lose weight. Then I kept running because I wanted to do things I never thought I could. I took pride in every hard-won mile. I cried when I crossed the finish line of my first half-marathon race. Going from not being able to jog for three minutes to being able to run 13.1 miles was hard work, but I had a goal. I could see the prize.

Being sanctified isn’t like that. You can’t know the journey God has planned for you, the wonderful ways He will change and use you.

Before I understood, I was so ashamed of my sin. I thought I was too dirty for God to use or claim. Then I read the following verse in Timothy.

2 Timothy 2:21 ESV “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.”

Have you ever read a verse that touched a wounded part of you so deeply that tears sprang to your eyes? My heart ached to accept this beautiful picture of God washing me, inside and out. I could be made useful and holy

. . . even me.

Everyone started in the same place. Before we knew Christ, we were sinners in need of saving. No matter where on the journey we are, we all had the same need to be chosen and cleansed.

If you’re standing near the starting line, don’t be discouraged by comparison to those who’ve been in training for years. In your fervor to know God, you can learn a lot from them. If you desire to be changed, He will answer you.

The more I seek Him, the more things of this world fall away.

I used to think God was asking me to give up worldly things, and I couldn’t see how I’d ever have the strength to do so. It felt restrictive and hard.

Now I see, He was inviting me to let them go, to quit being burdened by them.

Sanctification isn't a sprint, it's a marathon, and we must run the race set before us. Click To Tweet

I have freedom in salvation. Some in choices I make (contemporary Christian vs. traditional hymns), but more and more I see that the freedom is in how God is freeing and releasing me from the sinful choices I have made.

But, I have days I cannot see how I will have the strength to run this race.

Isaiah 40:31 ESV “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Those days of weariness, I know I have to understand what I can for today. God doesn’t expect me to be the ‘me’ of tomorrow, just to be willing to obey as I understand right now.

Galatians 5:1 ESV  “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

Jesus Christ has released you from the slavery of sin to run the race set before you. Don’t waste time in comparison, but you can celebrate the fellowship in the body of Christ to lean on and learn from those further down the journey while rejoicing in His perfect freedom.

The Faith of a Child

The faith of a child is magical. If we point them in His direction, God truly works in them in ways we cannot understand. Only if we all had such faith.

The faith of a child is magical. If we point them in His direction, God truly works in them in ways we cannot understand. If only we all had such faith.

I realized the incredible beauty in the sweet faith of a child as I watched my daughter developing her own.

I had renewed my commitment to Christ, but hadn’t quite allowed His grace to extend to my mothering. God convicted me that my “perfect” parenting meant I wasn’t letting God be in control of her life.

I was still trying to get it right my way!

For both of our sakes, I needed Him to intervene in my heart, so I could learn to share my faith with her in ways that make it living and active in her life.

Romans 10:17 ESV “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

To build the faith of a child, they needed to see and hear and live God’s word.

I had to demonstrate my faith daily, especially in front of my daughter, making a point to live out loud for Him, which meant talking my inner prayer dialogue with her.

Building the faith of a child required living mine more completely, more transparently. Click To Tweet

We talked about obeying God when I made hard choices, when I lost my temper, when we struggled with using our kind voices.

The faith of a child is magical. If we point them in His direction, God truly works in them in ways we cannot understand. Only if we all had such faith.

We thanked God for each new day, for sending His son. We read her bible together, and I spent more time in mine.

After awhile, she began asking questions like, “Do I have Jesus in my heart?” “Am I a Christian?”

I answered she is learning who God is, and when she is old enough to understand, she can choose to ask Jesus into her heart.

With the innocent faith of a child, she asked to do it then, but I wasn’t sure if she really understood.

She was so little, only 4. She didn’t even understand the days of the week yet. How could I let her make this huge decision so young?

How young is too young to make a decision for Christ? Should we ask them to wait? #faithofachild Click To Tweet

Proverbs teaches,

Proverbs 22:6 ESV “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

I became a Christian at 6, but have turned away from my faith many times. Only God’s grace has brought me back, and I really want to show her a faith that avoids falling away.

I really want her to know God’s love and Christ’s redemption, but I had concerns about her actual comprehension of what it all means.

But when she asked again a few months later, I could hear Jesus tell me not to turn her away from wanting to follow Him.

Even when Jesus was exhausted and weary, he would not turn away the children.

Mark 10:13-16 ESV “And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.”

Maybe she doesn’t quite understand yet all the details, but she knows she loves Jesus. And when Jesus said to let the children come to Him, He further taught that we adults should should strive to have the faith of a child ourselves.

So, we stopped eating lunch and prayed together.

“Dear Lord, she wants Jesus to be her savior, to come into her heart. If this is her time to come to you, Lord, please draw her close to and continue to work in her heart. If not, stay close and protect her until she’s truly ready.”

Then I let her pray what she wanted to say. “Dear Jesus, I want you in my heart to help keep the ‘debil’ out and God in me so I know how to not be naughty.” It was sweet and beautiful.

I don’t know if it was truly her decision day, but I don’t believe choosing Jesus is a magical formula of a single prayer. It is a daily life-long dying to our flesh and choosing Jesus as savior.

For now, I have to just keep living my witness; being real in my need for forgiveness when I fail.

Titus 2:7-8 “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned…”

 And celebrate with the angels over my sweet daughter tonight.

Luke 15:10 ESV “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Wish I could have heard the singing. I can only imagine.

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Swimming Lessons

“Mommy is right here. You know I won’t let you get hurt, right?”

“Right . . .” Tiny arm wraps around my neck, clutching me in a death grip.

“You know that I will be here the whole time, right?”

“Right . . .” Little fingers clutch at my hair.

“You’re going to have to trust me.”

“But I don’t trust you!” she wailed at a paint peeling decibel. I’m sure the neighbors were quite certain I was committing various acts of torture instead of just trying to get my child to float in the pool with her life jacket on.

Proverbs 3:5 ESV “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”

I am asking her to trust me, not her own perceptions, but she can’t see that from just a few weeks old, I’ve been teaching her to swim. First we got her used to water, got used to getting her face wet, pouring water over her head, then we worked on blowing bubbles, then floating in various inflatables and life jackets, learning to kick and paddle even in the tub, then learning to lay flat in the water, kick with straight legs, pull with her arms. It was step by step, inch by inch, but she can’t see that. All she sees is “deep” water and I’m asking her to jump in with nothing to hold her up, promising her that I’ve given her the tools to swim, and that I’ll be there when she falters. But she is struggling to trust what she cannot see or understand.

So how will she ever trust me in the future when I try to stop her from making a huge poor decision, when she needs to respect and believe my wisdom? I am sure I will get many chances to answer this question in far fewer years than I would like, but for today the answer is swimming lessons that are really ‘trust me’ lessons.

I immediately switched my plan from trying to teach her to swim to teaching her that she can trust me. Someone might ask, “Shouldn’t she just trust you, you’ve been there her whole life?”Of course, but what will it hurt to show her again? Why not let her see that in everything, she can trust and believe me?

At some point, she will have to make a choice to look at who I’ve been to her and decide to trust me or not, but at 4, showing her that she can trust me gives her more evidence to trust me in the future. When I think about trusting God, we can look at the Bible and our lives and see He has forever been faithful and trustworthy. He proved it, over and over. I need to demonstrate that kind of steadfastness for her.

“I won’t let go until you say I can.” was my new mantra for the day. We still had quite a bit of screaming, but I just got quieter and closer every time she was scared. I’m just like most of you, winging this whole parenting gig, but I’m trying to understand who God wants me to be for her. Somehow, I just knew that she needed me to be close and comforting, and start small.

I put her chin on my shoulder, my hands under her tummy, my cheek against her cheek as she practiced kicking and paddling. When she got scared or nervous about falling, I whispered to her, like I picture God whispering to my heart when I need to hear Him, when I’m afraid, when trusting Him seems impossible even though I know He loves me, created me, knows me inside and out (better than I know myself, better than I know my daughter).

Psalm 56:3 ESV “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

It is easy to panic when we’re afraid. It is easy to be scared. When non-Christians see a believer meet a tough situation with strength and peace, they are often surprised to see such calm. We aren’t calm because everything is easy, but because we know God is trustworthy. He has us in the palm of His hand. God doesn’t promise us an easy life, but he promises us help to live it. He promises to be present for us in the darkest times, to hold us up when the world is trying to drag us down.

It took a long time, but she started to quiet down, to know I was with her. To be able to know I wasn’t letting go and would pick her up if she fell. That first day, we spent most of the time just working on trust. It was really hard for me not to push her to swim on her own, but just to let her get comfortable in my hands. We just did everything slowly, I held her tightly. I let her decide when she was brave enough to let go of me.

From a swimming lesson viewpoint, that day probably looked counterproductive. She did less than she had ever done in the past, but we were quiet, no screaming. We spent three or four afternoons in the pool like that, just gradually building trust, less crying and being afraid. We worked on taking off the life jacket and being more and more confident in the water. She is going to learn to swim, eventually. I would rather it take an extra summer and be a lesson in love and patience, rather than fear.

1 John 4:18 ESV  “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”

What is perfect love? I want that! I want to have it, to be it.

Romans 5:8 ESV

“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God demonstrates perfect love for us in that while we were yet sinners, He sent His son to die for us. He loved us first because He did, not because we were worthy. He loved our children before our grandparents were born. God instructs us, but doesn’t want to hurt us. His instruction is to teach us, to draw us closer, to obey Him, to fear Him in the sense of awe and respect, not terror.

I could have thrown her into the pool. She would have been able to swim enough to pull herself up and get to the ladder. I knew this; she did not. Terrorizing her wouldn’t have made her a better swimmer. It would have broken a trust between us. She would have learned in fear, not confidence. In striving to be more like Christ, more like God, I chose to demonstrate the best understanding of love I have for today and to be patient and gentle, teaching her to trust me.

Isaiah 26:3-4 ESV “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”

As believers, we do not live in fear because we know we can trust God, even when life is hard and painful. He is steadfast. Obeying and loving God has given me a peace I never could have anticipated. A strength that I never would have understood with just human understanding. I was a swimmer tossed about by every wave, changing direction, getting pulled under time and time again. Focusing on God’s plan for my life, His purpose for me, gives me strength and peace about my future. I know I’m going to heaven, what else should I be concerned about? Making sure everyone I meet has the same peace and future to the best of my ability and purpose.

She will have to choose her own faith someday. She will have to decide if she loves God for herself, if the Bible is true. Today, I am the person she spends the most time with, the person who is a living demonstration of God for her. I am going to fail at this often, but am growing in my faith daily, which is helping me grow as a parent. I am actively working on reflecting God in all my interactions with her and the rest of my family and friends. Being steadfast and trustworthy in this little way will hopefully be an accurate reflection of our Heavenly Father, holding us, whispering, “I’ve got you” into our hearts when we’re afraid.

I pray that learning to trust me will not only teach her to swim, but to trust God because she could trust me and because I trust Him.

And little by little, she did learn to trust me and to have confidence in herself. Then, just two weeks of swimming (trust) lessons every couple of days, she did what I knew she could all along. She was confident and capable.

We’re still working on floating, but I hold her, and whisper to her, waiting for her to say, “Let go.” But today she swam the diameter of our pool twice without floaties and without my hand touching her. I simply swam beside her and encouraged her to kick harder.

She knows now that I’m trustworthy in this little thing, which will hopefully lead her to trust me in more than just swimming lessons, and lead to a growing trust in God as well.