Going Under


As a mom, a big part of my job is to teach my children. All you fellow parents know that throughout the day, we’re teaching our children morals, manners, numbers, letters, etc. (or attempting to, that is). And my 3-year-old is smack in the middle of the “why, mommy??” phase, so I’m doing a lot more teaching and explaining than I’d like these days!

But even so, I’m continually amazed at how much God has to teach me through their sweet, innocent lives. Scripture talks about how much Jesus loves little children, and how our faith should be like that of a child (see Matthew 18:3), because He knows the power they have to illustrate scriptural principles.

Recently, I had one such experience. While washing dishes one evening, I listened as my son expressed to his father an intense fear about taking off his floaties at the pool (there’s an indoor pool in town we’ve been using with the big kids as a way to work on swim skills during the winter. It’s also a great way to burn through those dicey pre-bedtime hours!).

While my daughter was happy to shed her floaties and swim “like a big kid,” my sweet, cautious boy has been reticent to follow suit. After several “I just don’t want to!” responses, Aaron was able to coax the real fear out of him:

I’m afraid of sinking to the bottom, he said in a sweet, small voice.

With a smile, Aaron asked him, do you really think I would let you sink?

Again, that sweet, small voice held intense resolve—yes.

With a confident, big bear hug, Aaron scooped him up and reassured him, I would never, ever let you sink!

I laughed as I dried worn pots and pans, thinking how absurd it was for my child to think we would ever let him get even close to sinking … but as soon as the thought crossed my mind, my own Heavenly Father gently whispered, but you relate to me in the same way, child. Do you really think I would ever, could ever, let you sink?

Comfort and conviction mingled in the midst of these thoughts, because truthfully, I live far too much of my life acting as if He will let me sink. Too often, I choose fear over trust … or worry over peace … or impatience over patient confidence that God will provide an answer to whatever situation has me wringing my hands that day.

Can you relate? We say with our mouths the truth of God’s Word and His promises to us … and yet, all too often our actions speak—shout, even—the exact opposite.

Our Creator God knows us intimately and understands our propensity to feel as though we’re sinking under the weight of our trials during stormy seasons. One of my favorite scriptures describing His promise to keep us anchored above the waves comes from Isaiah:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you (Isaiah 43:2).

In the New Testament, we see Jesus calm the storm that His disciples feared would overtake them (see Matthew 8:23-27). And we read with awe the story of Peter walking on water with Jesus—who reached out and took hold of Peter when fear sent him sinking (see Matthew 14:22-33).

Over and over, we see God speak directly to this fear in us…this fear that our circumstances and our trials will sink us straight to the bottom of the deep end. That our pain, like a mammoth wave, will overtake us.

He meets that fear with the calm assurance of His never-ceasing presence and sustaining, steadfast love. Indeed, it is a hope we have as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure (Hebrews 6:19).

Is there some pain, some trial, some burden in your life, and it’s threatening to overwhelm and sink you under its weary weight? Are you afraid of going under? Perhaps the enemy is whispering in your ear the smooth lie that you can’t survive this; this is going to sink you.

Dear reader, may I encourage you—as I encourage myself—to listen intently to the voice of your Father. Mediate on and absorb the words of truth, these words that deliver life-sustaining oxygen to drowning lungs:

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made Heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep (Psalm 121:1-4 ESV).

May we be willing to trust our Father in a deeper way this week. May we find ourselves inching out over the water, anchored in a growing faith. And may the enemy’s deceitful voice be the only thing we find drowning!



Be Still

by Meredith H. Carr

Download my latest book, Be Still, about how to practice the art of stillness in the midst of turmoil.

  • Your posts always make me cry. I feel like we are given this lesson over and over to have faith instead of fear. I think for me, I need this lesson in small chunks or steps at a time which is probably why it keeps coming up. But thank you for reminding me today to have faith. I have been having a really hard time with Remy lately and her behaviors. The developmental gap is growing and I find myself fearful that she will never fit in this world. I need to spend that energy on faith and gratefulness on how far she has come because God will always take care of her and me. Your words were just the thing I needed today….Thank you so much

    • Sweet mama, I’m so glad this encouraged your heart today <3. You are one of the most beautiful people I know, inside and out! You're so right about learning this lesson in chunks, one step and situation at a time--it is hard, and incredibly so when it comes to entrusting our babies and their futures to Him ... especially in those times when we're struggling to see a way through it. Praying for you today!

  • Barbara Red-Horse says:

    Oh, I soooo see your two guys at the pool in that precious interaction, working through fear and trust, knowing what a solid base is built between them. And yes, so like me with my mostly trusting God, while not completely believing it enough to relinquish all my fears. My current audio book is “He Loves Me” by Wayne Jacobsen, recommended by Wm. Paul Evans of “The Shack.” His message is that we can’t trust God unless/until we truly believe he loves us and if we truly believe he loves us, we will trust him and find great freedom in that. Parenting so has a way of bringing up my issues as I think I’m teaching/training my kids (and my daytime kids). And the knowing it in the head and believing it in the heart are not always completely connected, oh my. Blessings to you for listening to those God whispers and sharing them.

    • Yes!! So so so agree about that connection between believing in His love and trusting Him completely. I have long struggled with believing that He loves ME and is good TO ME. But getting that truth squarely in the heart is definitely the path to ruthless trust in Him. I wish it was a “one and done” kind of battle, but it seems like I’m daily learning to believe, live in, and trust His love for me (and my babies!). So thankful for you, sweet friend, and love your heart that is always pursuing Him!!

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©2020 Meredith H Carr

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