It’s summer time again, the season of tank tops, Otter Pops, and the most time – honored of traditions…
No matter how well last summer’s lessons went, the pool-less months of jacket-weather season wreak havoc on the average preschooler. Swim Lesson Amnesia sets in and we may find ourselves right back at square one.
Maybe you’ve been/are there. There are crying fits and tantrums, despite well-intentioned reminders of, “But honey, you did this last summer!” I knew I had to do something when the teacher sent me out until the end of the lesson.
Hurried-me-from-the-past would have just chided my child with a stale, “you don’t need to be scared” and moved on (and that’s why she doesn’t work here anymore). After one particularly difficult lesson a couple of weeks ago, I spent all afternoon trying to figure out how to help my daughter overcome her fears, some of which included:
- A retelling and re-enactment of the Battle of Jericho
- “Swimming” in the living room (bowl of water included)
- A “God vs. The Devil” attempt at a theological explanation of fear
All of this resulted in an epic meltdown and an emphatic, “I don’t want to learn to swim anymore!” from my four-year-old. Over-parenting fail.
After recognizing the error of my ways, despondently I prayed that God would show me in His timing how to handle this situation. And like a stream of consciousness, the verses of the “Love Chapter” began playing in my heart:
“Love is patient”
Patient – as in calm, relaxed. Dare I say slow by modern standards. Though providing a grace-filled response to a situation may not come naturally, in stillness, God provides the loving response – in time and over time (and maybe not in one afternoon). Which brings me to my next point…
“It does not insist on its own way”
Our ways are not God’s ways. I have too often relied on my own (faulty) methods of handling conflict and missed out on the divinely – inspired manner of being. Love waits for God’s healing/fulfilling/restoring/completing ways.
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
Because love never ends, it’s not in a hurry. It takes the time to soothe the hurts and share the burden. And it makes us okay with not having the right answer, right now – because love believes and trusts that God’s got it all under control.
Each of these verses brought me to the realization that love has its own speed…or non-speed as I like to think of it. It runs counter to our best intentions – you know, those intentions that want to fix things likeyesterdayalready– so love can last beyond this year’s swim season to establish a hope that lasts a lifetime.
After submitting my feeble attempts at a solution to the Lord, I spent the rest of the afternoon semi-patiently waiting to see what God had to say on the matter. That night as I tucked my daughter into bed, I wasn’t exactly sure what I should say now that God was writing the script. I snuggled into bed next to her and didn’t speak a single word as I calmly waited for love to fill up the moment and light the way.
What followed was totally unrehearsed (and very silly) moment between my daughter and me, during which we discovered the dastardly “Scaredies” living inside of her (don’t ask me where this came from – apparently God is a fan of whimsical, impromptu bedtime fiction as well). It wasn’t much but it was just what she needed to understand her feelings and feel empowered to take charge of them…although now I think she thinks “Scaredies” are like a bacteria you can pick up using a public restroom.
Before I walked into her room that night, I didn’t know what my daughter needed. But God did. And in choosing to run things a little more His speed, we both found healing in a little unexpected laughter.
And isn’t that what summertime’s about…
All Bible quotations from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 English Standard Version (2001).