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The Sign on the Shore

I stayed up late tonight,
talking to the 15-year old
about life.

She's at the age
where emotions are magnified
and perspective is in great demand.

I invite her to sit down
at the table
and talk
while I listen.
I even break out some
paper
to keep notes.
I tell her we're going to start with
a prayer,
then I bow my head.
to let her know
that she is the one who will
be offering it.
She asks Heavenly Father to help
us understand each other
and help her figure things out.

Her mood is serious.
She is struggling with things
that to her,
feel overwhelming.
She talked, I listened.
When we got through,
I wanted to keep my response
simple.

So I came up with a metaphor:
In Life,
we have challenges/problems/trials
that could fall into three different images:
Problems that resemble the breadth and depth of
an Ocean--
where our feet do not touch "bottom"
but where we are required to tread water
to keep our head above the waves.

Problems that resemble the breadth and depth of
Lake-
rocky bottoms and drop-offs that we don't always know about,
and we may have to swim awhile,
but eventually,
we get to the shore line for rest.

And Problems that resemble
a Pond-
not too deep,
but if you fall in,
you'll get a bit muddy and wet,
 BUT
you can stand up most of the time
and walk out on your own.

While she is yet a teenager
of just fifteen years old,
her trials feel overwhelming
as though she is
in an Ocean--
barely clinging for air,
treading water,
fearing the next wave.


My experience has taught me
that when I see her in such a state,
I don't always toss a "life preserver"
her way,
but am more likely to say,
Stand up and walk out.
Meaning, you can help yourself,
so do it.
At first, she was doubtful I understood
her plight--
that I was minimizing her troubles.
I wasn't trying to minimize them as much as help her
to see the differences.

Nana sat at the table and told her,
"Mom's been around long enough to know
if you're drowning in an Ocean,
or just tumbled into a pond.
You just have to trust her on that."

Then she used her car wreck from last month
as an example:
She was freaking out about the whole thing--
the damaged car, the money or lack of money,
her hurt shoulder, etc.,--
all the while I was calmly telling her
things would work out,
no matter what the outcome,
this car wreck would not even make it in
the TOP 100 Memorable Things
in her life.
But she didn't believe me.
She thought I didn't understand.
Nevermind that I too, have been in car accidents before--
her experience was "different", she told Daisie.
But it wasn't, she admitted.
"Things have worked out,
and I wasted all that time just being depressed,
where, if I'd just listened to Mom,
it wouldn't have been so miserable.
I thought I was drowning in an ocean,
but Mom knew I was only in a Pond."

So we talked about examples of
Trials and Oceans....
An Ocean-sized trial is usually one that
changes your life.
Having a special needs child
was an Ocean for me.
It is a challenge that was not removed.
Instead, I had to learn to tread water
from the moment he was born.
My arms and legs and heart were made stronger
from the exercise it required.
As well as my faith.

We talked about Lake-size trials--
those trials that catch us by surprise
but usually get resolved by some focused effort
in the right direction...
like swimming to a shoreline.
We are made stronger by the effort
and find out what our strengths and talents are
in the process.

Then, there are the Pond-size trials--
most are just little annoying
everyday learning trials...
things that occur simply because we are human--
learning how to grow up
and be happy
and healthy
kind of trials.

The truth is,
trials come in all sizes.
But here's the predictable thing about trials:
More often than not,
They Pass.

We're going to fall/stumble
into many more Ponds
than Oceans and Lakes.
And it's helpful to know that
on the edge of every ocean shore
or lake shore,
there's a sign posted:
NEVER SWIM ALONE.

We need help in our trials.
And we can turn to the Savior of the World,
the Creator of all Oceans and Lakes and Ponds--
and He will help us make it to the shoreline,
to refuge and safety.














photo credit: us army water safety

The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe has nothing on this Momza of Seven, mil to two, and recently crowned "Granma" to a Ninja-Baby who has stolen her heart with his toothless grin. Dawn is a Midwife Assistant/Doula, Home Stager, Writer, and Convert to the LDS faith--living the dream in the Colorado Rockies! She blogs at Momza's House.

 
Enjoy shopping for quality baby clothing at TradeTang.com

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