This is not just for my normal momma readers. This for all the dads too… And more than that it’s for those of you who may not have children, for all those husbands and wives out there reading. And to extend it one step further it’s for those who aren’t married either. This is for anyone who has ever felt as though they were drowning at one point of their life and everyone around them seemed to just say “Swim harder.”
Life is hard. Marriage is hard. Parenting Is hard. Friendship is hard. Careers are hard. No matter what part of life we are currently experiencing, we are almost guaranteed to be met with hard times. Some harder than others.
I remember reading an article that said “Marriage isn’t tough”… And then they went on to say, it’s letting go of yourself to make room for someone else that is the tough part. It’s not actually the marriage part. But I couldn’t help but to walk away after reading that and think to myself: but my marriage is tough. In Fact at times, it’s really really tough and I have given so much of myself that I don’t know how to possibly give anymore. I love my husband so it’s easy for me to give myself to him. But that doesn’t make marriage easy. And he gives himself to me too. We open our hearts and pour out our fears, our struggles, our hopes,our dreams, our joys, and our brokenness. But that doesn’t mean marriage is easy for us. Because the truth is, all that “pouring out” is hard to do too. And if I am being really honest, sometimes it’s even harder to find the things that make us feel connected on any level whatsoever. Sometimes it’s hard work to even talk to one another let alone feel in love with one another… I know there have been times in my own marriage where I have felt like screaming “I am drowning! Save me!” And it has felt like my husband has looked back at me and said “swim harder” when all I wanted him to do was say “here’s a life jacket, let me help you.” And I am sure my husband could say the same. I know there have been times where he felt like the waves of life took him under and I wasn’t there reaching for his hand.
I’ve had these moments as a mom too. Times where I have looked around my life and felt as though I had nothing to show for all my hard work. Times where I felt like my life was worth nothing more than two hands to make lunches, wipe noses, bath bodies and tuck kids into beds. I didn’t get a paycheck, I never got a bosses approval or a vacation or even a day off for that matter. I understand these are my choices. And I stand by them and am beyond thankful to have the opportunity to stay home with my children. But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been moments where I have looked around me, paralyzed by all that I had to do and couldn’t seem to get done and think “I am drowning, please someone save me”… To only receive looks or comments of “Swim harder..” Which was always met with my heart crying… “I don’t know if I can anymore.”
A few years back I was going through some very hard things in life and I remember finally getting the courage to go to the doctors to tell her I think I needed help. I needed something because I was falling apart. Counseling, medicine… Something. I actually used the words “I feeling like I am drowning” as I wiped away tears of embarrassment. Big hot tears. I felt as though in a way I was admitting I was a failure. And I will never forget her looking back at me and she basically said the words “swim harder”..telling me to workout more, eat healthier, read more, do less on the computer, sleep more”… I remember leaving that appointment hardened. Hardened even more than when I went in. I remember wiping those last few tears away and looking out my car window and thinking “I am not saveable, that must be it. I am past saving, or worse… Maybe I am not worth saving.” And I went home and didn’t cry or connect with anyone for months upon months. For so long that I had actually convinced myself that I had fixed myself. Because I felt nothing.
Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever looked around you and felt like your whole body was screaming “save me, I am drowning” and yet no one threw you a life vest? Odds are, you have. Because the reality is I think most of us have felt this way at one time or another, yet we rarely talk about it. That’s what makes life hard. That’s what makes marriage hard. That’s what makes parenting and working hard. The part where we all pretend we are never drowning. The part where we never cast each other a life vest and say “I won’t let you drown, let me help you” Friends, I beg of you, look around you. If you’re the one that is going through steady water rights now and don’t need your own life vest, throw one over board for someone. Find someone who needs to be saved.
What do you do then? You throw your life vest to them… And then what? I encourage you to Share with them this: “You are not alone. I have needed this life vest many times in the past. But in this moment I want you to have it. And when you look at it I want you to remember what it represents. It is a reminder you are loved. You are loved by me, but more importantly by someone, and the only one who can truly save you; Our Heavenly Father. That doesn’t mean that life with God is flawless, or easy or even happy all of the time. But what it does mean is you are loved, you are not alone and you are worth saving. Just look up from the waters and reach out for that life vest and I promise you it will be there every time.”