“So, is this your favorite part of vacation?” my daughter asked from the front of our tandem kayak. Without even turning around to see my face she said, “I can feel you smiling! And I’m guessing you’ll have one of these things on your wish list now. Am I right?!”
Yep. She was right! As I have said many times over many years – any boat on any water and I’m a happy camper! So, the chance to invite my daughter to share my happy place – in a kayak, gliding across a beautiful lake, on a perfect summer day in the mid-West – made my heart sing! We chatted as we lazily paddled our way around a quiet cove. It was so peaceful and relaxing.
And then… the wind picked up!
Our gentle paddling wasn’t getting us very far and with a hint of panic, my daughter asked, “what do we do now?!”
“Well, my love, this is when we put a little more muscle into those strokes, use some core strength!” I encouraged. I didn’t have to ask twice. She surprised me with strength and determination I hadn’t seen before. “Where have you been for the past 20 minutes?!” I teased. “Looks like we’re cruising now!”
Only we had one small problem. In her zealousness, my daughter wasn’t just paddling, she was trying to steer from the front of the kayak and over-compensating from lack of experience (this was her first time with a paddle in her hand!).
My own words grabbed my attention the minute they left my mouth, “Baby, don’t try to steer. Just paddle! If we both try to steer we’ll probably work against each other – and I’m spending more time correcting the steering than actually making forward progress. So just let me do the steering and you just paddle, ok?”
Hmmm. Another humbling moment in parenting! I immediately felt a check in my heart: how often might the Lord be saying the same thing to me?! “Don’t try to steer. Just follow Me. Just be diligent as I direct you. When you try to steer, you may very well be working against Me. If you get too far off course, I may need to step in to correct and redirect. And that may be more complicated than I ever intended. So just let Me do the steering and you just follow My lead, ok?”
Wow. What a gentle way for the Lord to use one of my favorite days on vacation, and such a simple joy with my daughter to help me see His heart.
He leads. I follow.
When I employ the strength and determination He provides to respond to the direction He gives, I will be amazed by how much He accomplishes! I can trust Him to steer me safely to shore, no matter how the winds might gust and swirl!
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Psalm 32:8
I am the LORD your God who leads you in the way you should go. Isaiah 48:17
~ ~ ~
I have a Shepherd, One I love so well;
How He has blessed me tongue can never tell;
On the cross He suffered, shed His blood and died,
That I might ever in His love abide.
Following JESUS, ever day by day,
Nothing can harm me when He leads the way;
Darkness or sunshine, whate’er befall,
JESUS, the Shepherd, is my All in All.
When I would wander from the path astray,
Then He will draw me back into the way;
Goodness and mercy follow on my track,
With such a Shepherd nothing can I lack.
When labor’s ended and the journey done,
Then He will lead me safely to my home;
There I shall dwell in rapture sure and sweet,
With all the loved ones gathered round His feet.
– Leonard Weaver, 19th century –