Thursday, May 21, 2009

pushing limits

Sitting on the high side of a heeling boat in smooth waters is exhilarating. We had perfect sailing conditions on one gorgeous day a couple of weeks ago but, always our cautious one, Tristan was having a hard time. Our first day on the water together since the big haul-out and clean-up, Shawn was full of excitement and pride as he pushed the limits of the boat. A neighbor from the marina was out in his identical Hunter and the race was on, but Tristan was ready to turn back almost as soon as we left the docks. With some coaxing, encouragement and lots of discussion, he very slowly began to relax. Shawn asked Tristan over and over, "Do you trust me?" Of course he does and you could see the conflicting feelings at work in his eyes. He loves the boat, he loves learning about its parts and functions, he loves being Dad's helper and can tie a bowline better than his mom can but he has his comfort zone and he doesn't love being pushed out of it.
Several times in exasperation I looked to Shawn only to see his face asking the same question. What does a parent do in this situation? Do we follow Tristan's lead and head home? Do we ease up on the sails and drift like a lifeboat? Of course not. We hold on tight to our frightened-but-trying-so-hard-to-hide-it son and we heel. Before long, he was mostly smiling again and we high fived and praised him for his courage. We told him how proud we were of him, and watched as self-confidence replaced fear. He's ok with heeling now and after a loving push into this new sailing territory maybe even on his way to enjoying it.
(Kenna, on the other hand, is going to require some loving yanks back into the boat...but that will be another post, I'm sure. As for Kate, she was in the boat for the first time on that day! She slept the entire time, happy as a baby clam.)

The past couple of weeks since that sail have been tough on this mom. In addition to Shawn never being home and a houseful of sick kids, let's just say I have been finding myself regularly pushed out of my mothering comfort zone. Just when I feel my limits can be pushed no further, they usually are.
I'd like to say I handle these moments and days with grace and dignity, that I am patient and slow to anger, that I don't run and hide in my garden. Yes, I'd like to say that. Instead I have to say that I usually act like my five year old son in a rocking boat. I cry out to God to take me back to the docks where I can put my own feet on the ground and take control. Oh, how I crave control. When He is holding onto me, life crashing all around I can fight it, fear it, hate it...or I can choose to be exhilarated. I can choose to let go and find courage in trust. I can open my eyes and take in the view and be at peace in the storm.
So, this is where I'm at today. I am seeking to behold His beauty and trusting that all this pushing of my limits will make me a better person, a better mom, as I learn to give up control that was never mine in the first place.

" behold the beauty of the Lord..." Psalm 27


  1. Amen to that sister!!! It's such an irony that to let go is the best way to hang on! I'm sure glad there's company in these waters just down the street from me:).

  2. Thank you for your post this morning! I needed to hear that and be reminded that I am not in control. You know Caleb has been sick, I was sick, Shawn's been super busy too, family is coming in and I have been on edge. I feel I have been pushed to my limites too. Last night, after many nights of Caleb not sticking to his usual schedule, I too mentioned the "control" issue to Shawn at 4 in the morning. I said "I just need to realize I cannot control everything". Coincidence that you speak of this in your post? Probably not. God is reminding me, I am not in control and even when I am being pushed out of my confort zone, He is there to help me. How I need to just rest in the knowledge of that! I hope you have a good weekend!

  3. Thank the Lord that He gives us enough grace to handle any situation. Sometimes, I want to have an extra helping of grace- to make the hard times feel easy- but He doesn't promise us that. He promises only that we will not be swallowed up in the deep waters. But only when we lean on Him can He keep us afloat. Still, I'll pray for an extra portion of grace for you this week!

  4. Kelli, I hear you. I get so caught up in how frustrated I am at the moment, and it's hard to remember that those moments will pass and everything will be okay again. I like the idea of choosing to be at peace in the midst of the storm (and I'm sure our house sounds louder than a storm at times!).

  5. Great observations .... plus I can see that I am definitely related to Tristan!!!...a slow moving fishing boat on a lazy-mazy river is the kind of boating I resonate with!...right with you 'T'!!
    ....heeling is for the hot-doggers!
    :) d


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