Help! I’m Drowning!

Anyone who really knows me, knows that I’m scared of water. Well, I’m pretty much scared of anything that could remotely cause physical harm. That comes as a surprise to the people who haven’t known me long, because of my “out there” personality.

Early in our marriage, we took a vacation to Gatlinburg Tennessee. If you’ve ever been there, then you know one of the main attractions, in the surrounding area, is white water rafting. Obviously not something I’d be interested in doing. Well, on this trip, Steve talked me into going on a white water rafting trip. One I won’t soon forget.

I remember it like it was yesterday. We went to the desk to pay and I asked the guy if we had a guide. He said no, because it was just a very mild excursion. He told us that you’re pretty much just floating down a stream. I could certainly handle floating! So we put on our life vests, strapped one one our son Tucker, who was six or seven at the time, and set out on our voyage.

This was to be a three hour “float”. About mid way through, the water began to get a little rough. No need to panic, this is a mild river. The guide had assured us of that right? Out of the blue from seemingly nowhere, our raft flew into some rocks and Tucker and I were thrown out of the boat! Steve managed to snatch Tucker up immediately, but not me. There I went. Flying down the river at what seemed like fifty miles an hour.

I must paint the picture. I was, how can I put this…a chunk! My life vest didn’t fit properly because short and fat don’t mix. The shoulder parts of the vest were sticking way above my head, so my head was continually going under water. My arms and legs were going everywhere, and every time my head came out of the water I was screaming “HELP!”. I could hear poor Tucker crying saying “save my momma!” I knew at that moment I would die, and poor Tuck would be left motherless.

After what seemed like an eternity, I made it back to the raft. I was exhausted, and my feet were bruised from all the rocks they’d hit as I was flailing them around like a mad woman. Truth be told, I probably could’ve stood up. I don’t know how, because I had zero strength left, but Steve got me back into the raft. This is probably why he later had to have back surgery. There was water in it, almost up to our knees. I was crying like a baby.

Remember we were only halfway through this thing and I was BITTER! I, in a not so loving voice, told Steve to put me out, that I would just walk the rest of the way back. He politely told me that it would be ok, he said he needed me to help him row. So I’d try, but if I saw even the slightest inkling of ripple in the water, I’d start crying, and so would Tuck. After about ten times of this happening Steve lost it. He said, in a not so living voice, ” you’re going to have to shut. up!” Needless to say I was ticked!

When we finally made it to the end, I stepped out of the raft and started hauling butt up the hill. Steve told me I had to help him carry the raft. I told him that I wasn’t carrying anything, that as far as I was concerned he could leave it right there, I didn’t care. This was the “me” before Christ, so there were some very unladylike expletives throughout these conversations. Then I proceeded to throw my oar onto the ground as hard as I could, only, it landed in the water and Steve had to chase it down and fish it out. Now, we’re both BITTER, and poor Tuck is scared.

The ride back to where we were staying was anything but pleasant. To tell you the truth, this is the only thing I remember from that trip. I couldn’t even tell the story for years without being on the verge of tears because it seriously traumatized me that bad.

Now however, its a source of entertainment for us. Just one of the many incidents in those first ten years, that made us the couple we are today.

I’m thankful that God doesn’t waste anything. He uses every thing that happens to us to mold and shape us. Even the scariest of things. There’s no trauma we go through that God can’t change into a triumph. This may be a funny story, but the same is true for even those things in our past that can’t ever be viewed as funny. God is our redeemer and He can use any situation for His glory and to change lives, if we’ll let Him. If we cry out to Him He’ll always be there to rescue us, there’s nothing to fear. Not even whit water rafting, but I still won’t ever go again :-).

“See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid.
The Lord God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.” Isaiah 12:2

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