She walked confidently into the room and looked at the scene.
Wading pools, water slides, 50-foot towers filled with water guns, hoses, buckets, and all manner of sprayers filled the space. To the left, a large shallow pool full of toddlers played on four slides. Further in front of us she found the wave pool, and next to it the lazy river packed tight with families on rafts. Large slides twisted and turned their way indoors and then outdoors before dumping their soggy guests back inside on their rafts.
She wanted to do it all.
As I strapped the little life jacket on her three-year-old tummy, I saw no fear in her eyes. Just pure joy and excitement from this girl who was experiencing something new. After walking her to the first small slide and watching her slip down to the water with squeal of glee, her requests for someone to catch her at the bottom turned into, “Mommy, you can just stand back there — way back there.”
Those small successes made her brave . . . to keep going, to try the next slide, and the next, until she was on the biggest water slides she could find for her size, with my husband as her constant companion and me as her ever present cheerleader.
But there’s something about being the cheerleader at the bottom of the slide that only puts you into part of the action. While she was laughing and creating memories as they climbed and slid and climbed again, I only saw a few small splashy seconds at the end.
While my little girl had looked around and knew she could be brave because everyone else was being brave, I hid behind my excuses to capture memories on camera. I was not feeling brave. In fact, I was in awe of her courage but couldn’t find enough of my own to overcome my fears and join her on a ride.
Until she came down the big slide in tears because she got flipped around and scared. Suddenly there was this little nudge in my heart, and I knew I couldn’t let her leave fearing something she loved so much.
“Will you help me be brave? Will you go with me?”
She knew — even in her toddler way — that this was a big request from mommy. Although she was less confident than before, she grabbed my hand and led the way. As we got to the top of the tower and sat in the slides, my heart pounded loud in my ears. And we pushed off.
She made it to the bottom before me every time, and every time I came down with arms raised high cheering for us both. The cheerleader and the adventurer in one. And every time I saw her at the bottom waiting, looking back, she wore a proud grin on her face for what we’d both just done.
I’ve avoided doing a lot of things because I’ve been afraid. Watching someone else’s bravery hasn’t always been enough to convince me to try something that makes my heart jump to my throat.
What if I fail?
What if they don’t like me?
What if it’s as bad as I think it will be?
What if . . .
What if I grabbed the hand of the woman beside me and said “Will you help me be brave? Will you go with me?” What if we asked women to work with us, to pray with us, to sharpen us? What more could we do if we invited someone else to join us?
Contagious courage can transform the Kingdom.
Who is inspiring you to be brave today?