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?
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I would have to say that my husband inspires me to be brave…he is my constant cheerleader. I think that I feel brave because he believes in me…even when I don’t believe in me. I love it when he says, “Just be Bev.” That simple reassurance reminds me of just Who made me and God doesn’t make junk. As God’s creation with Christ in me and the Holy Spirit at my side, there’s nothing I need to fear. Oh the enemy sure comes at me with his lies, but I take heart in knowing that Christ has overcome the world…and so can I. Awesome post Crystal and yay for you in literally “taking the plunge” on those slides…you go girl!!
I love that so much Bev – there’s such power in surrounding yourself with people who simply believe in you! xoxo
My sweet friend, Donna pushes me to be brave as I watch her fighting her second battle with cancer. She has faced this challenge with a testimony of God’s glory along the way. Knowing that she can brave through something like that makes my fear of others thought seem silly, yet my fears are still real.
I am slowly taking steps to face my fears one at a time and I hope that I always remember to grab the hand of those around me to join in overcoming. Thank you for being brave and encouraging the rest of us to do the same.
What a beautiful testimony, Amy. I’m so sorry Donna is going through that battle again – praying for her, and for you.
Lisa-Jo Baker says
Oh my heart, I love her and her mama so much.
Meghan Weyerbacher says
It feels like I wrote this myself, as I am the one who stands to the side as the rest of the family climbs the steps of rides I’d rather not deal with. I’ve always been the cautious type anyways, but these days I would have to say, besides my husband of almost 12 years as we tag-team life, my closest girlfriend is one who has inspired me to be brave. She showed by example how to be selfless and brave in her own marriage and life, and when God opened doors in my own life that required more than average courage to face each day, I was able to lean on Him and also remember her example. Seeing someone go through something, with such selflessness and steadfastness, helps others when they face similar things. We can know it is actually possibly to get through! So keep sharing these nuggets of your life because they truly are awesome and help us all to be more brave. ((iron sharpens iron))
Rebekah Cate says
Once again, blown away…I love getting to see your heart more and more!!! Thanks for writing inspired words and for choosing to be brave!!! Love you friend….
Awww, Crystal. Your story brought tears to my eyes. How beautiful that God used your daughter to help you be brave, and that you were able to do the same for her. This story touched me. It reminds me, yet again, that we are not meant to walk through this life alone. We’re interconnected with those who people our days, our hearts.
For me, my husband is the one who helps me be brave. He is the one who reminds me who I am in God’s eyes, and in his. I have a couple friends who challenge me to be brave on the writing journey. They speak words of truth over me when I feel like giving up. And friends who help me be brave on the mommy-journey. Praying for me and reminding me 1) I am not alone, and 2) I’m not the only one dealing with the issues in our boys.
Doris Swift says
Love this Crystal! Courageous courage can transform the Kingdom! I’m in 🙂 Loved the story about your daughter and the pics.
Rachel Miller says
Many years ago, I was standing at the foot of a huge Ferris wheel in Moscow with some dear friends. I watched as they eagerly tried to convince their youngest daughter to ride, even though she was afraid of heights. The whole time I was thinking, “Girl, I am with you. I don’t want to ride that thing either.” Then I heard them asking her if she would go if someone went with her: her dad, her mom, her sister. At that she turned and with her big brown eyes firmly fixed on my face she said, “I’ll go if I can ride with Rachel.” Gulp. Everything in me was shaking. I did not want to ride that thing, but neither did I want her to miss out on an opportunity to be brave because I wasn’t. So we both trembled our way into the ride and started our assent. Then God did the most amazing thing. Just as we started to get to the highest point of the ride, the part that terrified us both, a sparrow landed on our car. He just sat there blinking and chirping at us. Our mind was drawn away from the terrible distance between us and earth. We relaxed just a little. We giggled nervously at the thought that we had a little visitor way up there. We even managed to look out over the trees, across the Moscow River and the city beyond. We survived! Neither of us had any desire to do it again, but we had managed to get through it—together!
Beth Williams says
Loved how your little girl helped make you brave. For me it is my husband. I constantly hear the words of the evil one and almost believe them. He will come along side me and tell me I’m smart, good looking, capable–even when I don’t feel that way! He is my cheerleader. In a similar way I try to cheerlead for him. When he feels down I tell him how smart, good looking, etc. he is. We are a perfect match for making each other brave!