Yesterday started out a peaceful day on our family property.
Alisa was spending time at the pool with her close friend Ranelle. Together they kept a careful watch over their combined seven young children, who were enjoying their time together in the water.
Living very near the family pool, Alisa carries a constant sense of anxiety over the safety of her children. Her six year old swims well and her four-month old is still to young to find her way into the pool, but Alma and Asa, as two and three-year-olds, are in the highest risk group for drowning. So she takes care to put them in puddle jumpers each time they entered the fenced in pool yard. Then she snaps on safety turtle wristbands when they were outside the pool gates, which sound an alarm if they fall into water. Vigilant over their safety, she takes the matter of pool safety seriously and is even about to take on learning infant water safety.
Drowning. Choking. Both forms of suffocation that are terrifying thoughts for mothers.
Both almost happened by the pool within thirty minutes of each other.
The morning had been fun. They took a break from playing in the pool to eat lunch. Sandwiches. Juice. Grapes. Chuckling over their tendency to be overly cautious, Alisa and Ranelle decided to NOT cut the grapes in half for their children and instead placed a cluster of grapes onto each child’s plate. As Alisa finished her lunch, and began to nurse baby Beth, she glanced over at Asa, and was horrified to see him choking and completely unable to make a sound. Pulling him out of his seat, Ranelle tried to help him clear whatever was stuck in his throat. Finally she stuck her finger down his throat and dislodged a grape. For Alisa, it was one of the most frightening moments as a parent, leaving her weepy and exhausted.
It takes only one minute of distraction for a child to be in imminent danger.
The peaceful day was about to blow up even more.
As Alisa got ready to take her kids in for their nap-time, she took off their puddle jumpers and sent them into the house ahead of her. Cradling baby Beth in her arms, she ran over to hang up the puddle jumpers and turn to follow her children in. But something caused her to look back where she saw Asa walking towards the pool instead. Assuming Alma was already in, she called to Asa but he refused to comply. Going over to the pool, she took his hand and then out of the corner of her eye, noticed something in the pool. Alma. She was floundering deep in the water. Jumping into the pool, she grabbed her up and fortunately Alma began to throw up immediately and then breathe.
Alisa had gotten to her in time. Barely.
Was it Alisa’s glance back that saved Alma? If she hadn’t looked, she would have assumed her children were already in the house.
Was it Asa’s refusal to come that saved Alma? If he had complied, and come to Alisa, she would not have gone over to the pool.
It all happened so quickly and would have ended entirely different a mere minute later.
was it the nudging of the Holy Spirit within Alisa that saved Alma? God’s sovereignty in action.
I believe it is the later that God intervened twice that day. He prevented Asa from choking and He prevented Alma from drowning.
Why did He allow both of these terrifying experiences to occur?
FIRST – His sovereignty was displayed.
SECOND – He desires to free Alisa up from fear. As parents, we are to be vigilant and protect our children, but we will never be able to do enough to keep our kids perfectly safe. We live in a world where bad things happen. We have no guarantees. Except that God loves us and His sovereignty will bring about His perfect will for each person. I pray that never means losing one of my grandchildren. No amount of worry or anxiety on our part makes our kids safer however. It just diminishes our joy.
THIRD – Terrifying experiences moves us to prayer – the most powerful role we have as parents. Prayer moves us to act in ways we might not otherwise do. Prayer makes us sensitive to hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit. Alisa is a praying mom and while she may not be cognizant of why she turned to look at the pool, I believe that it was the nudging of the Holy Spirit within her.
FOURTH – As a result of these terrifying events, we put into place even safer protocol. Alma and Asa now put on and take off their puddle jumpers in the house and not in the pool yard.
FOURTH – We become more grateful.
Alma is a very spirited child. She is stubborn and bent on getting her way. When she is corrected or asked to comply, she pretends to sleep, wherever she is. In the picture to the left, she is “asleep” on our garage floor. Then she doesn’t have to listen.
Yesterday, all this spunk – and even her outright fits – I regarded in a different light. Throughout the day, whenever I saw her, I pondered the remarkable gift she is to us and how easily we could have lost her.
Thank you God for making Alma who she is. Thank you for protecting her well beyond our own capacity to do so. I commit her, and all my other ten grandchildren to your keeping. I am reminded again that all my worries do nothing do further Your plan for them. And I thank you for the pool and that written on the walls behind the paint, are scriptures expressing Your provision and protection. May it be a source of gladness and joy and may no child ever suffer serious harm within.