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Calling from the Deep

by Marijo Phelps  
3/14/2009 / Christian Living

I had gone under for the third time. Chlorine was stinging my nose and sinuses as I gasped for breath. My three friends, stronger swimmers than I, had already climbed the ladder out of the pool. I had been hesitant to swim in the deep end to the ropes and back, thinking I might not have the stamina to make it. Paula, Judy and Maureen had all said to just stick a hand up in the air if I needed help and they'd come.

I struck the bottom and realized that maybe I could push off and get my head above water. I was able to grasp a breath of fresh air. Why did it take the life guard only seconds to notice if you were playing tag, blowing his whistle as you ran but he did not respond when I really needed him. I then yelled for help again. The cry being overwhelmed by the splashing, screaming swimmers enjoying the sunny day.

I struggled further and flagged my arm into the air. I was going down and trying to jump a breath again.

Maureen dove in swimming towards me. She got to me and I grabbed her neck and as she went under I got a much needed breath. She threw my arms away from her and shoved me backwards as she surfaced. Responding to my strength in panic and probably not wanting to drown with me, she distanced herself from me.

As I splashed back on the water, three words from swimming class,"floating" and "treading water" came into my mind. To my amazement I was floating though still coughing after swallowing too much pool water. As I gently moved my hands I came closer to the side of the pool. My three 'tween age friends grabbed my arms and helped me up the ladder.

I stumbled prone on the scorching concrete sputtering, sick and spewing, but ALIVE.

Two dozen years passed. I was seeking the Lord's direction after my husband moved me out and his girlfriend in. My husband was gravitating towards divorce after several months of this situation.

Short term mission training kept coming into my head. Did that even make sense to leave the job I loved?....being challenged with the children and families, my wonderful pediatrician boss and the office crew, the job I had worked for almost 10 years now?.....leaving my wonderful church family? .....going out from my dear friends and the city where I lived for 17 years? Again I felt I was sputtering, sick and
spewing .....drowning.

Then the Lord gave me a picture of me clutching the safe side of the pool. He seemed to pose a question in my heart.
" Are you going to cling to the side of the pool or come out into the deep waters and swim with ME?"

Mentally I gulped and I pried my fingers off the edge of safety. Thinking of how He was there when I almost drowned even though I didn't know Him back then. He knew how this "word picture" would speak to that still frightened child within me.

I plunged into dark and stirred-up waters, my motions choppy, saying "YES" to the one I could trust. "Yes, I will come to the deep and swim with You!"

Jeremiah 29:11 (New King James Version)
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

This ended up being the very first step in God calling me to Youth With a Mission. What an adventure in His faithfulness that turned out to be.

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(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

About Self

Saved by His grace in 1974, from 9 years of professing atheism into His loving arms. RN for 23 years, missionary with YWAM then statistical analyst for Every Home for Christ over 9 years. Living with my husband in the middle of a mountain meadow. GRIN! Wanting to spread the good news

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