Strong Enough to Jump
Many of God’s creatures like to create life in my aboveground pool. We’ve had tadpole rescue sessions (before the pool was shocked for the summer), and just today, I discovered many eggs (larvae?) half-hatching from what looked to be flying ants. Yeah, so fun. Welcome to mating season. Come one, come all to what has been mistaken as a "love pond” in my backyard.
I was having such a lovely float around my pool around 4 PM today for a good half hour. Slowly I drifted round and round to the steady pulse of the pool pump. I stared at the tall trees, prayed for dear ones, and marveled at the fact that my children are no longer the ages I am interrupted every few minutes. It was glorious. GLORIOUS!
When my youngest son came out with goggles on and the jumping-in-pool determination of an 11 year old set on a good swim, he made it through one quick pool-bottom-floor lap before surfacing with a shout:
“Ew! A dead frog! There is a dead frog on the bottom of the pool!”
Still not wanting my peace disturbed, I replied: “Are you sure he’s dead?”
My son, lover of all animal life and greatly saddened that an amphibian friend met its demise in our pool, exclaimed: “It was belly-up, Mom. And not moving.”
With that, we both scrambled out of the pool in search of a net to extract the remains to give it a proper burial (before my dogs thought it made a nice chew toy).
My son, Little Man, completed Operation Dead Frog Retrieval and put him down on the grass at my feet. Yup. Dead. Froggy had suffered his last supper with a side dish of chlorine.
He simply couldn’t jump out. His legs could only take him so far. He never made it out of the solar cover and over the side of the pool into the bushes.
I then thought about the five tadpoles we rescued a few weeks ago and even hired a friend to come feed while we were away. We have changed their water, offered fresh weeds and herbs, and fed them pet store tadpole food faithfully; sure enough, they have sprouted back legs! We have a big rock in our makeshift aquarium. It rises just a little above the water so that when their legs are stronger, and their tails shorten, they can hop around on terra firma as well as water.
So what about us today? Are we well-nourished, tended to, solid ground under our feet when we are ready, new growth making us stronger in our faith?
Or are we in a season where we are taking in what isn’t really good for us, weaker in our faith, not able to reach the place where God is asking us to trust Him and jump off? Quivering, frightened, limited?
Recently, a dear one in my life shared that she was taking steps to eliminate that which doesn’t nourish her in her life. She was jumping off. Her jumping legs had been growing, and she had been sustaining them in the Word of God and with godly counsel. My job is simply to sit beside her and tell her those legs are getting stronger, you are ready, “you GO, Girl!”
Don’t we all need that?
Hebrews 10:23-25, ESV
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Another sweet friend is in a transition not of her choice, and the obstacles are a constant uphill climb. Again, I see those muscles flexing and thickening. But at each jump, self-doubt tries to creep in. “You can do it! I can see your strength” is my cry.
"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works."
I have gone through a few seasons in my life where I felt my “frog legs” were cut off. Amputated. Cut down. I felt knocked over. Shaken. Handicapped in my pain.
But God reminded me that the joy of the Lord is my strength.
Nehemiah 8:10, ESV
Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
I fed off time with Him, His Word, worshipping Him. I was still until He told me I was strong enough to move into the next chapter.
When we start to get our “jumping legs” on, we sometimes have to leap away for a time from that which held us back. I find that when God strengthens, remodels, prepares, and heals us, we often are asked to jump away from a situation we no longer have a role in—or into something new. We need His courage and direction. We need His power in our legs (and hearts and minds!) when we make that leap.
There will be times the enemy of our soul will whisper into our ears that we really aren’t strong or good enough. That we’re not ready. He likes to take every one of God’s statements toward us and speak it in the negative. His whole preoccupation is to make us think we can’t even jump. That our Savior doesn’t have our backs.
You know what? Jesus put His back against two planks of wood for us. He conquered death. Jesus’s resurrection is all the power we need in those wobbly legs. We need nothing else.
Romans 8:11, ESV
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
If you are in a season of self-doubt, pray, but also know that the whispers of the enemy of our soul, while a temporary discouragement or an obstacle, do not deplete the “jumping legs” God has given us. They are still there even when we are not sure.
God has not given us a spirit of fear.
2 Timothy 1:7, ESV
…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Pray, read His Holy Word, worship Him. And know beyond a shadow of a doubt that in Christ, you are strong enough, my friend. Strong enough to jump in faith to the next step He wants to lead you to, no matter how difficult it appears.
If you need a cheerleader, find a good friend, loved one, therapist, pastoral staff, prayer partner, etc., and leap! Leap with joy, my friend! You have found your jumping legs!
May the name of the LORD be praised!
Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.
She is the author of Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day and the founder and editor-in-chief of Ground Truth Press, a book publishing company.
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