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Just keep paddling

Its mid summer for us. I have been enjoying some down time. My favorite summer hobby is paddle boarding at our local lake. A few years ago when I lost over 100lbs, I had a weightloss bucket list. Paddle boarding was on that list. Standing up and paddling on water seemed easier with less weight. It is still hard at times, especially on a busy lake.

Usually when I take our girls, we rent a few boards at our local state park for an hour in an enclosed area. The only boaters there are the other renters and canoe renters. So its quiet and peacful. Its nice exercise and a fun activity. I love taking the time to watch the birds, fish, and just enjoy the day. My kids "fall" in to cool off and take turns splashing each other.

Yesterday the hubby and I decided to try something different. He found a boat rental place further away that allowed longer rentals and we could explore way more. So we got our boards and got in. This was WAY different. This was an active lake. There were large boats pulling tubes of people in what looked like full speed and pontoons coming in every direction. I've never had an issue standing on the board, but the waves from the boats were so rough I couldn't even balance myself to stand. So I sat on my board and began to paddle. We were told there was a beautiful, calm cove just ahead. That was our plan. We paddled as boats flew by us. I was able to balance on my knees. Jet skis seems to zoom around us. With each zoom the wake behind them would throw us back and forth. To my right was the open lake , and to my left were the huge lake homes. As we paddled there would be folks sitting on their porches or docks watching the boats, skiers, or us paddlers. I thought "please dont fall infront of the super rich people" And I heard "Is that Michelle McNair". And I turn to see a friend from church sitting on a dock. Sure enough. I wave and say Hey, But I cant turn too much I will send my weight too far to one side and fall over.

We make the turn left under a small bridge into the cove and it is just as it was described. I breath a deep sign of calm. We both make the stand on our boards now being able to balance. The water is so shallow we can see the bottom. Fish and turle swim by. Plants and flowers spring out of the lake while the sunshine dances on the water. There are houses around the cove fewer than before. There are no boats out here. Its so much quieter. It feels like a different place. As we paddle is gets quietier and quietier, less houses, less docks, more green trees, more birds. Turtles pop up out of the water and then quickly swim away. Then we pass the last dock and we are surrounded by trees, water, and sunshine. There are no boats or any other people. A large crane sqawks at us and flies further away as we float by. We stop paddling and lay down on our boards, resting our heads. We can feel a cool breeze. We float and watch the clouds.

As we floated I thought about what we went through to get to that point. Not just in that literal 30 minutes of paddling. But in life. We have seasons of life. Sometimes we have to sit down and do the best we can to ride the waves that are hitting us over and over again. Sometimes we can stand and face everything head on. Sometimes we lay down and enjoy the moments. All thoes seasons matters. They all have a purpose to make us who we are. They all teach us, grow us, and make use appreciate life. I am so thankful I am alive and can live life. I am thankful for a partner who will go on these adventures with me. On our way back to the dock we were able to stand more because we knew how to handle the waves this time. Our struggles before had taught us how to handle them. We also knew when needed to sit.

James 1 :Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Our trials, testing, struggles, make us wise, mature, stronge. It may sound strange. But they can be a gift from God. I never got good at math without doing any math problems. So I am working on finding all the joy I can in the struggles I have here on earth. I hope you can to. And just keep paddling

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