an idyllic location in the middle of the piney woods of East Texas where families unplug from the world and spend a week with the Lord and each other.
We made plans almost a year ago to come to Family Camp. We sat on the waiting list until a few months ago, but now we are here! My family of four bursts at the seams with excitement looking at all the activities in store for us. The view of the lake through the pine trees makes my heart smile.
My daughter told everyone before camp she would go zip lining, but knowing the fear in my daughter, I never believed she would. We signed up though. I figured it wouldn’t be the first time a 7-year-old decided not to go through with it. As she and I gear up, my husband and son watch from below. We put on our gear and ascend the spiral wooden staircase to the top.
Beads of sweat run in streams down my temples under my helmet. My daughter is a few steps ahead of me, and I hear the zip line operator say, “Whoa little girl. Don’t step there. Whoa, whoa!”
My heart, already heavy from climbing up 40 feet of stairs, races.
Are we doing this? My thoughts jump to worse case scenarios as my feet climb faster to join up with my 7-year-old. As I walk onto the 5 feet x 5 feet landing, I am met by two young men in their teens and twenties tasked with keeping us “safe”. They test our courage with silly remarks about the heights, and allude to the strength of the ropes. My heart races, sweat clouds my vision. I watch my 7-year-old as she receives instruction; her foot one inch from the edge of this small platform.
Fear rises in me.
Does she realize how close to falling off she is?
Is she oblivious to the danger?
The guys clamp her in to “safety” as I examine her closer. She can’t fall. I pray silently for her while one guy tells me about the strength of the rope and security information I need to know.
God, protect my daughter, PLEASE!
My anxiety builds.
Tears stream down my salty cheeks.
I feel shaky.
So much emotion builds up in this momma’s heart.
They ask us to step up one foot from the platform onto a small rickety wooden step to be clamped onto the zipline.
My girl is ready and my prayers continue. As the boys pray for us, I soak in every word, repeating it back to God.
We stand on the edge. Looking over, my girl- she is a rock. I don’t even understand it. The last time she did something out of her comfort zone and petted a real snake, she had a 10 minute panic attack. It shocked me because I hadn’t witnessed that with her before. It took letting go, and being there for her to calm down.
So here we are standing on the edge of a small thin piece of old wood, creaking as we prepare our feet.
Yes, I trust the zipline with myself, my fear isn’t for me.
My fear is for my tiny, precious treasure named Ava.
Will she be strong enough?
Will she freak out?
God please protect her, I whisper.
We both count, “1-2-3,” then jump. My heart leaps! As my girl races down the line in front of me, I hear, “This is awesome!”
What?! The tears turn to relief as pride and joy well up in my heart.
What a courageous young lady, I praise God. Thank you.
A few seconds later we get off the line and she says, “Let’s go again.”
“OK,” I agree! also too
Her courage may not last until tomorrow, so we might as well. This time, she races up those crooked stairs to the top. The boys continue their antics, and I watch with a face of radiance as I feel God’s presence. Her smile says the same thing.
The boys show off just how strong the anchor line is as they teeter on the edge leaning back into space alongside the 40 foot platform. They ask us to try it too. Ava, without hesitation, models the technique as I struggle to wipe tears from my eyes. Her courage inspires me, so I show her I can be cool too by standing on the edge of that platform and leaning back into the emptiness.
They explain we don’t even need to jump. The line is strong and capable. We could even lean or walk off the edge then zip on down as we did the first time. Ava takes that as an invitation to go for it. We count, “1-2-,” and she walks off and zips down without hesitation!
No hanging on for dear life.
Just complete trust.
As I jump to meet her down the line, her one handed thumbs up tells me she is pleased with herself.
During our time at Family Camp, I learn my girl has courage even though I’d thought she was afraid of most things. She jumped off the high dive more times than I could count, ziplines again, and sings on stage in the talent show. I’m awed by the changes in her.
God pulls me in and whispers His sweet truth.
Ava fearlessly and whole-heartedly trusts in a Father who keeps her safe.
She flew through the air on that faith and received joy.
As a parent, I am learning that letting her go, and letting God have control is best. furthermore
Just like He did with the snake. too
God is able.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think (Ephesians 3:20 NIV).
I can expect big things from my God and I should. He is my protector and my daughter’s and yours, my friend.I can expect big things from my God and I should. He is my protector and my daughter’s and yours, my friend. -Amy Merritt Click To Tweet
Friends, what have you seen God asking you to trust Him with?
Where is He showing you to step out and have even more faith?
Lets chat about where God is nudging us to let go and fly fearlessly with Him.
He is a big God, let our expectations rise up to meet his blessings.
*Originally published in 2018
About the Author:
Amy Merritt, Contributing Writer
Amy has been married for 11 years to her husband Chuck. She’s mom to two spunky kids. She and her husband came to know the Lord six years ago with a distinctive line of before Christ and after Christ in their lives and marriage. Working as a nurse practitioner- the best part of her job is treating patients’ emotional, spiritual, and physical needs while loving and sharing Jesus with them. Her passion is for ladies who have been through trauma, specifically sexual abuse. Recently, she and friends started a blog at Ebenezer Collective where they share stories of what God is doing all around us. Come and see! Connect with Amy on Instagram @amymerriand @ebenezercollective
More Stories of Reaching Beyond Fear into Faith:
Faith, Fear, and Fire Hydrants by Chip Mattis
The Dreaded F Word by Norma Poore
His Hope in the Darkness by Alynda Long