Surfing and Jesus

Have y’all ever put those two things together?

Well, my kids are.

Jacob catching a waveWe are enjoying time in the Outer Banks of NC this week. Jacob and Emma are attending a surfing camp here, along with three of their cousins.

Makes me wanna sing “it’s a family affaiiiirrrr, it’s a family affaiiiirrrr”, but I digress…

The camp is hosted by pro surfer Noah Snyder, with the help of some of his buddies, FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) and the local church where my dad and brother are pastors. While surfing is a large part of the experience, the  larger part is to point kids to Jesus.

Yesterday, the first day of camp and barely 10 minutes after the kids had first ventured out to catch their first waves, a young lady’s leg was injured by her board resulting in the need for her to be taken to get stitches. She was very fortunate; her injury could have been much worse.

I watched as all the staff worked so quickly. First, to pray, as they carried her up to shore from the water. Second, to keep pressure on her wound and call for help. And third, to help the girl stay calm. I wanted so much, as my mother instinct kicked in, to rush over and do something. But I could see they had it well in hand and I tried to back away and reassure all the other kids, including Emma.

Enter the major flashbacks for both Emma and me…flashbacks to the broken leg. As I saw the injured girl being carried out of the water, I was sure the child’s leg was broken. So was Emma. Naturally, Emma was pretty freaked out. It was hard for her to watch. It made her second guess her plan to try this surfing thing after all.

Emma getting encouragement from NoahIt is amazing how certain experiences in life can take you back so quickly to those raw emotions, right back to the very moment when a similar thing happened to you. It broke my heart not only to see the girl suffering the injury, but also to see my child reliving her injury all over again. And reliving it so strongly that it literally made her start feeling sick.

Could it be that God was using that moment to take Emma back to that place, to feel those emotions again, so that He can do some healing in Emma’s heart? I hadn’t thought about it that way, but when my Dad mentioned it to me, I thought he might be on to something.

You can’t heal from hurts you choose not to feel. Those feelings are still there whether or not you choose to feel them. They can begin to fester without your knowing it, too. And then suddenly, something happens out of the blue, and those feelings bubble up to the surface and then, BAM! you hardly know what’s hit you! It took some time for Emma to be ready to get out there and give it a try, but she did.

A lot of surfing is about patience, perseverance and practice. So is life. So is walking with God. Surfing is about faith too. Faith that the board to hold you up. Faith that if you fall, you will be okay. Faith that if you work at it, you will get better. It’s about stepping out into a scary place. You don’t know what is in the water. You don’t always know how the wave will break. It’s about going out deeper, catching bigger waves and trusting that the Lord will be there for you when you fall off the board, because you will fall off the board.

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” ~Hebrews 11:1 (New Living Translation)

It’s like Noah said today, “If you’re not falling off the board, then you’re not surfing.”

And that doesn’t just apply to surfing.


Filed under Faith, Kids

4 responses to “Surfing and Jesus

  1. Okay, tell me that this surf camp is for 5 year olds and 8 years olds and 33 year olds too, because if so, then I am all over that next summer. Awesome post–so right on.

  2. Thanks, Sarah, for always being such an encouragement to me. I appreciate you so much, girl!! ♥♥

  3. Oh I love this- so well written, Joell. And I think you and your daddy are right. We have to feel the pain to heal. We have to remember. Such a well written post. Thank you so much for sharing!
    Love you!

I always love hearing from you! :-)

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