“Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me.” (Psalm 119:175 NIV)
Our God is a God of second chances and that fact was never more real to me than one summer afternoon.
In a single moment, I decided carelessly to jump in a pool. My swimming skills were lacking. A nanosecond after I hit the water, I knew something was wrong. I should have floated right back up. The water was only four feet deep. If only I could stand up! But buoyancy was working against me, and the shimmery floor below was evading my efforts to plant my feet firmly on the surface. During this harrowing experience, I went from a confident, bubbly teenager giggling on the sidelines to a scared, terrified little girl fighting for her life.
Panic set in. So this was it. This is how I would go home. I was about to die.
Immediately following my thoughts came an absurd sense of peace. I knew where I was going if I died. When I put my faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I was assured an eternity in heaven. And that fact, in what I thought to be the last few seconds of my life, was immensely comforting.
But I knew if God wanted me on earth, he would bring me out of this. I had swallowed some water and was choking, so I prayed fervently to God for clarity of mind, something I could do, or some way out of this nightmare. My arms and legs were still flailing all over the place. Spots swam in front of my eyes, and for a couple seconds it went black. I knew I didn’t have long. Only a miracle could save me now.
And a miracle is exactly what I got. Somehow, God gave me the sense to stick my hand out of the water and wave it frantically to get someone’s attention. Then, I heard a voice whisper across my heart, “Calm down, my daughter. Everything will be all right. Calm down and plant your feet.”
Suddenly, my head was out of the water, and I was gulping in glorious, wonderful air. I was clinging to the side of the pool with a fellow teen bobbing beside me. I’m not sure how he got me out, but I know that God is definitely active in my life, and as the pool incident proves, I’m here and have a purpose. I keep thanking God for giving me another chance at life.
Since then, I’ve found that I am able to laugh more, love better, and share more. During those horrifying seconds under water, I decided I would live my life for God and make every second count
“The LORD will keep you from all harm- He will watch over your life, the LORD will watch over your coming and going, both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:7-8)
Shannon Meiers is a 16 year old home-schooled sophomore in high-school. Shes an aspiring writer, and is currently working with the special needs ministries at her church. Shannon, or Shan as her friends know her, is constantly learning… (read more…)
“The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him.” (Psalm 28:7 NASB)
I stood beside the blocks waiting to get started. If I’d had boots on, I’m sure I would’ve been shaking in them. My friend stood beside me ready to start the timer for my first 500 yard freestyle.
Was I ready for this?
Sprinting had never been my thing. But was that what God wanted me to do? At least this was long-distance and I didn’t need to go fast.
I’d done long-distance before. I liked the 200 Breaststroke the best, mainly because I didn’t have to sprint all out.
But a 500? What if I got a DQ? What if my time was horrible?
The whistle blew and I climbed onto the block. My friends cheered for me and gave me “good lucks”.
God, help me do this. It was a short, but definitely sincere prayer.
“Swimmers take your mark…”
Beep! The buzzer rang.
I was off. I went slow; a nice easy pace. And after the first 50 yards I was totally into it. God gave me incredible strength and power I didn’t know I had. As I thanked Him I realized how many times I’d doubted. How many times I thought I couldn’t do something. And yet there I was, swimming the 500.
Thanks to God, the amazing Grace-Giver, I was able to get through the 500 free with no problems. And no DQs.
Although I was scared, I know He was there, smiling down on me. And if I can make Him smile, that’s good enough. No matter how good or bad I do.
It can be the same for you. Give Him your best.
Thirteen-year-old Kayla Woodhouse’s zest for writing comes not only from her natural ability, but also from her love of the written word as witnessed by her voracious reading appetite. One of only a few dozen cases in the world, Kayla was born with HSAN, Hereditary Sensory Autonomic Neuropathy, an extremely rare nerve disorder. Unable to sweat, or feel pain, she’s also been through brain surgery. But even through a life of extreme hardships, her ever-present smile encourages others to pursue their dreams, no matter the obstacles. In addition to being homeschooled and writing with her mom, she’s an amazing swimmer, and spends up to thirty hours a week in training. She has appeared on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, The Montel Williams Show, Mystery ER, and numerous other national programs. No Safe Haven, her first release from B&H Publishers in 2011, written with mother, Kimberley, makes her the youngest author to have a full-length novel published by a royalty paying publisher. You can find Kayla at http://kimberleyandkaylawoodhouse.com and http://kaylawoodhouse.com (read more…)
“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Ephesians 6:11 NIV)
I jumped out of bed, woken by the bright sun streaming through my window. As I ransacked my dresser for shorts and a t-shirt, I noticed my Bible staring at me. It’s a definite beach day. No time for devotions.
Andy’s faded, blue Volkswagen Bug pulled up to my house. “Let’s go, surf’s up early today!” he yelled.
Pirate’s Cove was our favorite surfing spot, but dark, gray clouds began to block the morning sun and lifeguards posted “No Swimming or Surfing” signs. “Come on, let’s go down by the bluff so we won’t get chased away,” I said defiantly.
Andy watched as I charged the water, boogie board smacking against the waves. Suddenly, I lost hold of my board and the icy, cold water pulled me under, salt stinging my eyes.
I kicked frantically until a warm sensation embraced my body and I stopped struggling. It’s the undertow! I realized, and it could pull me out to sea, drowning me with its deceptive lure.
Rough, scratchy sand ripped at my skin and I washed up on the beach like a wounded fish.
I pictured my Bible sitting on the dresser. I didn’t spend time with the Lord this morning and my rebellion showed it. Satan is like the undertow as he grabs hold and pulls us down into destruction. Only the strength of the Lord can get us to shore.
Put on the armor of God each day so you can suit up for the rough waters ahead!
Cindy Scinto, author of A Heart Like Mine, Finding God ‘s Will for Your Life, writes full time since 54 operations, three near death experiences, a heart transplant, and cancer took away her ability to work. “My friends and family don’t think writers work,” she giggles after recounting her busy schedule. Cindy now shares hope and encouragement through her writing and speaking ministry. Her husband John’s emotional and spiritual support, along with his love and devotion, make it possible for her to pursue God’s vision and will for her life. Cindy has one child, her son, Jonathan, who is attending college. The Scinto family lives in Spokane, Washington and you can visit Cindy’s website at http://www.cindyscinto.com.