Here's my true story from April 2009
The Singing Swimmer
by Susie Krauter on Sunday, April 26, 2009
The singing swimmer? Underwater or above?
It was just yesterday when Lance said, 'you should go swimming, you need to.' That was just enough encouragement for me to decide to go swimming. In my car on the way I prayed and I wondered. I've often wondered, "God, why am I doing this? Is it because You want me to? Or, is it because I want to?" With a life so busy and full, it's really hard to take the time out to go on a dedicated exercise swim, it can take me away from home for up to two hours - so in order to keep priorities in a right order and focus, I absolutely MUST question how I use the time God has given me, and then whenver needed, rearrange my activities according to what is right, and I don't always get it right. So I'm driving down the road, tired from staying up very late at night, and I pray, and while I pray I wonder. I wonder, why do I get to do this? It is such a privilege, such a joy. I ask God along the lines of, "I'm tired today Lord, one of those days when I don't feel like persevering, please help me to persevere as much as it is Your will, please help me to swim as much as it is Your will." You see, if it isn't God's will for me to spend so much time swimming, then I need to know.
I arrive at the pool, and in preparation as usual, I clothe myself to swim modestly; and enter the saunna to stretch and pray. As usual, I wonder why the Lord is letting my have this time of rest and solace, this time to regroup, alone, to think, to pray, I usually sing in the Saunna, and pray and pray. I ask Him, what is Your will Lord? Please help me to swim as much as is Your will today. You see, I only want to be able to swim as much as He wants - that way I know whether it is in His will, and how much is in His will. Today I lack personal perseverance, but I'm trusting Him for His will.
After my time of prayer and focus, I enter the pool area where I must be the most modest and ugliest swimmer alive, in my double swimsuits plus swim shorts, swim cap, goggles, I'm ready for business, ready for work. Teresa has been training me, God has been blessing me with the strength and health to be able to enjoy this blessing. I still want to sing. In my heart songs for God abound and I just want to sing. I take my first plunge as I shoot underwater like a long straight arrow gliding gently into a slow gentle crawl stroke, 25, 50, 75yards and onward, remembering the "s" with the hands, praying as I go, a song in my heart and mind, I watch the pool bottom through my goggles, I am a bit sluggish in some ways, but quickly to the end of the pool and then to the next end, soon I'm at 200 and ready for the next task. Stopping to breath and drink water, it's time for the next drill, and now I work to try to do the gentle "breaststroke" swim, pull - breath - kick - glide -- it's such a gentle stroke that I can see how this would be good to do in the ocean if you fell of the cruise liner; you could kindof swim forever like this... 200... next... The pull-buoey -- I love this one; time to refine that crawl stroke, doesn't take much breath as the feet float toes pointed behind; and the fun flip at the end... Soon it's time for the kick board... Time to strengthen the legs and work on the flutter kick... But that song in my heart, in my mind... It's so loud - it's so present, so with me... For maybe the first time, I sing as I flutter kick, sing sing sing... "When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll... Whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say, "it is well, it is well with my soul..." When I see someone's head pop up at the end of the pool I may quiet myself or stop altogether for the moment, but then I resume, as I flutter flutter flutter kick with the kickboard/pullboey and sing along as I go, so content, so much peace, trusting that God will take me where He leads me today. Onward I go... probably somewhere beyond the 200 yards lost in the song somewhere along the way, so enjoying God's presence and love; He's at the pool with me today, didn't you know? "Why, why do I get to do this?" It is so wonderful.
Onto the next phase; I've been thinking. I've done a 500 before, then the next with flippers, think I"ll do it again. Now as I gently glide heading forward with a long stretching craw lstroke, the songs are still with me, I think somewhere within, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" and I remember the song that Larry Claar wrote with that scripture. I'm encouraged as I go. I pray, and now though you can't hear me singing, I'm underwater singing, not with my mouth; but in my heart, in my mind. 25, 50, 75, 250, 350, singing, singing, praising... Now I'm thinking, 'what if I could go on to 1000 yards without stopping?' I think I can do it with God's help. The songs, the prayers continue. 450, 500... Drum roll please... 525!!! 550!!! 575!!! Susie's first ever nonstop 575 with God's help! Susie's first ever nonstop 600 with God's help! WOO HOO!!! (No one but God can hear my Spirit say Woo Hoo! I swim on excited and blessed and happy and singing and praying and thanking God, so grateful for the health, the enjoyment, the rest, the peace, the satisfaction and so forth... And so I swim on.)
I've been working on swimming since January, I originally started swimming at 6 months old (for real, thank you mom) and loved it as a teen, in my young adult years I gave it up mainly due to modesty issues and family and more; but now I've found a way to swim modestly, and I have reasons; two main reasons... They are... #1 so I have a way to serve at Jr/Sr Camp in a way that I don't have to stay up too late as that often doesn't go so well with me and then I can also be with my husband and little son there at night... #2, for a fitness goal (excited about improving health and cardio ability). Now I'm swimming with better technique than ever before, I'm sure there's huge room for more improvement.
Now comes the part that brings me tears even now. I've been swimming since January, and due to the time it takes to swim about three hours a week, I have to consider my priorities and make sure I'm within what God's will is for me. So I've been asking God for months and months what His will is. I wondered if I was doing "my will" so I want just HIS. I've been curious as He keeps blessing me with the swimming and the milestones, what does He have in store for me? Why do I get to do this? Is my life short and I get to have this big present of enjoyment here before I go? And so I swim and swim, pray and pray, wonder and wonder. While I swam yesterday, as I entered into the realm of Susie's first ever nonstop 550 with God's help woo hoo! Susie's first ever nonstop 800 with God's help THANK YOU GOD!!! My Spirit was overjoyed, "why, Why God do I get to do this?" And I heard in my head... "I Love You." This brings me tears. Still. You know, God loves me. He's just giving me this wonderful gift. Don't we give good gifts to our children? We want them to enjoy. We want them to be happy and pleased and although it should come from the Lord, to be happy and joyous, yet we do give them good gifts and it makes them happy and in turn we are happy. God has given me this joyous gift, because... Because He loves me. He loves me. Tears.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. On this day at around 850 yards, swimming became almost effortless. I felt as though I could go to sleep swimming. It was an amazing feeling. As the lights hit the bottom of the water and reflect and shimmer I think of God and Him being with me, and seeking His will, and wanting His will, and how He loves me. He loves us all. He blesses us with so many gifts that we don't even recognize are gifts. He loves us so.
It was yesterday, I swam 1200 nonstop yards, and I've could have gone on... but the right use of my time was to stop... and so on this day when I lacked perseverance and asked God for His will no matter what that was, he gave me the ability to go the farthest nonstop that I've gone so far... It's been a lot of training to get me there... Help along the way... Tons of prayer... But He is getting me there and blessing me with the strength.
I have to go now; but I'd like to consider this perseverance and gift from God, God's will, and how this lesson and application in swimming pertains to other areas of our lives. I hope to think and pray on it and share back, but I'd love to hear your insights as well.