On our July trip to Vancouver, Allyson enjoyed all manner of water sports. She was impervious to the cold, and she never showed a hint of fear. She loved the jet ski...
|Cousin Katie, Bill, Allyson|
and the tube--pulled behind the jet ski and the boat:
|Allyson and Katie|
|Towed Behind the Broken Jet Ski, Which Was Towed Behind the Boat|
She rode the rope swing, and Daddy caught her:
What she loved best, though, was the kneeboard. On the two previous summers, Bill had hung onto the back of the kneeboard and ridden along behind her, but this year he said she was way too heavy. She begged him to take her out again, but he said his arms would be pulled out of socket--or at least he'd be sore for days.
"You could go by yourself," Bill suggested.
I questioned him with a sidelong glance, but Allyson just said, "Okay."
Bill got in the water with her and explained exactly what would happen and what she needed to do. She listened intently.
He helped her onto the board...
"Woo hoo! That's my girl!" I screamed.
And then the front of the board did a nose dive, and she was out in the water all alone, looking so tiny.
"And that's that," I thought. "No more kneeboarding for Allyson." But I obviously didn't know our girl very well.
Luckily, she hadn't made it too far, and Bill was able to swim right out to her. (Auntie Lisa was following behind on the jet ski anyway, so she would have been fine regardless.) Her little lips trembled, but I think it was more from disappointment than fear. She watched Katie go out for a couple of big laps.
"How come she got to go twice?" Allyson asked. "Why can't I go again?"
"You're not afraid to go back out there?" I asked.
"No. My life jacket helped me float, you know."
So when Katie came back to the dock, Bill helped Allyson get set up one more time, and this time she stayed on the board! She grinned from ear to ear, and so did I.
When I was snuggling with her at bedtime, I told her how proud I was.
"Were you proud that I rode the kneeboard without falling off?" she asked.
"Yes, but I'm even more proud that you got back on after you fell off the first time."
"I just keeped tryin'" she explained.
She told her story to everyone she knew, and to quite a few strangers as well, such as the flight attendants on the way home. I could relate to her sense of accomplishment; had I been a few years younger, I would have told them about my first wakeboard ride too.
It's been about two months now, but she still talks about her success on the kneeboard. She even prays about it. One of her favorite ways to pray is to quote Psalm 139 together and put her name in it. One night, a couple of weeks after we got back from Vancouver, she stopped me right after I said, "If Allyson rises on the wings of the dawn, if she settles on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide her; Your right hand will hold her fast."
"God is with me even when I go out on the water!" she exclaimed, breathless with excitement.
"Yes, Allyson, He's with you everywhere."
"Tell Him about the kneeboard," she said. "Say, 'Even if Allyson goes out on the kneeboard, Your hand will hold her fast.'"
I was so thrilled to see Allyson applying Psalm 139 to her life, and taking as much delight in it as I have over the last few years. The kneeboard is now an official part of "that scripture prayer," and I think that's as it should be--God really is with her on the kneeboard... and everywhere else.